The recent KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook interviewed 1,325 global CEOs to gain insight into their 3-year outlook on business and economic landscapes. The Outlook reported that CEOs have an increasing interest in establishing partnerships that can help them “increase speed to market, reduce costs, mitigate risks and supplement capability gaps in delivering the customer promise”. The report also cited that the CEOs view that “building strategic alliances with third parties is the most important strategy to help them reach their growth objectives over the next 3 years.”

That’s good news, interest for alliances & partnerships in the boardroom is rising!

What the report doesn’t say is whether or not CEOs realise that alliances & partnerships’ management is a separate profession and that this profession, together with a structured process is needed to drive alliances to success. Unfortunately, senior executives continue to take this too lightly. The infamous situations where they meet on the golf course, or on a plane, or somewhere else socially and decide to create an alliance together still happen. In such ad-hoc situations, there is now a challenge which is to call upon your own alliance skills to try and make the proposed C-suite alliance work. If there is no chance of success, after assessing the opportunity, you have to tactfully bring the message back to the executive who decided the alliance was a great idea and tell them that it will not work!

Not the best use of your alliance skills!

The trends we see are of a declining interest in acquisitions and an increasing interest in alliances. The KPMG report also highlights the importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and digital transformation in the eyes of the CEOs. Alliances can help drive the ESG agenda and speed up digital transformation for a company.  

As an alliance professional, your role is pivotal in these changing times and it will call upon your alliance skills possibly in a different way than before. Alliances might now come to colleagues and departments that have never been involved in these types of partnerships before, and who might not know of alliance management tools and methodologies that help increase alliance success. When alliances touch broader elements of the organisation, your stakeholder management becomes even more important. Ensure that you talk to your colleagues and C-suite about how you (with your alliances and your alliance skills) can help reach the company’s growth objectives.

Remember to share best practices and lessons learned with your colleagues and consider organising in-company Alliance Masterclasses. After all, you want your company to stay on the success side of the 80% rule!