The big pieWhat would you prefer: a small or a large piece of the pie?

Wow! Thank you so much for your valuable responses to last week’s survey! The survey is still open till Sept 1 so if you haven’t found your 5 minutes to contribute yet you still can: through this link.

I could not resist my curiosity and wait for the consolidated results; so I peeked into the raw data. I found some valuable remarks and questions in there. To some of them I’ll come back to you one-on-one, others I’ll address in my weekly articles.

About the pie
Now, the story of the pie: It is not just because my eldest daughter celebrated her birthday last week that I had to think of a pie when writing this article. The theme also came up a few times over the last weeks, as well as in the survey responses.

One of the responses was a question “How do I convince my CEO?” and in an earlier conversation we spoke about competition. Both topics come down to the same point: what would you rather have, a small or a large piece of the pie?

A child might see this as a stupid question; it would go after the biggest piece! However, do hold on for a second. Isn’t it important to know how big the pie is? You might want to prefer a small piece of a very large pie over a large piece of a very small pie!

Many people who don’t understand the concept of partnerships with other organizations yet, are totally looking at the wrong pie. They often fight for the largest piece of the small pie and are unaware of the fact that collaboration can help them increase the pie.

I don’t see any of the other professionals who provide alliance services as competitors. They are all colleagues or collaborators. We all have our specialties, they might overlap on some elements, but we do know about partnering and together we can increase the pie and help more clients.

The story of the pie not only works for increasing the size of the eatable market. It can also help you to stay in business, but you need to be outward focused to do so. The world is becoming more agile and flexible. Lifetime employment is a concept that is dying off. People will be hired task driven and let go when the task is done.

If we already can speak about competition then collaborations of specialists and startups in networks and ecosystems will be the new competition that is bypassing the established businesses at warp speed. The world is flatter than ever before, high quality skills can be hired as easy – and maybe even easier – on the other side of the world than in your home country.

In fact a large part of my own team is based in the Philippines. They are living and breathing collaboration; they understand that without global collaboration, their business concept would not work at all.

I’m convinced that in the coming 10 years we will see more changes. The increasing development of mobile devices as a business tool will allow new competition to come in from the most unexpected rural areas and it is not coming from the companies you know today!

Sooner or later existing businesses will need to adapt and start to collaborate to innovate, extend the pie and stay in business. They will need to collaborate with other established companies and especially also with the new competition, anywhere on the world. A collaborative business enables the future!

You are working hard to make alliances and partnerships work and along the road you need to convince others (like your CEO) about the importance of partnerships. I am with you when you feel a bit tired sometimes about that continuous missionary work. Remember to focus on the benefits while trying to get others on board: the increase of the pie and enablement of a future collaborative business.

Do realize one thing: a collaboration catalyst (aka alliance manager) is the cornerstone of the future: your role is essential to enable collaborative businesses!

Enjoy your week!


PS: In his new book “Remix Strategy” Brandeis University professor Ben Gomes-Casseres describes the mixing of resources, assets, and capabilities of one organization with those of another to create value. He also presents three laws that provide a powerful, systematic approach for creating and capturing value from business combinations of all sorts. Soon in the Collaborative Business Podcast, now already available on Amazon.*