- How important is the conductor for an orchestra to play in tune?
- How essential is the oil to run an engine?
- How crucial is the role of a bus driver for the schedule of the bus route?
Those are all questions with an obvious answer, aren’t they? There is a similar question around alliance management:
How important is an alliance manager for the success of a partnership?
Yes indeed, it is another very obvious question. Still many people and companies overlook the essence of this role. Let’s make the comparison:
An alliance manager is like the bus driver who makes sure the alliance arrives on schedule at the next milestone; the alliance manager is like the conductor who makes sure both organizations play in tune; an alliance manager is like the oil in the engine to ensure that everything runs smoothly between two (or more) organizations.
So, is it an essential role? I would argue that it is the most crucial role for the success of an alliance.
Still it can be a stealthy, invisible role. A successful alliance manager can do his/her work without really being noticed and should also not mind to be not in the direct spotlight when success appears.
Successful alliance managers are very well aware of this. They will manage the alliance both internally as well as with their partner. They will be the contact person for the alliance partner and do whatever is needed to make the alliance a success.
The alliance manager will have diplomatic skills; they will lobby to align all parties and to keep them aligned. He/She will need to have an entrepreneurial skill to develop new opportunities that many people don’t believe in yet. At the same time the alliance manager needs to be able to meet deadlines and keep the collaboration on course, while acting as the project manager.
In addition, and maybe even above all, the alliance manager needs to be a people person and a natural relationship builder.
Being an alliance manager is quite a diverse role in many aspects. The role requires a lot of you, but brings you a lot as well Think about it, what other roles in an organization allow you to see and learn from so many aspects of a business? On the other hand, it can also be quite a lonely role, as you are one of few and not every one in the organization will understand what you do.
Weighing all the elements, I would say that alliance management is one of the best roles you can have in an organization!
Want to talk about alliance management or your role in alliance management? Contact me for a free call!