Like Iron Sharpening Iron: The Great Power of Learning Through Strategic Alliances

strategic alliance LearnTwo brains are better than one.  Of course, as long as the minds reach consensus.  They must share the same goals to build steadfast loyalty and trust. Compatible matures with time and effort. Members of the strategic alliance learn the burdens of one another.

A strong strategic alliance consists of companies sharing knowledge. Furthermore, the resulting effect of mutual learning and process acceleration becomes very powerful.

It is possible for “strategic learning alliances to create value that can’t be created alone,” as Dirk Mueller puts it in his article titled Alliance Coordination, Dysfunctions, and the Protection of Idiosyncratic Knowledge in Strategic Learning Alliances. Value is created when “they (companies) open their interorganizational membrane to gain new skills and competences, generate new products and services, accelerate development speed, and enter into new markets.”

In order for these wonderful things to happen, both parties must address certain fundamental ‘personal’ issues, such as trust, and responsibility. With this comes a decision support team to drive the alliance.  Otherwise, “their idiosyncratic knowledge base may be impaired.”

Alliance Trust

Trust is first of all the biggest issue.  There must be no question of one partner doing a ‘turn and burn’ on the other. Do not go to a competitor behind the others’ back, Open communication especially enriches a strategic alliance.

Beyond an elementary level of trust, steadfast loyalty is critical.  According to Jason Wakeam, writing in the Ivey Business Journal titled The Five Factors of a Strategic Alliance, “Trust allows the parties in a strategic alliance to have the difficult discussions that will transform the alliance over time and give it longevity.”

According to Jason Wakeam, “The real reason that most alliances fail is the constant change in the business environment.”  Ensure longevity with solid trust and flexibility in your alliances. Trust grows as a willingness of both parties to tackle issues straight-on.  Shared learning and engagement consequently occur within the alliance.  The effect will be like iron sharpening iron. With the love, the alliance becomes invincible.

3rd Eagle can make your alliances simple and profitable for you! If you would like more information, please contact us.


George Tyler is Chief Alliance Officer for 3rd Eagle, a boutique consulting team devoted to enhancing strategic alliances to grow your market share.

If you enjoyed this post, read the following whitepapers:


Comments are closed.