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

Upcoming Speaking Engagements
4. News and Events / April 12th, 2022
Strategic alliances and alliance management professional development opportunities are aplenty this spring, including online and in-person options. You can find us speaking on the following venues:

March 29, 2022 - ASAP Webinar: Leaning into the Future: Priorities for Biopharma Alliance Professionals
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April 20 - 21, 2022 - ASAP Global Alliance Summit: Master Class Helping Your Partners Help You: Using the Power of Positive Influence and panel discussion How Alliance Professionals Deliver Value in BioPharma Commercial Alliances

May 9 - 11, 2022: Strategic Alliance Management Congress: Top Five Opportunities for Getting a Little Better Every Day

May 18 - 19, 2022 - Biopharma Project Managers' Conference: Everyone Needs Some Alliance Management Skills in the Biopharma Ecosystem

Click more for details about these presentations and links to the...
At the ASAP Global Alliance Summit: The Power of Positive Influence
1. Partnering Guide / April 12th, 2022
Back in person for the first time since 2019, the ASAP Global Alliance Summit kicks off next week in Tampa and we couldn’t be more excited! We are leading a new Master Class Helping Your Partners Help You: Using the Power of Positive Influence. This cross-industry session provides an opportunity to apply techniques to lead without authority, practicing the reciprocity that is one of an alliance professionals’ superpowers.

Alliances, partnerships, indeed any type of collaborative relationship work on influence. It is the force that is used to help partners prioritize for you, to get executives to allocate budget to your effort, and to create champions. Alliance professionals use positive influence to create alignment internally and with partners and to find creative solutions to problems. Positive influence is what we use to earn the right to lead when we have no authority to do so. It is key to shifting mindsets from that of control and adopting the behaviors required in the business ecosystems companies operate in today.

Positive influence is the currency of business now that customers, partners, and team members all have practically infinite choices. This cross-industry master class explores how to develop your ability to use positive influence to create value for all concerned. It involves redefining your boundaries and purposefully building mutually-beneficial relationships throughout the ecosystems essential for success.  We’ll explore the norm of reciprocity and how to use the tool of relationship currencies to help your partners help you.

Helping Your Partners Help You: Using the Power of Positive Influence is available as an in-person or digitally delivered workshop. There has never been a better time to hone your skills, helping your organization reap the benefits of collaboration and partnering.
Upcoming Presentations for Project Managers and Alliance Professionals
4. News and Events / February 7th, 2022
Join us on February 17, 2021 for an interactive presentation Techniques for Successfully Collaborating with Strategic Suppliers and Partners presented to the Project Management Institute’s Mass Bay Chapter. The session, which will be held over Zoom, introduces participants to:
  • Pros and cons of typical collaborative operating models and how to decide what is right for your collaboration
  • How to establish appropriate oversight and feedback models that provide freedom to operate
  • Understanding how to use value and influence, the secret sauce of collaboration
  • How to build trust across organizational boundaries—and why there is no collaboration without trust
We also share a practical framework for joint solution development projects that gets you on the path to successful partnering, producing the solutions customers want. Register today!

Top Five Opportunities for Getting a Little Better Every Day

On February 24, we present the trends we see in our work over the past two years with biopharma alliance professionals about the small changes in everyday practice of alliance fundamentals that can make a big difference in outcomes.

This ASAP Netcast webinar presents five opportunities to improve operational excellence in alliance management that not only deliver value on their own, they also create time and space for pursuing higher value services.

Practical tools and learnings presented include:
  • A step-by-step inquiry process to create alignment to guide an alliance’s decision making
  • A chartering process and Collaborative Leadership Agenda to establish an alliance’s operating model, distribution of responsibilities, and desired behaviors
  • A framework for comprehensive and holistic information management and communications within the alliance and between the alliance and its member partners
Getting a little better every day in alliance management fundamentals is a critical strategy both for managing resource constraints and engaging stakeholders in a collaborative approach to alliance success.

Register today! Even if you can’t attend, you’ll have access to the recording and slides.

Download our whitepaper describing the five opportunities and learn about an ASAP Alliance Excellence Award Winner that demonstrates what embracing these opportunities can do for you!
 
Top Five Opportunities for Alliance Management Excellence: Getting a Little Better Every Day
2. Thought Leadership / February 6th, 2022
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What differentiates great alliance professionals from good ones? The great ones strive for excellence in everything they do, getting a little bit better every day.

