Alliances & Partnerships
As the world grows more complex, and
competition becomes both sophisticated and global, alliance and
partnership thinking is increasingly important to any commercial
organisation that is seeking to grow its market share and influence.
For any organisation with existing partners, success lies in
building a closer alignment between your objectives and theirs.
For any organisation without partners - your future success will
almost certainly depend on how quickly you reconsider your position.
(For more on partnerships, click here).
There are a number of tools on this site to help
you to clarify your intent with regard to your partners, and
to develop shared objectives for the areas where you most want
to focus on working together. Some of them are explained in two
The tools that are shown on the 'Alliances &
Partnerships' panel of the Big Picture are:
SWOT analysis, a mechanism for reviewing the partnership
in terms of its (S)trengths, its (W)eaknesses, the (O)pportunities
that are open to it, and the (T)hreats which are likely to face
it as it moves forward. This simple tool can be a very powerful
mechanism for bringing issues out so that they can be addressed.
Our preferred approach is to split a large piece of flipchart
paper into four (labelling each quadrant as S, W, O or T as per
the symbol on the panel) and then getting the different partners
to place up their views using different colour post-it notes
for each partner. Similarities and differences can then be discussed,
prioritised and worked upon.
Partnership Alignment Grid, like the
SWOT, is a four quarant diagram, where partners place post-it
notes - but in this case they are post-it notes that reflect
the objectives/deliverables that each partner wants of the partnership.
Partner 1 places their post-it notes along the left hand Y axis,
and can only move post-it notes vertically (according the Partner
1's perceived value - Up is high), while Partner 2 places theirs
along the bottom X axis, but can only move post-it notes horizontally
(according to Partner 2's perceived value - Right is high). Each
partner can move any post-it, but only in their direction, and
so post-its can only arrive in the top right quadrant if they
are valued by both partners. Movement is initially silent and
then discussed - thereby refining and gaining agreement on post-its
by discussion and understanding.
Venn Analysis, is similar to the Partnership Alignment
Grid but is used where there are 3 Partners in relationship each
with the other - Acceptance of another partner's objectives (because
you value them) is by moving them across the boundary of your
circle. Further explanation and supporting slides for both the
Partnership Alignment Grid and the Venn Analysis can be downloaded
by clicking here
(185KB PowerPoint File)
The Partnership Planning Workshop is
a structured event which uses tools like those listed above to
develop closer understanding, a shared set of objectives, and
role clarity between two or more partners. It is a tremendously
powerful way of identifying, realising and leveraging the potential
and synergies of the partnership - and of building a strong commitment
from all the parties involved.
Pages 455-470 of Managing
by Design are covered by the two case studies:Making
Alliances Work and Leveraging
Partnerships which are both pdf files of c. 180 - 240 KB.
Chapter 9 of How To Build
A Better Business can be read as a pdf file by clicking here.
Blank templates of this panel can be found in the
Big Picture Storyboard
file - these can be used to capture your own experiences and
progress in this area (by annotating them either in PowerPoint,
or as a printed panel), and then to physically cut and paste
them onto the Big Picture to create your own storyboard of implementing
systematic management in your organisation.
To explore another secion of
the big picture, please click on the relevant area of the image
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