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

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.
 
...
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...
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.
...
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...
Breaking the Collaboration Paradox: A Leadership Requirement for the Next Normal
1. Partnering Guide / November 11th, 2020
The following post was initially published by The Drucker Forum as part of its "Shape the Debate" discussion concurrent with the 12th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Leadership Everywhere, A Fresh Perspective on Management.

There are some things we’ve learned in the past seven months that make sense to carry forward into the next normal. Chief among them is that the amount of partnering among firms occurring to combat the pandemic, the neighborhood tie-ups to support small businesses, and bubble quarantines in learning groups as well as professional sports teams, requires a collaborative leadership style. 
 
Collaboration is a buzzword that everyone thinks they know what it means, but few truly do. It is typically thought of as a simple skill we all learned in the sandbox, a value to be trumpeted, or technology that allows people to work together electronically. These are all elements of collaboration, but they fail to adequately define...
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.
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...
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...
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...
How the AbbVie-BioArctic Partnership Executes Collaboratively
1. Partnering Guide / July 7th, 2020
This is Part Two of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company 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.

Getting to “Happy-Happy”

The synergy equation of 1+1=3 is an axiom of partnering, implying that the goal is to create value that cannot be achieved alone. Sweden’s BioArctic takes it a step further, looking to achieve the state of “happy-happy” with their partners. This next generation of the classic win-win focuses on “satisfaction, relationship, the cooperation, and the future.”[1] It is a way of getting to an agreement that is open, transparent, non-competitive, and assumes that each party gets what it wants by helping the other parties to the relationship get what they want. This “give and get logic” is the essence of collaboration; core to how to create, deliver, and capture true value in an alliance. As BioArctic’s project leader explains, “It is important to listen to the partner and unde...
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...
The Making of a True Collaboration
1. Partnering Guide / June 6th, 2020
This is Part One of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company 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.
 
At the September 2014 Parkinson’s Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, Gunilla Osswald, CEO of BioArctic approached the AbbVie booth and asked whom she should talk with about her company’s Parkinson’s Disease program. She was directed to AbbVie’s Europe-based search and evaluation team member who told her that BioArctic’s program was too early for AbbVie to consider. “Come back when you’ve humanized the antibody,” he said.

Fifteen months later, having successfully humanized the antibody, Osswald was meeting with AbbVie’s search and evaluation lead for neuroscience at a partnering conference. Their meeting was supposed to be a brief 20 minutes. Layer-by-layer it became 90 minutes of scientific discovery. It was the first step in establishing a critical trust building foundation for what would become a successful collaboration on promising science to treat a disease with no known cure.

This partn...
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
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...
Collaboration: Conceptually Simple, Operationally Challenging
2. Thought Leadership / March 10th, 2020
download the pdf

Collaboration is one of the most misunderstood and overused concepts in business today.  There are many perspectives on what it is, ranging from the simplistic—working with other people to produce an outcome—to the complexity of the latest technical platform that allows data and documents to be shared. It is treated as a value, a competency, and even an event.

No wonder companies are struggling in their efforts to increase collaboration, as recently described by Harvard’s Francesca Gino. Yet building an organization’s ability to collaborate has become critical. The Institute for Corporate Productivity finds that the ability to collaborate is “highly correlated with market performance.”

Neither finding comes as any surprise. Collaboration is conceptually simple and operationally challenging. Our own hands-on experience, coupled with research implemented through our Collaborating to Win™ assessment of individual ability has consistently linked better collaboration to better outcomes. The key questions for leaders implementing strategies that hinge on partnerships and alliances with external parties are, “How to define collaboration as a behavior?” and “How to build it as an organizational capability…and advantage?”

This collection of posts from The Partnering Guide™ blog presents our perspective based on over 20 years of personal experience, research, and helping others implement collaboration as a strategic and purposeful way of working. We hope you find these posts enlightening and welcome your thoughts and stories of creating successful outcomes through collaboration.
Collaborative Leadership: The Antidote to the Collaboration Paradox
1. Partnering Guide / January 21st, 2020
Thus far in this series of posts on collaboration, we’ve defined it as a purposeful, strategic behavior that is easier said than done. This is because of both a failure to build the capability—the mindset, skillset, and toolset—to collaborate across boundaries and the collaboration paradox—the systems, processes, and policies that helped companies be successful in the past that today impede their ability to collaborate. In this post we look at both collaborative leadership and the leadership system required to support and implement the capability as the antidote to the people and organizational challenges of achieving success in cross-boundary collaborations....
What to Do When It Gets “Just Too Hard”
1. Partnering Guide / January 2nd, 2020
A very successful entrepreneur once told us she knew it was time to iterate her assumptions and change her business when the current way she was doing something was “just too hard.” Ever since that conversation, we watch for this signal. Alliance management within biopharmaceutical firms is showing many signs of hitting the tipping point where it is just too hard to continue implementing alliance management practices as is typically done. One of the key issues raised during our 2018 research project with more than 30 biopharmaceutical companies both large and small was the challenge of an ever-increasing workload—both a growing portfolio to manage and the increasing technical complexity of the alliances making up the portfolio.[1]