We’re advocates of learning and continuous improvement—it is the essence of the iterative development methodology that is the rhythm of business Jeff first defined nearly 30 years ago. Great alliance managers are always learning and applying those learnings. It is hard to do consistently.

The daily exigencies regularly get in the way. Looking back over the past two years of consulting engagements and deep dive alliance assessments, we’ve identified five opportunities to improve alliance effectiveness that might not seem game-changing, but that truly have an impact both in the near and longer-term that is measurable and significant.

In most instances, the actions to take are welcomed by teams and just require diligence to implement and recognize benefit. For one blockbuster alliance we’ve worked with since 2009, taking care to get the fundamentals right led to an ASAP Alliance Excellence Award.

Join us on the journey to alliance management excellence.
As Seen in Strategic Alliance Quarterly: Excellence is Always Our North Star
2. Thought Leadership / December 14th, 2021
Download the pdf

How can we and our partners achieve operational excellence in a hybrid meeting environment? A mix of technology, planning, creativity, and flexibility is helping alliance professionals find the answers.


The title of this article came from the participant introductions in our sponsor’s executive roundtable following the 2021 ASAP BioPharma Conference, very nicely summing up the sentiments of the assembled. Regardless of the environment, process, or activity, excellence in alliance management is the North Star we strive for. And oh yes—we are likely doing this in a hybrid meeting setting, with some people in a room physically together and others remote. It creates a new dynamic in many ways, especially for making complex decisions, potentially necessitating a more prescriptive approach than was used when everyone was in a room and had built relationships over multiple opportunities to “hug and break bread,” as Jeff likes to say.

Download the pdf of this article that appears in the Q4 2021 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly for and exploration of operational excellence in alliance management and insights on pursuing aspects of it in a hybrid governance meeting environment.
Top Five Opportunities to Get a Little Better Every Day
1. Partnering Guide / December 5th, 2021
Earlier this year we published a white paper and gave a number of presentations on Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals Who Deliver Value. We described what these people consistently get right regardless of the purpose or business model of an alliance. One of the habits is a focus on being excellent in the execution of alliance management fundamentals. These core practices include, among others, strategic visioning and alignment, establishing efficient operating models, managing an agile governance process, creating alignment, and of course, good communication. Our experiences over the past few years tell us that too often these fundamentals get short shrift amidst the urgencies of the day, having too many alliances to manage—and in the constraints on working together caused by the pandemic.
 
The result: alliance professionals who are missing opportunities to deliver value to stakeholders and alliances that aren’t as successful as they should be. Operational excellence is a mindset of getting a little better every day in the fundamentals of your craft—in making the basics just part of the culture and “how work gets done around here”—so that you can focus on higher value activities. It is about moving from good to great.
 
Herewith are our Top 5 opportunities to help alliance teams be more agile, to make better decisions, and have more valuable and productive partnerships right now. These insights have been gleaned though 1) VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessments of complex codevelopment, cocommercialization biopharma alliances; 2) baseline assessments of practices against both the Seven Habits and our Alliance Management Foundation model, and 3) numerous roundtables and master classes we’ve conducted over the past two years.
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Managing Alliance Meetings in a Hybrid Environment
1. Partnering Guide / September 19th, 2021
As summer turns to fall, many people were hoping to return to their offices and meet with their alliance teams and partners, holding governance meetings in-person. Some are and some aren’t. Some companies aren’t allowing travel until at least 2022. A recent McKinsey survey found that “90% of organizations will adopt a combination of remote and on-site work as they emerge from Covid restrictions.”[1] The upshot is that alliance professionals will find themselves having to design, organize, and facilitate important meetings that may be in-person (likely with face masks), completely remote, or somewhere in between—a hybrid. Each requires something a little different to be successful, with the hybrid meeting the most challenging to get right. Fortunately, there have been a lot of learnings over the past 18 months on how to have effective remote meetings. We need to apply those learnings to what we know about having productive alliance meetings and create a new template to drive success in a hybrid environment.
 
...
Where’s the Value? Insights from Our ASAP Webinar Chat
1. Partnering Guide / August 6th, 2021
On July 29, Jan facilitated a conversation with Katherine Kendrick, CSAP, head of alliance management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Nancy Griffin, vice president of alliance management at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals about defining and communicating the value professional alliance management delivers to its key internal stakeholders and partners. Part of ASAP’s webinar series, everyone defined the preparation and delivery of the session as “certainly not work.” Highlights of our spirited and spontaneous conversation follows.   

