Every year, 50% of CEOs worldwide say that creating new business alliances is a key strategic objective.
And why not? Business alliances enhance and accelerate innovation, are a great source of new talent, skills, and ideas, and are more likely to create market disruption, among many other benefits.
And yet, research shows that well over half of these new alliances fail to create expected value.
Why is that? The root cause is usually a lack of partnering skills on the part of one or both alliance partners.
Partnering skills are not taught in school; there are no accepted certifications in partnering.
In fact, there is only one validated, scientifically proven assessment to measure partnering skills, and you can take it right here. And the good news is that partnering skills can be learned and enhanced by anyone, once there is awareness and a bit of guidance. We typically do that with bespoke training and structured followup, or through one-on-one or small group coaching.
So how does a company build a stronger partnering culture, anyway?
Step #1: Start at the Top.
When a company’s management team can identify strong partnering skills, they can choose the most effective team to lead their alliances. They can enable key alliance team members to measurably improve their partnering skills.
They may recognize changes in leadership style are needed, or that company incentives and measurement metrics may need to be changed. Leaders from the top down must espouse and actively promote the value of partnering, as well as encourage skill development and other resources to facilitate active partnering.
Step #2: Assess and Hone Your Partnering Skills.
Partnering skills can be measured and improved, by anyone, at any stage in their career or life. To do this first requires individual awareness. Everyone has a preferred partnering style, and everyone has partnering strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of your own preferences, and comparing those to others on the team is often an eye-opening exercise. Our partnering skills assessment identifies predictable sources of conflict. Through guided exercises, these conflicts can be minimized and often the sources of the conflicts are turned into team strengths.
Step #3: Engage Your Alliance Partners.
Once a company’s alliance team is partner-enabled, it’s time to utilize the new awareness and skills to more effectively engage your alliance partner team. Part of this is making sure you are choosing the right partners.
This involves making sure you clearly understand what motivates and drives each alliance partner. And part is making sure you can clearly and transparently articulate what motivates and drives your company.
Share with your external partners the partnering skills and processes you have learned. Are their individuals on their team that would benefit from better partnering skills?
Finally, put in place effective partner relationship governance. Make sure open and honest dialogue is encouraged and exchanged frequently. How do we each feel about the partnership and what we’re getting from it?
In today’s environment, companies need to ask themselves if they can really thrive and develop new paradigms all on their own. Partnering with suppliers creates enormous potential competitive advantages, if done well.
Original article reproduced with kind permission of Doris Nagel from Globalocity