The term strategic alliance has a different meaning to different people. In a roundtable of alliance participants earlier this year we started off with the question “what do alliances mean for your company?” The attendees had different viewpoints covering the complete spectrum, ranging from marketing alliances, go-to-market alliances, development alliances, and including for one attendee, an alliance consortium. In all cases the alliances were shaped to be stronger together than any one of the companies could be alone.
What is an alliance?
With such a broad understanding of the term alliance I tend to use a quite broad definition to describe what an alliance is. The definition I use most often is:
“An alliance can be any form of collaboration between two or more organizations with the aim to achieve the results that one of the parties cannot (easily) achieve alone.”
This definition contains a couple of essential alliance elements: 1) it is a form of collaboration between two or more organizations and 2) they do something one of them cannot easily achieve alone. This can mean that together the two organizations do it faster, more effective, or even bring skills and knowledge together from completely different angles.
So, why should I care?
In general we can all do things better, more effectively or faster when teaming up with others. This applies equally for large companies as it does for small companies or solo entrepreneurs. Alliances are there in many different shapes or forms and sizes. Large organizations may prefer to follow their processes and like to have their people become certified alliance managers. The smaller companies do not have the bandwidth to have dedicated alliance managers and are less process oriented. Some of them just do alliances based on their gut feel and are lucky. However many have experienced failed alliance attempts due to making mistakes that often can be prevented. When approaching partnering, alliances, teaming up with others taking care of some basic steps will increase your chances for success.
If you are a business manager or entrepreneur who would like to engage in an alliance but don’t know how, you may want to opt to work with a sparring partner in alliances. Someone experienced in the work of alliances who can guide you on the road for the most efficient journey to your alliance. Have a look at this page and schedule that introduction call to challenge me how I can be your sparring partner.