Our discussion built upon the cover story article in the Q1 2021 Strategic Alliance Quarterly, to which each of us contributed, widening the aperture to explore how to expand beyond the daily management of contracts, governance, and solving problems to discuss the higher level, more strategic services and activities stakeholders value the most....
Where’s the Value? Upcoming ASAP Netcast Explores the Value in Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management
4. News and Events / July 17th, 2021
Where's the Value ASAP Netcast
Join Jan Twombly, CSAP, President of The Rhythm of Business as she leads this provocative discussion on July 29, 2021 with two dynamic alliance management leaders, Nancy Griffin, Vice President of Alliance Management at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Katherine Kendrick, CSAP, Head of Alliance Management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

Biopharma alliance professionals are perennially challenged to explain the holistic and strategic work they do to prevent the inherent inefficiencies in alliances from overtaking intended value. The discussion will offer insights into how to present the story of alliance management in a way that connects to the needs of senior executives.

We will also explore how these alliance leaders are structuring their teams and shaping jobs to better safeguard their company’s interests and further the goals of their individual alliances and the company’s overall portfolio.

As the profession evolves to take on a more strategic role, what to measure and how to communicate must evolve, too. We’ll look at how our alliance leaders are doing just that—and importantly weaving in storytelling to help the organization but its trust in the value of alliance management to grow its partnering capability and maximize the value of its alliance portfolio.

This Netcast is free for ASAP members. If you aren’t a member, contact us for a discount code.
As Published in Business Development and Licensing Journal—The Digital Health Mashup: Bridging the Alliance Management Divide
1. Partnering Guide / July 5th, 2021
Download the pdf

Over the past few years, the number of partnerships between biopharmaceutical companies and digital information technology companies to develop innovative digital health products has grown exponentially. Partnership is about bridging differences to leverage the unique assets and capabilities of the partners, creating an outcome neither could achieve alone, or at least not economically. The strategic, operational, and cultural differences between biopharma companies and their “high-tech” partners are significant and must be overcome to realize the potential of digital health. This is fertile ground for alliance management professionals to ply their craft, ensuring that the risks of partnering don’t outweigh the benefits.

This article, published in the journal of the UK’s Pharmaceutical Licensing Group:
  • Digs into some of the differences between biopharma and digital technology companies
  • Explores the business model that is a mash-up between what is typical for each of the partners in digital health partnerships
  • Suggests how alliance professionals can apply our alliance management foundation to bridge differences between the partners and create new value
Download the pdf to read the full article.
Measuring What Matters Creates Winners
1. Partnering Guide / May 17th, 2021
How do you know if your alliance or business partnership is operating effectively? Sure, revenue is a gauge, as well as hitting key development milestones. It still doesn’t tell you if the partners are productively leveraging the resources available to the alliance, or if it is operating in an environment built on mutual trust and respect, focused on innovating and producing results.

Alliances are inherently inefficient and it is the job of the alliance professionals managing the alliance to preserve and enhance the value intended when entering into the collaboration, while identifying and mitigatin
g the risks that can cause it to fall short of its potential.

To measure if an alliance is operating effectively, many years ago we created the VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessment (See Figure 1). In a demonstration that measuring effectiveness can contribute to alliance success, the XTANDI alliance of Astellas and Pfizer recently won the 2021 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for a Longstanding Alliance. In accepting the award, the alliance directors credited the role regularly measuring effectiveness as part of a program of continuous improvement plays in the alliance’s success. Our congratulations to the winners! They have worked very hard over many years to ensure the alliance is producing maximum value for patients and the partners.

Measurin...
The Value of Alliance Management on the Agenda at the 2021 Strategic Alliance Management Congress
4. News and Events / April 24th, 2021
May’s all-digital Strategic Alliance Management Congress includes two opportunities sponsored by The Rhythm of Business for participants to consider how to evolve and adapt their practices to deliver and communicate the value their services offer to stakeholders, partners, and customers.

Jan Twombly, CSAP presents Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals, a tour through evergreen alliance management practices that are being innovated for today’s business environment of increasing complexing partnerships in which face-to-face will remain a luxury—and the surprisingly productive ways of working we’ve adopted out of necessity will remain.

Alliance management is an enabling function, often without a direct line to revenue. It can be challenging for alliance professionals to measure and communicate the value of their services and to make their work visible. As a result, in times of uncertainty such as our current period, they can become an easy target for the budget axe. Practicing the seven habits delivers the services stakeholders value the most—and helps alliance professionals communicate that value.

