The 80% rule learns you that following a structured process will increase your chance of creating successful alliances. However, that small “a structured process” part of the previous sentence sounds so … boring!
That indeed is how many people feel about following processes. A cumbersome task with no fun at all to it. But it does not have to be. Actually, the structure of a process leads to many insightful moments and even some fun (really!).
The first steps of an alliance creation process are the most important ones. These are the steps where you become really aware of what your partner wants. Interestingly enough these steps will also force you to look into the mirror. They will teach you what you want out of a partnership as well. By now you might think that I’ve lost it. You are sure you know perfectly well what you want and why you are stepping into this partnership. Right?
That might be true. However, in many cases there is more to it. There is often an untapped potential in a new partnership. That potential somehow stays hidden when you stick to what you know. We are used to look at things in a certain way. Working with a new partner requires us to look beyond our blinkers in a new way.
This is where the guidance of a structured process can help. The process will help you to look beyond what you know you want into the possibilities of those elements you didn’t know you might want. A process is not only there to help you to create a solid foundation. It also helps you to discover hidden potential in a partnership. That is the creative and fun part of following an alliance creation process.
About 5 years ago I wrote “The 4-step guide to successful partner selection”. This guide describes a structured process for partner selection and includes some tools you can use during the process. Tools that will help you to think out of the box while working the process.
Recently I walked a client through this process. It made me realize that the guide and the process itself are quite good (ahum, tapping myself on the back there). Guiding a client through this process also made me realize that I make observations and ask questions. Observations and questions that come from the experience of seeing many alliances. And also come from having a fresh, perhaps sometimes ignorant, outside-in view.
How about you, how do you approach the initial stages of alliance creation: do you follow a process?