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
- 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
- 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.
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or