An additional opportunity for conference participants is a moderated roundtable on The Value of Alliance Management. The roundtable looks at the essence of alliance management and asks:
  • What are the alliance management services stakeholders value the most?
  • In what ways do you measure and report alliance management activity?
  • How would you like senior management to describe the value of alliance management?
Join other biopharmaceutical alliance professionals from industry and academia May 18 and 19, 2021. Network with peers and learn the seven habits that help you deliver value. There is still time to register at https://www.alliancemanagementcongress.com.
How Alliance Professionals Deliver Value at Startup
1. Partnering Guide / March 25th, 2021
Discussion Summary from Exclusive Executive Roundtable

There is a truism among alliance professionals—start an alliance right, or you will start it again in the midst of an erosion of trust and even conflict. As part of an exclusive executive roundtable discussion sponsored by The Rhythm of Business during the ASAP Global Alliance Summit in March, nearly a dozen heads of alliance management within life science companies gathered to discuss the challenges of startup and the value alliance professionals can and should deliver to their stakeholders during this critical phase. Their conclusion: Prepare your stakeholders for what could go wrong and set them up for making it go right.
...
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals Who Deliver Value
2. Thought Leadership / February 10th, 2021
Download the pdf

Habits are internalized behaviors we engage in without really thinking about them. They take practice to develop competency in and to build the muscle memory so that they become ingrained and naturally how work gets done. For alliance professionals, it is important to develop habits that lead to the mindset and services that produce the value their key stakeholders care about the most.

Alliance management is an enabling function, often without a direct line to revenue. It can be challenging for alliance professionals to measure and communicate the value of their services and to make their work visible. As a result, in times of uncertainty such as our current period, they can become an easy target for the budget axe.

With apologies to Stephen Covey, we present seven habits highly effective alliance professionals develop and practice to deliver valued services to stakeholders and make their work tangible, measurable, understood, and appreciated.
How Alliance Professionals Treat Team Turnover as a Value-Adding Opportunity
1. Partnering Guide / December 28th, 2020
“We’re moving so fast we don’t have the luxury of formal onboarding. We just kind of throw them in there. They’re smart, they’ll figure it out.” This is what we’ve been hearing from too many alliance professionals about their approach to onboarding new project team and governance committee members. In taking this position, alliance professionals are overlooking a key value adding opportunity: Helping the new member know what they need to know to establish the right priorities and engage in the right activities to accomplish what they as a member of the team must, and to quickly get connected and engaged with the rest of the team.

When this engagem...
As Seen in Strategic Alliance Quarterly: Alliance Management's Digital Future is Here
2. Thought Leadership / December 10th, 2020
download the pdf

The digital transformation of alliance management has arrived!

Just published: Our article in the Q4 2020 edition of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, co-authored with our partners at allianceboard. It explains why an alliance-centric digital platform is key to alliance professionals’ delivery of valuable services, reimagined and at scale, as companies' reliance on alliances as a core pillar of strategy continues to increase.

Contact us today to learn about our digital transformation services and how implementing allianceboard helps you elevate, document, and communicate the value of alliance management.
 
Rumblings, Perennial Challenges, and Reimagining a Path Forward
1. Partnering Guide / December 4th, 2020
There is no question 2020 has been the most challenging year in recent memory. As it comes to a welcome close, old challenges are appearing anew. For biopharmaceutical alliance professionals, it is once again the season of having to explain to the CFO wielding the budget axe, “So tell me again what you do?”
 
It is not surprising, given the uncertainty of the business climate and the wholesale changes that have occurred. Companies have learned to live without physicality in offices, sales calls, team meetings, conferences, new staff interviews…the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that any executive worth their salt is examining what their business needs and doesn’t need to be successful as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic in 2021 and into the next normal.
 
Savvy alliance leaders should welcome the challenge—and be prepared with an answer that not only explains how you’ve helped the business achieve great things during 2020 by keeping its alliances on track. You must also be ready to share what you and your team are doing to reimagine the future course of the company’s alliance capability and help lead it in a time of scientific and technical advancement, changing economic incentives, and empowered patients that necessitates partnering happening everywhere in the organization—all while incorporating the surprisingly productive ways of doing business we’ve adopted...
Introducing New, Digitally Delivered Alliance Management Training Options
4. News and Events / October 19th, 2020

Download an overview of our Digital Alliance Management Training

digital alliance management trainingPump up the value to demonstrate why alliance management is essential to company success.

