Relationships are often taken for granted. However, successful relationships are hard work, regardless of the type of relationship you’re in. When you are in alliances you probably know by experience that it does not all come naturally. Not even in your own organization!

In fact, alliance managers spend most of their time internally in their own organization to keep the internal organization in sync with the partner.

We talk a lot about processes and procedures needed to create successful alliances and partnerships. That part is the science of creating alliances.Yet in the end alliances are based on person to person relationships; the art of creating alliances, where our soft skills become more important than our procedures.

With several customers I have had conversations over the past few weeks about tools that can help structure the soft skills we need for alliance relationships. Structure will help you become more effective, thus creating more time to actually spend with your partners.

The peer to peer mapping tool is such a tool. It is a simple, yet powerful, tool to help you visualize the relationships that need to be in place. It will provide you with insights about the actual status of the necessary relationships between the people who are involved in your alliance projects.

Working with the peer mapping tool almost always leads to “aha” moments. The exercise creates insights in the existing relationships and the quality of those relationships. Often the exercise also shows the missing relationships and it always leads to awareness of what needs to be done to improve relationships.

The members of Alliance Accelerator can download a template of the peer mapping tool from the toolbox area of the member site.

The peer mapping tool provides structure that will allow you to work the art of alliances with renewed insights and pleasure. That’s only where starts: in the end it will lead you to better relationships and better results with your alliances!

What soft skills do you feel are essential in managing alliances, and have you found ways to systemize the support for those soft skills?

Have a great week!