Alliance Management Expertise, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

About The Rhythm of Business

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Forge your path to partnering and alliance success—with The Rhythm of Business at your side. Unleash innovation. Create advantage and loyalty among partners and customers. Engage stakeholders, producing desired business outcomes. Innovate the partnering experience—from ideation through monetization. Master alliance management for the ecosystem. Tame complexity and risk of partnering with strategy, governance, and execution. It’s all possible—with The Rhythm of Business by your side.

Our customized services enable and develop the partnering mindset, skillset, and toolset throughout your organization—from the executive suite to the front lines of research in the lab or sales in the field. Harnessing our proven strategies, frameworks, and tools, unleash the creativity, collaboration, effectiveness, and performance of your people and partnerships.  Lift your partnering performance far above the “best practices” baseline. Partner with new players, new models, and leverage myriad forms of value to achieve your objectives in the ecosystem.

The Rhythm of Business employs the principles of design thinking and lean startup—the essence of the rhythm of business methodology. Partnering success requires the entrepreneurial agility to identify critical assumptions and find the data needed to validate or invalidate them as quickly as possible. If not valid, we help you iterate your assumptions quickly, saving resources to allocate to a better approach.


Twombly works as an extension of partnering and alliance management teams, helping them accelerate outcomes from partnering and alliances. She helps business leadership move organization, operations, and behavior to a more collaborative way of working, both internally and externally. She guides companies to reach higher levels of alliance success by integrating partnering into all aspects of the business. Customized education and training bring alliance and collaboration skills to all who interact with partners.

Twombly serves on the Executive and Management Committee of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP). She is editorial advisor and frequent contributor to ASAP Media, publisher of Strategic Alliance Magazine, and contributed to the ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: A Practitioner’s Guide. Her volunteer responsibilities previously included the program content of ASAP conferences.

Together with business partner Jeffrey Shuman, Twombly has a rich history of developing, publishing, and presenting strategic and practical thinking that advances the art and science of partnering and alliance management.

Her first career was as a Certified Public Accountant, becoming partner in a regional CPA firm, serving technology and knowledge-based entrepreneurial companies. Twombly continues to leverage her financial knowledge. She serves as Treasurer and a Member of the Executive Committee of RESULTS and the RESULTS Educational Fund, sister organizations that empower individuals around the world to use their voices and collaborative skills to influence decisions by governments and other institutions that will bring about the end of poverty. She is also a member of the Finance Commission of her town government, evaluating and making recommendations about the town’s overall budget and financial operations.

His mix of operational, consulting, research, and classroom experiences allow him to blend the theoretical with the practical, providing useful, easily implementable and repeatable advice.

At The Rhythm of Business Shuman helps global companies in multiple industries advance their partnering and collaborative capability. Consulting engagements focus on driving results through enabling all functions of the business to work effectively with their partners, from ideas to monetization. He works with senior executive teams to shape partnering strategy, enable operational and organization readiness, and implement overarching governance. Partnering professionals benefit from his ability to quickly diagnose underperforming alliances, and accelerate the path to profitability. Customized education and training bring alliance and collaboration skills to all who interact with partners.

Shuman has been a member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) since 2002. He was a member of the teams that developed the Certificate of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) certification and the Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP) certification and contributed to the ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management. He frequently presents at ASAP and other organizations’ conferences and events.

Shuman was among the first to recognize, document, and publish breakthrough business concepts including the entrepreneurial process and the rise of partnering and collaboration as a means to achieve business outcomes. He has received numerous awards for the method of entrepreneurial development described in his landmark 1998 book, The Rhythm of Business. The iterative approach to entrepreneurship it chronicles is considered de rigueur today—and is known as lean startup. No stranger to pioneering new management specialties, Shuman was a member of the team at Babson College, where he was a tenured professor that created the discipline of entrepreneurship, now a mainstay of business education. He is currently tenured professor of management at Bentley University where two of his courses, Managing Strategic Alliances and Entrepreneurial Thinking, are part of the MBA curriculum.

Believing that one can’t teach without experience, he’s founded or been part of the founding team of five companies across multiple industries—including a computer company that was the first to build an alliance with Microsoft to distribute Windows 3.0 through an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) environment. All of his companies have had partnering as a core strategy and organizing principle of the business.

Together with business partner Jan Twombly, he has co-authored more than one hundred ebooks, articles, and white papers that have been featured in publications as varied as The Wall Street Journal and the Indian management journal Effective Executive. He has also co-authored two books with Twombly— Collaborative Communities: Partnering for Profit in the Networked Economy and Everyone Is a Customer. Both were prescient books—years ahead of their time in describing the rise of partnering, the importance of collaboration, and the primacy of the customer.

Our Clients

The Rhythm of Business is proud to have worked with many leading companies and organizations within the US and abroad throughout our rich 20-year history. We learn from every engagement. Each client benefits from our understanding of the current business context and challenges. This experience complements our ongoing research to continually advance our offerings, frameworks, and thought leadership. A partial list includes:


Much of our work in information technology is done through our SMART Partnering™ venture with Alliancesphere.


We also work with financial technology clients through our SMART Partnering™ venture with Alliancesphere.