Over the past several months we’ve worked with a variety of life science companies to take our traditional, in-person alliance management trainings and convert them to online offerings. In the process, we’ve discovered that online training can be even more successful than in-person workshops. We’ve redesigned many of our popular courses to be delivered over Zoom, incorporating rich interaction in small breakout groups with pre-reads and individual assignments.

We’ve also added a workshop delivered together with our partner allianceboard to guide alliance professionals in automating routine services to expand their reach and influence and to make their...

The Silver Lining: Reimagining Alliance Management to Focus on What Matters Most Now
1. Partnering Guide / September 24th, 2020
Download a pdf of our conference presentation

Our hats are off to everyone who participated in the ASAP Biopharma Conference earlier this month! Because of all the creativity and engagement by speakers, participants, the program committee, and staff, it certainly felt like a real conference, just one delivered in a digital environment instead of in Boston’s Seaport District! It is further evidence the status quo is no more and so many of the old rules no longer apply. This is really the silver lining: a license to fix what’s broken, become more resourceful and agile, dispense with unnecessary process, and focus on what matters most.

COVID-19 and Work from Home (WFH) has created a new burden on alliance professionals. You must be more intentional, work harder to be in the right meetings, pay more attention to the mental and physical state of your team, your governance members. Add to this all the new types of service, data, and digital partnerships both before- and with-COVID and it is clear the time has come to reimagine how alliance management practices are implemented and the capability is organized and resourced to meet growing, changing demand.

Our presentation at the conference introduces practical actions for reimagining the collaboration between alliance managers and their internal stakeholders, especially governance team members, and the resulting partner experience. We toss aside the status quo to:
  • Redefine how alliance managers are assigned to alliances
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to align on the services that create value for them and that mitigate the panoply of value-eroding risks that are now present
  • Create the transparency of information flows and communication required in our together-but-apart world
Contact us today to discuss how our consulting and training services can help your alliance management team be more agile, more digital, and more successful in delivering the value to stakeholders that matters most today.
There is No Going Back: Roundtable Discussion Focuses on What Matters Most Now
4. News and Events / September 16th, 2020
A Summary of our ASAP 2020 Biopharma Conference Exclusive Executive Roundtable Discussion
 
It is really starting to settle in—there is no going back, there is only moving forward. Whenever we again experience a world where face-to-face meetings, quick drop-ins on a colleague or executive, and maybe even business travel are possible, there are some things we’ve learned in the past six months that make sense to carry forward into that next normal. In our current normal, we are not only figuring out how to deal with distanced work, we’re trying to learn how to innovate with new partners and new partnering models and ensure we deliver what matters most to our stakeholders and alliance partners to realize the outcomes and value intended by both newly formed alliances and those once operating under an entirely different set of assumptions.

These are some of the highlights of our exclusive executive roundtable discussion during the 2020 ASAP Biopharma Conference on September 15, complementing our presentation The Silver Lining: Reimagining Alliance Management to Focus on What Matters Most Now. Link to our conference presentat...
Exemplary Alliance, Ordinary Practices
2. Thought Leadership / September 8th, 2020
download the pdf

The statistics are daunting. Drug development has an overall failure rate of over 96%. It is especially acute for some of the most debilitating diseases where the biological mechanism that causes the disease state is not well understood. Spreading that risk is part of the reason why most drugs are developed in partnership. In 2018, all 62 drugs approved by the FDA incorporated some aspect of partnership.
 
Partnership may be common, but that doesn’t mean it is practiced well. Research from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals indicates that success rates increase substantially when leading practices are utilized. At first blush, good alliance practices seem to just make sense and of course, every good business person and collaborative scientist will naturally apply them. However, alliances are conceptually simple but operationally quite challenging. Consistently engaging in the behaviors and implementing the practices that help alliances be successful—and deliver life-changing medicines to patients—takes work.
 
AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical giant, and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company engaged The Rhythm of Business to help it examine what it did right in a recently concluded research collaboration to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop or slow down the progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. Their story—from initial contact through to a successful conclu...
The Alliance Management Mashup—Bridging the Digital Divide: ASAP Summit Virtual Roundtable
4. News and Events / August 12th, 2020
Summary of ASAP Global Summit Roundtable Discussion

Download a pdf of the discussion slides

Digital health has the potential to improve the health of millions of patients and radically change the way health services are delivered. In addition to providing benefits to patients and providers, the benefits for companies offering digital technology and life science products and services are substantial. It is a productive alliance of two innovative industries that not only innovate very differently, they go to market and partner differently. No wonder high tech and biopharma alliance managers have different jobs!
In digital health initiatives, the job of the alliance professionals is to bridge differences and find a third way that results in creating successful outcomes for the patients, providers, payers, and partners.

