Consider this phrase: Alliance Management. On the surface, it sounds like a good idea, right? You want to carefully maintain your alliances. On the other hand, how exactly does one go about this? By the very nature of the word, you do not control – or entirely manage – those with whom you are allied. They work for another company with different management, different goals and different products.
How can you make this work, then? Here’s some key focus points to keep in mind.
- Focus on collaboration. Managing your alliances means maintaining a shared vision while at the same time respecting your differences. Keep your eye on the prize, and stay on top of changing business realities. How can you work together, both now and in the future?
- Set, maintain and (as needed) update a shared action plan. What are the terms of your business alliance? What concrete steps will you take to make sure both you and your allies are getting what they want from this relationship? Are you updating these plans as needed to deal with changing circumstances?
- Keep up your end of the deal – and if you cannot make sure you communicate the changes. A good alliance requires some level of transparency. For example, if you find that you probably will not be able to make good on an agreed deliverable, it is almost always better to let the other party know so they can make any necessary changes. And, if at all possible, don’t be afraid to commit extra resources because you are working for a business partner. Always be thinking long-term. Better to make that extra effort now and claim the long-term rewards of a satisfied partner. Of course, keeping up your end of the deal requires an ongoing awareness of the realities of your day-to-day operation, so you know when and where unexpected problems may occur and have strategies in place to deal with those problems.
- Always be mindful of your alliances. In general, always do your best to put yourselves in the shoes of your allied partners. How would you feel if you were them?
- Consider a third-party solution. As in any relationship, sometimes it pays to have that third-party available for an outside opinion. Especially in business, you should always consider having that external audit in place, a disinterested professional capable of approaching business management decisions (including audit management) with a fresh eye.
For more information on alliance management and how 3rd Eagle can help you develop and maintain beneficial working relationships, contact us today.