Lat...
Partnering Readiness: The New Strategic Leadership Agenda for Partnering Professionals
2. Thought Leadership / December 30th, 2019
download the pdf 
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.
Five Skills for Collaborating Across Boundaries
1. Partnering Guide / December 26th, 2019
In our post Collaboration: Easier Said Than Done we said that leadership systems had to evolve to break the collaboration paradox—the barriers that impede collaboration, but enabled success in a prior business environment. That’s one part of the puzzle of making collaboration—a strategic and purposeful way of behaving and working— an organizational capability. There are also operational and execution skills to collaboration between entities in addition to the psychological skills and values such as openness, empathy, and delegation that are typically present when individuals behave collaboratively. [1]
 
Behaviors are ways of conducting oneself or how a group acts in response to its environment. On a psychological level, collaboration is a natural response to an environment of trust, transparency and respect. In that nurturing environment, one is more likely to be open to other’s ideas, empathetic to their concerns, and willing to give up some level of control and credit.
 
Organizations agree to collaborate to leverage and align the resources of each party for customer benefit which should result in mutual benefit for the collaborators. This requires uniting two or more entities that each have their own strategies, structures, cultures, goals, and processes, crossing organizational boundaries to access those resources. This adds complexity, risk, and challenge to the endeavor....
Collaboration: Easier Said Than Done
1. Partnering Guide / December 9th, 2019
Collaboration is a business buzzword that everyone thinks they know what it means and how to do it, but few truly do; yet it has never been more important than it is today. In addition to the lack of collaborative skills and mindset would-be collaborators also face a Collaboration Paradox— the systems, processes, and policies that have enabled success in the past reinforce barriers impeding success in today’s ecosystem-based collaborative business models. Developing the necessary capability—the mindset, skillset, and toolset for intra- and inter-organizational collaboration—is a work in process for most organizations. This capability also needs a backbone to latch itself to—the culture, policies, and processes of a leadership system that enable and encourage collaborative ways of working.
...
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.
Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management: Practices, Structure, Value
2. Thought Leadership / October 15th, 2019
Download the pdf

Alliance management is an essential discipline in biopharma companies, involved in driving the success—and managing the risks—of the many, varied partnerships and collaborations that deliver innovative therapies to patients. As a result, the ranks of alliance managers are growing.
 
Equally, alliance management is becoming a necessary stop in the career development of many executives. They assume a leadership role needing to quickly get up to speed on what is a sophisticated and demanding job, requiring both strategic and operational abilities, a high-level of emotional intelligence, and an ability to find creative solutions to problems.

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the core functions of biopharma alliance management to executives and practitioners new to the discipline. It discusses the core responsibilities, as well as provides guidance on resourcing strategies and the structure and organization of an alliance management function. While not exhaustive, it provides a roadmap to get started pursuing what is one of the most interesting, challenging, and essential jobs in business today.
Show a Little Alliance Management Love for Medical Affairs Presented at ASAP Biopharma Conference
4. News and Events / September 24th, 2019
Download a pdf of presentation

The 2019 ASAP Biopharma Conference is in full swing, with record attendance. The opening day included a session moderated by Jan Twombly, President, The Rhythm of Business on why collaboration between medical affairs teams in complex alliances is crucial and how alliance managers can be certain they are positioned for success, thereby increasing the likelihood the alliance will achieve its intended va...
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...

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...
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....
Own Your Transformation: Creating Your Organization's Collaborative Leadership System
1. Partnering Guide / November 6th, 2018
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Technology + Partnering together are today’s business imperative. They are redefining and rewiring organizations and what it means to be a leader. Partnering is happening everywhere, requiring collaborating internally and externally—at all levels and across all functions—with unprecedented speed, scale, and scope. It is apparent to leaders now: digital transformation doesn’t happen without robust partnering capability.

The challenge and opportunity for today’s collaborative leaders could not be more meaningful and impactful:
How will you create, deploy, and integrate a leadership system for collaboration from top-to-bottom and end-to-end, overcoming organizational boundaries, inertia, and old ways of leading?

The SMART Partnering Alliance of The Rhythm of Business and Alliancesphere offer a five-point collaborative leader’s transformation agenda— a roadmap for creating your organization’s leadership system for a rapidly changing 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...
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...
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.
 
Designing the Why, What, and How of Your MVP - Minimum Viable Partnership
1. Partnering Guide / March 6th, 2018
Lorin Coles, our partner at Alliancesphere, often says, “There is a difference between vibration and forward motion.” The winners in business today recognize speed is the currency of business—and using it to move in the right direction is equally critical. With apologies to Lewis Carroll, too many companies take the approach of “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.”
 
