Properly on-boarding new alliance team members is an essential, but often overlooked element of alliance management. Alliances are created between organisations with the aim of creating new value and enabling business results that one of the organisations cannot achieve alone. However, alliances are only executed successfully by people and their personal connections. Inspired by Richard Branson’s philosophy to take care of your employees and they will take care of the business, I would say “Take care of your alliance team members and they will take care of the alliance.”
Share More Information Than Set Out in Your Contract
Taking care of your alliance team members starts with proper on-boarding, especially when that member is new to the team. On-boarding is more than just handing them the alliance contract to read. That contract is the result of setting out the strategy, performing partner selection and conducting negotiations. While all these steps are part of building the foundation for the alliance, the background information is important for new team members. When on-boarding them you don’t have to inform them of every little detail, but do share why particular choices were made in the preparation phase. Share the joint vision for the alliance and why your organisation has chosen them as a partner. Make sure your team member understands how your partner organisation is different and what the idiosyncrasies and characteristics are of the people involved (especially sensitive areas).
Arrange a Meeting Prior to On-boarding
Back in my corporate days as an alliance executive, I used to have a briefing deck for my alliances. Situations and people involved always change in operational alliances. Hence my briefing deck was constantly updated to ensure it remained current. When a new team member came on-board, I would schedule a call or meeting with them to properly bring them into the team. The verbal part of on-boarding is equally important to the briefing deck. New team members always have their own ideas and questions about the alliance, ideas that can inspire adjustments to your way of working. There are almost always questions that need clarification. This type of meeting can address those and will, together with the briefing deck, ensure proper on-boarding.
No Time to On-board?
Now you might be thinking “I don’t have the time to on-board every new team member”. If you have that thought, consider this: catching up is always more work and well-informed and involved team members will help raise your alliance to great results.