What is a strategic alliance for you?
What is a strategic alliance for your partner?
Do you ever experience a misunderstanding with a potential partner about expectations for the potential partnership you are discussing with them? The term strategic alliance appears to have a different meaning to different people and some people will use different terms than you do.
Partnership, Joint Venture, Alliance, these are just a few terms that are often mixed up in meaning. Depending on your environment, the term Joint Venture might jump out as one that is obviously something else for you. After all, in a Joint Venture equity is involved, isn’t it? Well many smaller businesses use the term to describe a short term partnership in which they undertake a joint activity or a joint venture. They won’t think for a moment about sharing equity!
An easy misunderstanding is born the moment we don’t verify our communication and just take things for granted.
So make sure you check your use of essential terms both internally as well as with your prospective partner: create an internal alliance definition to ensure that your company carries a common understanding about what a strategic alliance is. Then with every new prospective partner you meet, do explain what a strategic alliance is for you and what your intentions are for the potential alliance you are discussing.
Remember, like with any communication, you will need to verify every now and then to make sure that everyone is still on board and still has the same understanding of the terms your company uses. After all, we all (you too) gain new insights while working longer on a project or a task. Hence it is good to reset the common understanding of essential terms every now and then.
Here is an easy exercise to start verifying with your colleagues already this week. Simply ask your colleagues the following question: “What is a strategic alliance for you?”
Some additional reading: