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

Overcoming the Challenges of Consensus Decision Making in Hybrid Environments at 2021 ASAP Biopharma Conference
4. News and Events / September 11th, 2021
The Rhythm of Business is proud to once again be a platinum sponsor of the ASAP Biopharma Conference. This is the premier event for life science alliance management professionals. Even in an all-digital format, there are plenty of opportunities to network, learn from industry leaders, and put your fingers on the pulse of partnerships today.

Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman will lead a Live Stream Master Class session on Monday, September 27th: Operational Excellence for Consensus Decision Making in Hybrid Environments. Participants will analyze a comprehensive case study in small group discussions and address several questions to:
  • Apply leading practices for facilitating hybrid meetings to structure the decision-making process
  • Consider how to best prepare executives to properly consider a complex topic when not in a room together
  • Overcome the trust barriers that exist because alliance teams haven’t had the venues to properly build relationships during the pandemic
 
Participants’ analysis will be informed by an upfront presentation by Twombly and Shuman that shares some of their most recent work on driving excellence in alliance management practices in a hybrid environment and at a time when alliance management services are in high demand.
 
Twombly is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of ASAP. To see the complete Conference agenda and to register, visit https://asapbiopharma.org.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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....
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.
...
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...
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...
Creating Your Minimum Viable Partnership on the Agenda at ASAP European Alliance Summit
4. News and Events / October 15th, 2018
The Rhythm of Business is pleased to announce that it is sponsoring the 2018 ASAP European Alliance Summit in Amsterdam, 8-9 November 2018. Now in its fourth year, the conference brings together alliance and partnering practitioners from across industries and from many countries for two days of networking, presentations, and learning from each other about how to drive business outcomes through partnering....
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...
Partnering at the Speed of Business
1. Partnering Guide / December 28th, 2017
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

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

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

For example, indu...
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...

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...

The Partner Portfolio Manager: Shining the Spotlight on Performance and Value
2. Thought Leadership / February 28th, 2013

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Author: Jan Twombly

How does an alliance manager know where to put his or her efforts? Too often these efforts are focused where the noise is loudest and the “brushfires” burn the brightest. But being a firefighter is not the optimal role for alliance managers—and it isn’...

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...

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

Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

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

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