Alliance Management Consulting and Training, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

Does Your Company Have the Power to Partner Everywhere?
1. Partnering Guide / February 29th, 2016     A+ | a-
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

If it is March it must be time for the ASAP Global Summit! This year’s conference – the last one for which Jan is leading the programming, stepping down from the role after 7 years – is organized under the theme of Partnering Everywhere: Leadership for the Ecosystem. The programming committee chose this theme because of how pervasive partnering has become across the enterprise and the diversity of business and partnering models that are developing across all industries. Businesses are partnering with companies and institutions never thought about previously. Cross-sector and multipartner arrangements are proliferating. Value is not just financial; it is multifaceted and evolves uniquely as each partnership matures.

Success in ecosystem partnering is not happenstance—it takes careful design. Three components—strategy, governance, and execution—must work together seamlessly to give your organization the partnering capability it requires today.

At The Rhythm of Business and in the work of the transformation-focused SMART Partnering™ Alliance with Alliancesphere that we announced at the 2015 ASAP Global Summit, we are confronting this challenge head on. It is a brave new world, requiring more than just best practices. Innovation of partnering practices to manage the speed and complexity of business is becoming the price of entry. Leadership from partnering professionals is essential.

In our work, we are learning how to build both agility and stability into alliance practices; to partner more broadly and creatively to innovate the customer experience. Partnering has to be integrated into the fabric of companies’ ways of working. It can’t be a bolt-on. The most ground-breaking collaboration will not realize its potential if there aren’t smooth transitions in every microstep from development to execution. This requires easy and thorough enablement of partners. If your process is too hard or too long, their attention will drift. Design your processes from the end customer back – and ensure the value is clear to all every step of the way. To accelerate this, we’re introducing a new concept for end-to-end governance of partnering – that truly engages all stakeholders – and firmly establishes the value of the alliance function as the orchestrator of this process.

The partnering everywhere world puts a big exclamation point on the truism that everyone needs to have some partnering skills. People have to be skilled at working across boundaries and often with competitors; in building common language with shared meaning so that trust can be developed. It means recognizing that relationships are built on trust, respect, and reciprocity – with a backbone of accountability. Yet another core responsibility of today’s alliance function: partnering internally with HR, corporate and organizational development, and communications, as well as legal and finance, to build this execution capability. The SMART Partnering Alliance is delivering programs that combine action-oriented workshops, online learning, and coaching to ensure that skills are developed and learning implemented.

We look forward to interacting with everyone at Summit. With the power to partner everywhere, your company can accelerate its partnering activities and adapt them to the velocity of change in the ecosystem, driving the outcomes that matter most to your business. For partnering professionals everywhere, this is the leadership opportunity for the next decade.

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