Let’s talk about Alliance partner selection! How easy can it be? Some people try to make it really simple. They follow the “executive” approach: one executive meets another and they feel their companies should work together. Then, when they come back into the office, you as the Alliance Manager are assigned the task to make it work. You do get some sort of executive support from the powers that be, but not exactly the type of support you want especially if we refer to executive sponsors.

Worst of all: many of these ad-hoc executive alliances are destined to fail!

So, what’s the alternative? Do we really need a bureaucratic partner selection process to make it work? Well, not exactly, as that won’t help either. Although following a process will always be helpful I  rather prefer a practical, applicable selection process. 

In general, the best processes are the ones that guide you around the potential pitfalls in such a way that you feel the benefit. The best alliance partner selection process is the one that helps you to find the most optimal partner to realise your value proposition with. A partner that will work with you in a partnership that ideally lasts for a long time. In other words, the best partner selection process is a practical, applicable selection process.

The 4-step process as described in my book and as that we teach in our Alliance Masterclass is such a process! It takes you by the hand and provides you with practical tools to guide you through the partner selection process. When following this process you’ll evaluate several potential partners and learn in what areas they fit within your organisation and in what areas they differ. These differences don’t necessarily rule a particular partner out, they are the areas that serve special attention during the alliance management process.  This is because these differences might cause friction in the future if not taken care of during the early stages.

You might think that you already have many partners in place and hence you don’t need to work an alliance partner selection process. Even so, I would advise you to work the process every now and then. Organisations, circumstances and strategies change and that’s why a timely evaluation is advisable. In our Alliance Masterclass, the partner selection discussion always leads to eye-openers for alliance professionals with their own existing partners. The process helps the participants to understand their existing partners better and helps to identify specific areas for improved alliance management. See it as a kind of re-evaluation of your partnerships for an accelerated successful future.

How about your alliances; have you ever re-evaluated your existing partners?

What Have I Been Reading: Pilgrim: Finding a New Way on the Camino de Santiago” * by Carolyn Gillespie

Why Is It Relevant? It’s not directly relevant in the light of strategic alliances, although you might know how I like to compare the process of establishing alliances with a journey like the Camino. And if you follow me a bit longer you understand that sooner or later I would add a Camino related book to my list. Caroly Gillespie describes in her book her own experiences in walking the Camino which gives for experienced pilgrims, like yours truly, lots of recognition and a longing for a next adventure on the Camino. If you’ve never been on the Camino the book gives a good impression of life on the Camino with all the fun and challenges.