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

Shine a Spotlight on Your Alliance Portfolio
1. Partnering Guide / September 2nd, 2020
This is the third in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you.

Seeing the Big Picture

Not long ago, an executive newly appointed to lead the alliance management function for his company—but who had no alliance management experience—asked us, “How do I see what is going on across all of our alliances? I am used to starting my day looking at a dashboard that lets me know what needs my attention.” We had to explain to him that currently, within his company, he would have to manually aggregate individual alliance managers’ monthly reports to get an overall picture. But that need not be the case. 
 
As we’ve been describing in this series of posts, external events coupled with the growth in the number and types of alliances and other collaborations are shining a spotlight on the need to digitize certain aspects of alliance management workflow and administration. If our newly appointed alliance executive had in place a digital alliance management platform, he would have had the ability to aggregate all the alliances in his portfolio—or any relevant subset thereof—into a single dashboard and understand them in relation to one another. It would also help him better appreciate the work of his allian...
Digitizing Alliance Management for Agility and Efficiency
1. Partnering Guide / July 15th, 2020
This is the second in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you. Louis Rinfret, PhD, founder and CEO of allianceboard contributed this post. Access the first post in this series Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value
 


How do you ensure your alliance team is agile and efficient while managing a growing portfolio?  As companies race to innovate and grow, heads of alliance management functions must plan how to support the increasing demands on their teams.

Working harder with current systems and processes is not sustainable in most situations.  Leaders must then think strategically and envision how they...
Reimagining Alliance Management for the Next Normal: ASAP Summit Virtual Executive Roundtable
4. News and Events / July 1st, 2020

Summary from exclusive ASAP Global Alliance Summit executive virtual roundtable. Download the discussion slides

“We are all operating in a new norm and we need to evolve with it.” So stated one of the alliance executives The Rhythm of Business invited to a virtual roundtable discussion during the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit on reimagining alliance management for the next normal. We approached the topic from two angles:
 
  • The impact of COVID-19 on a people-intensive business that depends on good relationships
  • The increased demand for alliance management services as companies’ alliance portfolios continued to grow in size, complexity, and new types of digital and service alliances, even before the pandemic
The silver lining of needing to find a next normal is that it gives license to fix what is broken, it forces us to become more resourceful and agile, and focuses us on what...
Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value
1. Partnering Guide / June 30th, 2020
This is the first in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you.

The Time to Digitize is Now

We’re Zooming and Hanging Out every day. Going-to-Meeting, Teaming, and Webexing from morning until night. These conferencing apps are familiar tools to alliance managers; it is just that our reliance on them has grown as we manage alliances from a distance. As helpful as they are when meeting virtually, approximating face-to-face meetings except for the essential relationship-building step of breaking bread and raising a glass, they facilitate only a portion of alliance management activity that provides the services stakeholders value. The demands of remote work lay bare the need to accelerate an essential component of applying agile principles to alliance management—digitizing certain aspects of alliance management workflow and admin...
Bridging the Gap to the Next Normal
1. Partnering Guide / May 9th, 2020
As we try to find our way to the next normal for the economy and our lives, a tremendous leadership challenge presents itself to alliance professionals: How to reimagine the people-centric business of partnering when team members’ personal lives are disrupted or worse, remote work is the norm, there is great economic uncertainty, and intense pressure on resources? Add to this the fact that cross-industry, multi-partner as well as public-private collaboration is required to innovate our way out of this crisis. The number of partnerships for tests, vaccines, treatments, and medical equipment is exploding, as this graphic from CB Insights (Figure1) depicts. How can alliance management expertise be applied to this speed, scale, and scope of partnering so that time and money is not squandered by the inherent inefficiencies in partnering?

Even bef...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part One of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 15th, 2020
This is Part One of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”   


In our post What to Do When It Gets “Just Too Hard” we describe a challenge biopharmaceutical alliance professionals are facing: How to provide proactive, value creating alliance management services to company stakeholders and partners when the number, variety, and technical complexity of partnerships exceeds the ability of alliance managers to implement a traditional management model across the scale and scope of the overall corporate portfolio. A promising approach to the problem lies in adapting and applying certain principles of agile management. In this post we explore what is meant by agile and how it can be implemented in an alliance managemen...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Two of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 14th, 2020
This is Part Two of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  
 


Read Part One of Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability

Practice Component 1:  Resourcing the Portfolio

One of the key reasons for reimagining alliance management as an agile capability is because there is currently a mismatch between the scale of enterprise partnering and professional alliance management resources. Current practice addresses this through traditional tiering and scoping that result in unmanaged alliances and diminished value to stakeholders of alliance managers who are spread too thin to deeply en...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Three of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 13th, 2020
This is Part Three of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  

Read Part One or Part Two of Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability


Practice Component 2:  Increasing the Agility of Alliance Management Practices 
 

There are many ways to build agility into alliance management practices. The Service Level Agreements between alliance managers and stakeholders shape expectations and focus resources on the work that delivers the greatest value to stakeholders and enhances the partner experience. Successful implementation of services requires standardization, meaning that everyone understands the language and how t...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Four of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 12th, 2020
This is Part Four of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  

Read Part OnePart Two, or Part Three of "Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability"
 
Practice Component 3:  Adapting the Alliance Management Organization

Typically, the resourcing model has been that each alliance has one alliance manager and that each individual has responsibility for multiple alliances. Certainly, there are exceptions for very large and complex alliances, and in advanced companies that have recognized the need for new ways of working, but by and large the traditional model remains entrenched. This means that alliance management functions, groups, or teams do not operate as teams; they operate as collections of individual contributors. Agility depends on purpose driv...
Partnering Readiness: The New Strategic Leadership Agenda for Partnering Professionals
2. Thought Leadership / December 30th, 2019
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The final Strategic Alliance Quarterly of the decade features our article introducing the Partnering Readiness Stack, our outcome focused-approach to bring in agility, reduce the inefficiencies in partnering and ensure that the rhythms of partnering are not met with unnecessary friction and hurdles, whether in low-touch or high-touch, one-to-one, multipartner networks, or ecosystem arrangements.

Using data generated from interviews, a survey, and workshops with ASAP members, we share participants’ assessments of their current state of readiness and an overview of some of the initiatives they are undertaking. In the partnering everywhere world, the new strategic leadership agenda goes well beyond “partner of choice” and “centers of excellence” and requires knocking down barriers to collaboration, obliterating silos, and transforming the enterprise to enable a holistic, integrated partnering capability.
Partnering Readiness on the Agenda at ASAP European Alliance Summit
4. News and Events / November 8th, 2019
A diverse group of alliance professionals is convening in Amsterdam on November 14 and 15, 2019 for the ASAP European Alliance Summit. The Rhythm of Business is pleased to sponsor the event for the second year and to be offering Partnering Readiness: The Through Line from Collaborative Leadership to Collaborative Execution. Jan Twombly, CSAP, president will deliver the presentation

Partnering readiness means that throughout the organization, wherever it engages with external partners, the mindset, skillset, and toolset to partner well are infused in the culture, ingrained in behavior, and integrated into how work gets done.

The goal of partnering readiness is to introduce agility, reduce the inefficiencies in partnering, and ensure that the rhythms of partnering are not met with unnecessary friction and hurdles. This level of partnering everywhere capability is essential today. According to Cap Gemini, Institute for Corporate Productivity, MIT Sloan Management Review and others, the companies that are successful in becoming digitally-enabled and customer-obsessed—and therefore prepared to compete as we enter the 2020s—are those best able to collaborate internally and externally. These companies are ready to partner; purposefully and opportunistically, in one-to-one relationships, multi-partner engagements, and in ecosystems. They are breaking down barriers, incorporating the activities and rhythms of partnering with agility and ease into their solo activities.

Drawing upon research among the ASAP community and direct engagement with companies building their partnering readiness for today and beyond, the session:
  • Presents an actionable framework to describe partnering readiness
  • Identifies common organizational barriers to collaboration
  • Describes initiatives ASAP members have underway to remove the barriers 
Can’t be at the conference? Download the presentation now and contact us today to learn how you can help your company develop its partnering readiness.
Two New Alliance and Partnership Management Training Programs Kickoff 2019 Learning in Action Agenda
4. News and Events / January 31st, 2019
Build speed and agility into partnership development and management by acting like a startup business. Drive customer-obsessed partnering outcomes by demonstrating collaborative leadership. Our two new Learning in Action™ programs help you and your team “get smart quickly” and drive business transformation.  

The Rhythm of Business announces two new Learning in Action™ opportunities to help businesses create and grow the partnerships and alliances they need in order to provide the transformative outcomes customers seek. These programs are delivered in person for maximum learning and include: principles, guidance and tools, application through either a case study or working an actual situation—potentially with a partner—activation support, as well as tracking and reporting of success metrics. Program descriptions and links to session overviews and sample co...
Fail Fast to Learn Fast
1. Partnering Guide / May 1st, 2018
Partnering at the speed of business requires the entrepreneurial agility to adapt and evolve, especially when pursuing a business transformation agenda. Agility and nimbleness can be quite challenging in complex partnerships that must navigate the strategies, structures, processes, and cultures of two or more companies to get anything done...
Partnering at the Speed of Business
2. Thought Leadership / April 28th, 2018
Authors: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
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It is no secret that business is moving faster than ever before and that the formula for success in business transformation is Technology + Partnering. A common theme of sessions at the ASAP Global Summit over the past several years has been how to “partner faster.” By definition, bringing multiple companies together to create a joint solution adds complexities beyond a single company innovating and going to market alone. While partnering certainly has some advantages of speed, the complexities can also cause it to bog down. We’ve all experienced lengthy delays in working out agreements, settling disputes, and just getting decisions made that erode intended value.