As part of the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, we gave a presentation on the topic and hosted a roundtable discussion of several technology and biopharma alliance professionals. The following are the highlights from o...
The Golden Package Leads to the Payoff
1. Partnering Guide / July 31st, 2020
This is Part Three of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company. The purpose of the alliance was to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. The Rhythm of Business was engaged after their collaboration had achieved its primary objective to help the partners examine their alliance, identify repeatable practices, and tell their story.
 
Read Part One: The Making of a True Collaboration
Read Part Two: How the AbbVie-BioArctic Partnership Executes Collaboratively
 
For two years the partners had been following the workplan, advancing the science that they hoped would produce a game-changing treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. For that to happen, AbbVie had to “opt-in” to license the antibodies for clinical development. If it decided not to, for any number of valid business or scientific reasons, BioArctic would need to go find another partner. If that rejection were to occur, it would cost them valuable time in both the exclusivity to the underlying intellectual property and in the competitive arena. It would result in devaluing the asset in the eyes of a new development partner.  In October 2018 BioArctic delivered the “Golden Package” containing the fruits—all the data and deliverables—of the two years of work to AbbVie, which had 90 days to make a decision. Thanks to a proactive approach with much of the ground already laid, the review was quick and internal alignment secured. Within two weeks it informed BioArctic that it would exercise its license option bringing the alliance to a succ...
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...
On the Agenda at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit
4. News and Events / June 21st, 2020
The Summit may be virtual this year, but The Rhythm of Business is very much engaged. We are proud to be long-time members, sponsors, and contributors to the ASAP community and to participate in this first virtual Global Alliance Summit.

 - We’re presenting On Demand Session 502, The Alliance Management Mashup: Bridging the Digital Divide
 - Jan Twombly is moderating live stream Session 207 Biopharma Commercial Alliance Management Challenges on Thursday, June 25 at 11:15 am EDT
 - We are also hosting an exclusive virtual executive roundtable on Reimaging Alliance Management for the Next Normal on Thursday, June 25 from 9:00 – 10:00am E...
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...
A Message to Alliance Professionals: Let's Not Let the Crisis Go to Waste
4. News and Events / March 16th, 2020
Making Lemonade: Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

The unfortunate appearance of COVID-19 has all of us scrambling to keep our families, employees, and customers safe while keeping our businesses operating. At The Rhythm of Business, we’re taking all recommended precautions, ceasing travel, and the hosting of meetings in our offices until it is safe to gather in person again.
 
However, as the eminently quotable Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” We are following his advice and innovating how we deliver professional development and carryout our VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessment to help the alliance management community continue to deliver value that ultimately benefits customers and patients.

Virtual Alliance and Collaboration Professional Development

Over the past several months, we’ve seen a big uptick in the number of companies wanting to offer alliance and collaboration training. In the spirit of lemonade from lemons—making the best of a bad situation—we are working with our clients to create virtual training sessions, following leading practices of distance meetings. We’ll take our day-long, or multi-day, in-person sessions and break them up into a series of webinars, making them interactive with polling and chat. In between webinars, we’ll host small groups to work on case studies, analyze situations, and take part in exercises to apply the learning. Jeff Shuman’s experience of many years of conducting MBA classes with a combination of in-person and online students is very relevant and helpful.

If you’ve been thinking about offering training to alliance team members, part-time alliance managers, or governance committee members, this is an opportune time to do so. Afterall, potential participants won’t be travelling any time soon. Here is a brief slide deck introducing our alliance and collaboration professional development offerings and how we tailor them to your current and expected portfolio of asset-based, service, digital, and data alliances, from the lab to interactions with payers.

Take the VitalSigns of Your Alliance

These challenging times require alliance teams to rally around a North Star focused on the value the alliance is intended to deliver to customers, patients, and the partners to the alliance. One way alliance professionals can deliver value to their stakeholders is to evaluate how well the alliance is collaborating and overcoming the inefficiencies that cause risk and prevent the partners from receiving intended value. Our VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessment pinpoints the actions leadership and management can take now to guide their teams to overcome those inefficiencies, differences of opinion and ways of working, as well as to address simmering conflict and find innovative “third ways” that offer value creating solutions. We are taking the alliance governance committee workshops that are an integral part of this process virtual, meaning that we can speed up the realization of benefit by having a special purpose meeting that doesn’t need to wait for a spot on the agenda.

