Alliance Governance; Embrace the Diversity - by Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE
I like to call alliance success,
"Partnering for Profits." Unfortunately, a frequent alliance success
pitfall is attempting to make your partner in your image-do things the way you
do, think the way you think, and follow the same methodology. While it may
appear in the short-term, to ease the rocky road of alliance governance, what
it really does is minimize the value your partner delivers in the alliance
relationship. What it was that attracted you to your alliance partner in the
first place were their core competencies and the belief that together, value
added synergies would be created and deliver benefit to both; and now you want
them to change? How much sense does that make?
First the Process of Working
When you set up your alliance expectations in your alliance agreement, the
first success should be successful organizational alliance integration-a
strategy to collaborate in developing a cooperative process with which both
organizations can successfully implement and integrate into their current
processes and methodology. First you have to successfully cooperate and
collaborate before you can implement the actual stated alliance function.
Cultural, Strategic, and Operational Fit
For any alliance to be successful there is the need for a reasonable cultural,
strategic, and operational fit. However, there is not a need for exact
cultural, strategic, and operational duplication. The cultural fit is about how
compatible the management teams and corporate cultures overlap. The important
question is can they successfully work together? The strategic fit is
determining how well aligned are the objectives of the participating partners.
Opposing corporate strategies can greatly handicap, even a well implemented
alliance. Operational fit is the tricky one. How complementary are the business
models, processes, and methodology? Notice I stated aligned, and not, the same?
With alignment there can be differences, yet cooperation and collaboration.
Partner Due Diligence
I truly believe that due diligence is the "Achilles heal" for most
organizations in the alliance development process. During this very important
alliance development step, you really do need to be honest with yourself and
your potential partner(s) as to your partnering expectations, your own
capabilities, and the partner capabilities you seek. For years I have been
saying, "People do not change after marriage." What I mean by this in
the partnering arena is the, all too frequent, misguided belief that one's
partner will get better after the alliance is implemented. How wrong can a
person, committee, or organization be? Pick the correct alliance partner from
the beginning. Trying to change them after is a fool's errand.
New Alliance Tools for Smaller
When I first started writing about alliance development, many of the tools were
financially only available to the larger corporations. However, with the
preponderance of today's social networking capabilities, many savvy smaller
companies are using Facebook and Linkedin for alliance success, especially in
the areas of governance and implementation capabilities. As the social
networking sites are now allowing greater control over privacy, they become
even better alliance tools for smaller business alliance success. You will find
that with a small amount of creativity, social networking sites can truly be a
boon to alliance governance, implementation, and success.
Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Association Executive, has been
fumbling, bumbling, and stumbling his way through the organizational mazes of
for-profits and non-profits for over four decades. For the last two decades, Ed
has been an observer, researcher, and teacher; helping organizations of all
sizes to build successful internal and external collaborative relationships. Ed
travels internationally to deliver keynote presentations and workshops on
successful alliance relationships. In addition to serving as the president of
Rigsbee Research, Ed also serves as the executive director of a public
non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. Ed has authored three books and over 2,000
articles helping organizations to take full advantage of their potential.
Contact Ed at 800-839-1520, firstname.lastname@example.org,