What follows is a collection of posts from The Partnering Guide™, our blog that covers trending issues in partnering, collaboration, alliance management, and digital business transformation to the ecosystem economy. In these posts we apply the concepts underpinning entrepreneurial agility to propose ways of accelerating not just the partnering process, but also to “get smart quickly” about the value assumption and alliance business model that will create the business outcomes that benefit all concerned.
 
20 Years Later Rhythm is More Important than Ever
1. Partnering Guide / February 4th, 2018
AUTHOR: Jeff Shuman

As January drew to a close, I couldn’t help but to think back 20 years, to the end of January 1998, the month my book, The Rhythm of Business: The Key to Building and Running Successful Companies was first published.[1] It describes the natural development process successful entrepreneurs use to build and run their businesses.
 
In metaphor and in reality, successful entrepreneurs feel the rhythm of their business. When they do, they know what they need to learn about their customers, the partner ecosystem, and the business model that will create, deliver, and capture value for all concerned. That focus on “getting smart quickly” lets them operate with necessary speed and the agility to adjust with quick, easy grace as they learn what enables their success.
...
Partnering at the Speed of Business
1. Partnering Guide / December 28th, 2017
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

Speed is the new currency of business, says Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO at Salesforce. And he’s spot on!

 Bain’s Firm of the Future practice makes the key point that “success depends on how firms deliver the benefits of scale and intimacy better and faster to customers.”[1] What is unsaid is that it takes an ecosystem of partners too, because of the complexity of the technologies and the domain expertise required to apply them within specific use cases. And these partners  probably are not the same ones that help you service enterprise customers with traditional solutions, or where the purpose of the partnership was for balance of trade.

For example, indu...
It is Time to Think Differently - Taming the Complexity of IoT Partnering
1. Partnering Guide / May 3rd, 2016
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is upending partnering “best practices.” One practice is clear: no company succeeds alone. It takes an ecosystem.

This is partnering at a scale, scope, and speed unprecedented until now. It requires creativity and bold experimentation. Companies must learn quickly, iterate strategies, manage complexity, and try new models for value creation, delivery, and capture.

“We know how to partner. We’ve been doing it for 20 years.” These are deadly words when said about partnering for the Internet of Things....

Designing Minds Want to Know
1. Partnering Guide / April 6th, 2016
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman


In a recent appearance at the Boston College CEO Club, GE’s Jeff Immelt remarked that one of the reasons GE is moving its headquarters to Boston is that he wants to be in the “sea of ideas” driving the innovation and change that surrounds the industrial internet. In his words, he wants people “terrified and paranoid” because all the innovation and change around them could make them obsolete if they don’t evolve and grow, too.

While some may consider this an overstatement, there is enough change happening in business models, strategies, operations, and how leading companies execute for success to give us pause and ask:

Shouldn’t partnering models and practices evolve, to...

Does Your Company Have the Power to Partner Everywhere?
1. Partnering Guide / February 29th, 2016
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...

The Mission Endures, The Journey Continues
1. Partnering Guide / December 23rd, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

As we reach the end of 2015, we can only look back at an amazing year and ahead with giddy anticipation of what 2016 will bring. This is the year we finally hit the tipping point in the transformation of business that first prompted us to begin our journey into...

Partnering in a Time of Uncertainty – As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / July 31st, 2015

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Author: Jan Twombly

Uncertainty and complexity are all that is certain. Integrating partnering strategy into corporate strategy is an essential path to leveraging all available resources in the journey to become agile enough to manage the unexpected.

Learn the components of...

Collaborating to Win: Measuring Collaborative Ability
2. Thought Leadership / June 1st, 2010

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Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Today collaboration is vital because organizations realize they can no longer go it alone. To survive and prosper in today’s globally networked economy, organizations know that they must bridge their structural silos and successfully collabo...

The Real Power of Collaboration
2. Thought Leadership / October 13th, 2009

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Authors Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

A clear sign that organizations find a skill or ability valuable is when it begins to find its way into the competencies used to evaluate employee performance. Such is the case today with collaboration. Even the recent awarding of the Nobel Pea...

Creating Agile Businesses
3. Entrepreneurial Classics / June 1st, 2002

Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

A Business Week cover story makes the observation that “Suddenly, running GE is a whole new ball game.” Of course they’re right. But let’s be honest, in our increasingly interconnected, customer-centric global economy, successfully running GE, or f...

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