Recently I have been seeing a rising use of the terms “alliances” and “partnerships”. To some extent, one could say that the terms are being devalued as they are used very loosely. It seems that everything is a partnership nowadays and within the partnership realm people easily call their partnership a strategic alliance.
I like the fact that there is more interest in alliances and partnerships. However, I also see the risks of this interest: organizations might jump in with the wrong expectations and preparations. I even read a playbook from a large software vendor recently that suggests that if you follow the formula, you are almost guaranteed to reach success.
This raises a big red flag for me. Within the alliances and partnerships world there is no recipe for guaranteed success! Alliances and partnerships mean different things to different people and organizations. Hence, the first step is to create clarity with your prospective partner. Make sure you both understand each other’s perspective on alliances and partnerships in general and specifically on working together with each other. Understand what success means to each of you. When you have created clarity, and only then, move on to create a partnership that leads to success for both of you.
Use the best practices and tools that are available, based on the lessons learned by many other organizations and research by academics. Follow an alliance lifecycle approach that will be your guiding roadmap on your journey to alliance success. It is not a recipe, but a roadmap. A roadmap that allows you to adjust your approach as the journey progresses.
Join an Alliance Masterclass to learn all about the alliance lifecycle roadmap in a practical applicable way. Or apply some of my 25 tips: download them here as a free PDF, or buy the version for your Kindle or eReader here.