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Dancing with the Alliance Stars

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 3/9/2013

The 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit is over, but the impressions it left us with are many—from the Alliance Excellence Awards Dinner to the evening receptions to the breakfast roundtables to the many great speakers and presenters. Thursday, March 7, the last day of the Summit, saw some outstanding presentations, including “What Alliance Pros Can Learn from Dancing with the Stars: How Trust, Alignment, and Some Nimble Footwork Can Help Your Career Performance,” a novel multimedia extravaganza led by Robert Porter Lynch, CEO of The Warren Company and ASAP founding chairman, and Patricia Garcia, formerly associate director at Sanofi and a former competitive ballroom dancer.

Using clips from The King and I, Dancing with the Stars, ice dancing, and pro wrestling, Lynch and Garcia looked at the commonalities between alliances and various forms of dance: the concepts of synergy, synchronicity, and symphony—or as Lynch put it, referring back to those words’ Greek roots, “We’re going to tell you how to ‘syn.’”

It all comes down to alignment: alliance partners, like dance partners, must be in synch. And the creative potential inherent in alliances must be harnessed in some way, yoked to a series of agreed-on “steps” that keep the partners together in rhythm.

“Alliances can be a creative engagement,” Garcia explained. “But how do we access the creativity? Alliances reveal the heart and soul of a company. Dance reveals the heart and soul of civilizations; they’re measured by their art. When you come together with someone else who has their own culture, it gives you an opportunity. You have to have the desire to interact, but also the desire and the will to be acted upon. That is sometimes the tougher side of things, to have your heart and soul be entered by someone else.”

In order for that to happen, there has to be trust. Lynch demonstrated this idea graphically with his Ladder of Trust diagram, with the various trusting behaviors on top and a number of alliance-busting, distrusting behaviors lying “below the belt.” Without trust, on which Lynch has written extensively, the alliance’s foundation will break down, and what could have been a promising collaboration falls victim to “the tornado of distrust,” as Lynch termed it.

The clip from Dancing with the Stars, like the others used, was fascinating, and showed the transformation of the amateur of the pair, a female pro wrestler, from using her “assets” to attack and defend in the wrestling ring, to using her newly acquired abilities to collaborate and get into beautiful alignment with her professional male dancing partner.

This showed, said Garcia, that “depending on how you set the stage, you can drive people up the ladder [of trust] or down, bring out the worst or the best in people, in any human being.”

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