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AUGUST 2013



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The Ten Critical Qualities In Selecting An Alliance Partner
by Ed Rigsbee, CSP

If you think partnering might be for you, selecting the right alliance partner is generally the difference between alliance failure and success. Be certain your alliance partner exhibits most of the following qualities.

  • Wants to win. There is no reason to partner with a looser. A weak relationship will only bring you down. You and your partner must have a desire to win, to want to do better, to be useful in creating a synergistic relationship.
  • Know they are ultimately responsible for their own success. Look for partners who understand the value of synergistic partnering relationships. While accountability goes both ways in partnering, in the end, we are each individually accountable for our own success.
  • Is an active listener. To keep an alliance healthy, active listening is important. This helps each partner to know what the other needs. Alertness from both sides equals mutual success.
  • Understands and cares about what drives their partner's businesses. Each partner must do things that consistently give value to the relationship and their partner. The only way you can effectively add value to your partner's business is to know what your partner considers valuable.
  • Responds well to, and acts on feedback. To move forward, leaders must be willing to accept counsel. None of us know it all. Just think how special your partnering relationship would be if your partner never acted on your ideas.
  • Flexible, especially when events or circumstances are not what was expected. If you, or your partner, don't have the ability to change direction when the road ahead is washed out, failure is certain.
  • Trust and integrity. Once the fabric of trust is ripped apart, although it may be repaired, the blemish will always show. You will always have it in your mind that it is not if, but when, they will do it to you again.
  • Seeks win-win arrangements and solutions. You and your partner must believe that you are working toward a bigger pie, not just a bigger piece of the pie.
  • Understands that partnering is a relationship of interdependence. It's not about dependence or independence. Visualize your partner and yourself as partially overlapping circles.
  • Great chemistry. If you like each other, you'll work hard to overcome conflict and make your alliance work long-term. Now grade your potential partner in each area on a 1 to 10 scale, add it up and now you have a baseline potential partner grade. By the way, they should do the same on you. The greater the circles of interest overlap, the greater the value each sees in the relationship.

Adapted from PartnerShift-How to Profit from the Partnering Trend by Ed Rigsbee, CSP, published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, October 2000. All of Rigsbee's books are available from Amazon.com

Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering and has over 1,500 published articles to his credit. Ed travels internationally to deliver strategic alliance keynotes and workshops. He can be reached at 800-839-1520, ed@rigsbee.com or visit www.rigsbee.com

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