In alliance management, according to a Harvard Business Review article, companies tend to forget that they are working together because of their differences. Rather they must embrace those differences and find a way to leverage and create value from them. The article cites the partnership between Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft as a positive example of how this works. At first, the two companies differed in their approaches to sales which caused friction and misunderstanding. Then alliance executives studied the differences carefully. They held sessions with team members and helped them overcome their preconceived notions which stalled progress. Communication was the key factor, and in time, sales acceleration resulted.
“Create a culture of alliance knowledge sharing” advises an Information Week article. Successful companies share knowledge through “electronic knowledge-management systems, educational seminars, and periodic networking functions with alliance teams.” Training and knowledge will give managers the understanding and grasp of alliance processes, increasing their chance for success.
Problem solving, coping with differences, process management, and building relationships all start with the alliance manager, said Marc Thomas in his lecture entitled “Successful Alliance Management” in May of last year at Daimler Corporate Academy. Many communication skills come into play: adopting a different perspective, willingness to compromise, willingness to learn, clarifying decision processes and roles, establishing reasonable time tables, keeping a long-term view, and keeping information transparent, just to name a few. Good communication is a critical competency for alliance managers.
At 3rd Eagle, we dedicate ourselves to help business accelerate their sales through successful business alliances. To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us.