When it comes to building the partnerships that allow you to co-create, co-develop, and monetize complex solutions, being ready to move forward with haste takes a robust framework that lets you identify and engage with the right partners at the right time...
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....
A Turnkey Partnering Center of Excellence
5. Case Studies / February 6th, 2018
A global biopharma company with a large number of alliances and other collaborations-- academia, service providers, consortia, emerging biotechs, and other big pharma-- engaged us to create both in-person and online alliance management training and tools, customized for their portfolio and way of working....
Assess and Reset for Success
5. Case Studies / February 6th, 2018
An alliance that spent several years conducting research and doing early stage development achieved proof of concept and was ready to move to late stage clinical trials....
Outsourced Service Providers or An Ecosystem of Strategic Partners?
1. Partnering Guide / August 30th, 2017
AUTHOR: Jan Twombly
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The July/August issue of Pharmaceutical Outsourcing features our recent article on building the mindset, skillset, and toolset to collaborate with providers—and maximize the performance of your biopharma ecosystem.


The article highlights Forma Therapeutics, a quickly growing integrated drug discovery and development company, that has a very collaborative and innovative culture that clearly works to its benefit. The Company just announced an extension of its 2014 collaboration with Celgene to “evaluate additional therapeutic candidates across important emerging target families in the areas of protein homeostasis, inflammation & immunology, and neuro...
Into the Vortex: Leading the Power to Partner Everywhere – Presentation at Strategic Alliance Management Congress
2. Thought Leadership / May 9th, 2017
AUTHOR: Jan Twombly
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Biopharma partnering professionals, access our presentation from the May 2017 Strategic Alliance Management Congress.

Partnering is ubiquitous. It is happening everywhere in every function of a biopharma company. New partners often come from unexpected places. An ecosystem perspective is required to address new challenges and keep traditional alliances and collaborations on track. Explore the implications on how alliance processes must adapt and evolve – from partnering models to governance and measurement. Understand the new mindset and skillset required for alliance managers to succeed now that partnering is everywhere.
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: 

...
Taking a Horizontal Approach to the Vertical Partnering Challenge of IoT
1. Partnering Guide / July 25th, 2016
AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
 

Our previous blog post stated that partnering could be either the connective tissue or the Achilles’ Heel of a company’s efforts to capitalize upon the tremendous opportunities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT)--and all the technologies enabling the digitization of business, the shift to everything as a service (XaaS), and outcomes-based business models. We said that smart companies are rethinking their partnering practices from the customer back – and finding that what they’ve been doing is no longer sufficient for the speed, scale, and scope of partnering today.

At the crux of the issue is that in order to deliver the turnkey solutions customers require, companies need the ability to assemble just the right mix of partners for that customer scenario – and hope that can become a replicable industry use case, relevant for many more customers without tremendous customization. The path for achieving this appears to be a targeted and precise vertical focus.

...
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...

Suddenly, Partnering is New Again
1. Partnering Guide / June 8th, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

Over the years partnering has gone through many cycles, falling in and out of favor but still somehow, never really being considered a strategy of choice, unless a company was born with it as part of its core business model. In most traditional companies, sen...

New Whitepaper; SMART Partnering: Orchestrating Success in the Era of Connected Ecosystems, ASAP Global Summit and as Seen in Strategic Alliance Magazine
1. Partnering Guide / February 27th, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly

It is ASAP Global Summit time again and as we head to snow free and warm Orlando, Florida from the grasp of one of the two worst winters in Boston’s recorded weather history, we are excited about more than the chance to leave the snow boots and shovels at home!

At the Su...

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...

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...

Good Picks on Collaboration, Strategic Alliances and Partnering to Include in Your Summer Reading List
1. Partnering Guide / May 23rd, 2014

AUTHOR: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

 

If you are like me, you are in the process of selecting the books you want to read over the summer. The good news is that with e-books it’s a lot easier to “pack” a number of books as you head off for vacation or just try to squeeze in some beach ti...

Portfolio Evaluation Tools
2. Thought Leadership / December 1st, 2011
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Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Try these tools to create a value/complexity profile for your portfolio of collaborative relationships and calculate the Return of Collaboration. Also included is a template for an alliance management workplan focused on the three major types...
How Alliance Management Delivers Value: Moving Beyond Best Practices
2. Thought Leadership / January 20th, 2011

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Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Alliances and other forms of collaboration are an integral component of strategy. In some companies, they account for more than 50 percent of revenues and new products. Entire business processes are being entrusted to partners. As a result, it...

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...

Everyone is a Customer
3. Entrepreneurial Classics / March 1st, 2001

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Authors Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

We are living in volatile times. It seems that everything that was true about business is no longer true.

Why is that? Very simply, it’s because of two fundamental truths of the networked economy:

The power in business relationships ha...

A Business Pattern for the Networked Economy 
3. Entrepreneurial Classics / May 2nd, 2000

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Author: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Sir Francis Bacon was right… Knowledge is Power! Consequently, one of the most profound implications of the rapid shift to the networked economy is the unparalleled access to knowledge everyone now has. As a result, customers really do have t...

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