We’re Eager to Collaborate with You

There is no doubt these are challenging times. Collaboration and partnering has never been more important in all aspects of our lives. The Rhythm of Business is creatively addressing the challenge and ready to work with you to ensure that we make lemonade, innovating our way through this crisis.

In collaboration and partnership,

Jan and Jeff

Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
The Rhythm of Business
Reach Jan at +1 617.851.0135 or jan@rhythmofbusiness.com
Reach Jeff at +1 508.954.2896 or jeff@rhythmofbusiness.com
Demand for Alliance Management Has Changed: Are You Ready?
2. Thought Leadership / March 15th, 2020
Download the pdf

View our ASAP Netcast  on the topic.

When the head of a biopharmaceutical alliance management team told us he had to give his people “permission to ignore certain partners,” and another leader said he’d love to get into digital health partnerships, but didn’t have the resources, we knew the demand for alliance management had reached a tipping point. It is time to modernize how alliance management practices are implemented and the capability organized and resourced to meet growing demand.
 
Many companies across industries have taken a page from the discipline of agile software development to rethink how they go about their work. The outcomes are impressive in terms of value delivered to customers and the resulting benefits to the company and employees. We’ve always applied core tenants of agile to our work with alliance professionals, so over the past year we’ve been digging deeper and rethinking how to adapt agile principles to the work of alliance management.

The pdf linked to at the top contains two posts from The Partnering Guide blog presenting our perspective on the challenge facing alliance managers and an approach to applying agile to the alliance portfolio, services, and organization. We hope you find these posts helpful and welcome the opportunity to work with you to be ready to handle the increased demand for alliance management.
 
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 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 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.
Alliance Managers Find They Have the Control and Influence to Empower Collaborative Leadership
1. Partnering Guide / April 2nd, 2019

Author: Jan Twombly

At the recent ASAP Global Alliance Summit, we conducted an abbreviated version of our workshop, Own Your Transformation: A Five-Point Agenda for Empowering Collaborative Leadership, with alliance professionals from info tech, biopharma, and fintech, as well as other industries where partnering is as essential as the technology. The objective of the session was to design a collaborative leadership system to break through the barriers organizations typically put up to true collaborat...

Closing the C-Suite's Collaboration Gap
1. Partnering Guide / December 20th, 2018
Earlier this month, we presented and recorded a webinar to expand upon our mini e-book that we wrote together with our partner Alliancesphere, Own Your Transformation: A Five-Point Agenda for Creating Your Organization’s Collaborative Leadership System. The key message of the presentation is to urge alliance professionals to take charge of closing the gap between the happy talk about the importance of partnering and the actual ability of organizations to collaborate and partner well in a digital world....
How to Tame an Octopus: Managing the Proliferation of Clinical Collaborations
1. Partnering Guide / October 15th, 2018
In 2016, former US President Jimmy Carter announced that he no longer required treatment for his metastatic melanoma that had spread to his brain and liver. After six months of being treated with the immunotherapy pembrolizumab (trade name KEYTRUDA), together with surgery and radiation therapy, doctors had seen no sign of his disease for three months. This was a remarkable development—before pembrolizumab was approved in 2011, President Carter’s cancer likely would have been fatal.

Known as a “checkpoint inhibitor” pembrolizumab and other drugs in its class work—in simplest terms—by turbocharging the body’s immune system so that it can fight cancer. Its success, and the success of other similar drugs, such as avelumab (trade name BAVENCIO), and nivolumab (trade name OPDIVO), have unleashed a tsunami of clinical collaborations to identify how using these drugs in combination might expand and extend their significant patient benefits—and maximize their value to the biopharma companies that are de...
Coping Strategies for Overstretched Biopharma Alliance Executives
1. Partnering Guide / September 15th, 2018
It has been said by more than one executive that having too much work for her team to manage is a “high-class problem to have.”  If you buy that thinking, biopharma alliance executives have a very high-class problem to cope with!

The Rhythm of Business has interviewed over 30 alliance executives from a wide-range of biopharma, biotech, and animal health companies to understand and report on the current state of practice. Our core finding is that alliance management is here to stay in biopharma. It is viewed as a strategic capability, essential to the organization, with increasing C-Suite visibility and support.

What we’ve also learned is that alliance management teams are dealing with growing portfolios of alliances to manage along with greater technical components to their alliances. Some 86 percent of interviewees report growin...
Taming the Octopus: Managing the Web of Clinical Collaborations
4. News and Events / July 1st, 2018
Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business is joined by Judy Baselice, director, alliance management at Pfizer and Ellen Locker, executive director, alliance management Merck & Co. at the 2018 ASAP Biopharma Conference in an interactive discussion about the complex web of agreements, restrictions, and obligations resulting from the explosion of clinical collaborations to create combination therapies....
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...
Joint Development of Complex Solutions Requires Extreme Partnering
4. News and Events / February 8th, 2018
Mini-workshop at ASAP Global Alliance Summit, March 28, 2018 mixes partnering acumen with entrepreneurial know how to present a framework for co-creating complex solutions at the speed of business....
Beyond the Pill Strategies: Biopharma Partnering's Next Frontier
2. Thought Leadership / September 11th, 2017
Beyond the Pill imageAUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
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Three trends – new technologies, shifting economics, and empowered patients – are disrupting biopharma’s traditional business model. Smart biopharma companies are responding by embracing a holistic “beyond the pill” approach to the future.

For most biopharma companies, beyond the pill is largely a defensive strategy aimed at justifying or preserving pricing or perhaps gaining reimbursement in any amount. If prognosticators are correct, this bundle of product, services, and data (typically referred to as a solution) will be required for receiving regulatory approval in the not-to-distant future. The bundle may even be part of a single label.

Opportunities to create, deliver, and capture value abound across the value chain. All require partnering. Biopharma partnering and alliance professionals should dive in, head first.
The Ubiquity of Partnering and Why Every Company Needs the Ability to Partner Everywhere
1. Partnering Guide / October 13th, 2016
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman


Maybe it is starting to sink in. Just maybe it is starting to be understood. The ways and the depth with which we connect with others, connect our organizations, and share data, knowledge, and experience are driving business, societal, and personal value. This means managing external collaborative relationships well – a.k.a. partnerships and alliances – makes a difference in the outcomes we get!

Here are two recent studies that see the light: 

...
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....

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...

A Mindset for the Biopharmaceutical Alliance Manager in the Era of Connected Ecosystems
2. Thought Leadership / December 23rd, 2015

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Author: Jan Twombly

First in a series to challenge the profession to “think differently,” we describe a mindset – a way of thinking about the role of the alliance manager that transcends “best practices.” For those new at alliance management – and executives who need...

It Takes Collaboration to Make a Revolution
1. Partnering Guide / January 26th, 2015

AUTHOR: Jeff Shuman

I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s new book, the Innovators. To my surprise, I couldn’t put it down. At 560 pages with over 1000 reference notes covering the period from 1834 to 2014, it is not a casual read. But for this life-long student of computers and collaborat...

Will 2015 be the Year of Partnering? The Chief Strategy Officer Summit Offers a Good Omen
1. Partnering Guide / December 31st, 2014

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

As 2014 winds to a close, we pause to reflect on the past year and to think about what the New Year may bring. It has been a pretty good year for partnering professionals and anyone who believes in the power of collaboration.

Brilliant new partnerships inte...

Strategic, Entrepreneurial and Adaptable: Qualities for Alliance Success
1. Partnering Guide / November 16th, 2014

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly

I had the pleasure of moderating the ASAP New England Chapter’s event earlier this month, Alliance Management in an Age of Disruption. Our panel of cross-industry alliance professionals tackled a number of issues, including:

  • Causes of disruption in their industry...

Improving Partnering Outcomes – What’s an Alliance Professional to Do?
1. Partnering Guide / September 29th, 2014

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

Over the past several months we have thought a lot about a question that is both challenging and imperative:

How can alliance managers more directly and more successfully improve partnering outcomes?

We’ve long worked to enhance and increase the impa...

The Spotlight Intensifies - As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / April 3rd, 2014
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Author: Jan Twombly

An update on the 2012 Practice of Alliance Management in the Biopharmaceutical Industry Study conducted by The Rhythm of Business finds an intensified focus on alliance management performance in the industry as a whole. The study results show an expansion of a...
From Followers to Leaders: Alliance Management in Biopharma
2. Thought Leadership / November 22nd, 2012
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Author: Jan Twombly

For its 2012 study of alliance management in the biopharmaceutical industry, The Rhythm of Business surveyed 47 companies from across the globe and found that, on the whole, resources and staffs devoted to alliance management in biopharma are increasing or hol...
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