Guest Post: Best Summit Ever? 10 Reasons Why
The 2022 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, just concluded last week in Tampa, was the best Summit ever! Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, many of which center around the positive feelings generated in our community of alliance professionals as we were finally able to gather in person once again, share stories, break bread together, and soak up all the learning that our many great ASAP thought leaders dished out.
In addition, it’s clear now that alliances, partnerships, and ecosystems are shifting the landscape of business across the globe—and that bodes well for the future of our profession.
These 10 key insights from the Summit tell the story:
1. Collaborative Shift: Make no mistake, collaboration is becoming the new normal. Senior executives are striving to be more collaborative. Most really aren’t there yet—it’s a process—but transactional, adversarial, and muddled cultures are fast becoming outmoded and getting left in the dust.
2. Road to the C-Suite: Five years ago, very few alliance managers ever thought they’d become members of the C-suite, much less CEOs. This has changed dramatically, as evidenced by the Summit “Fireside Chat” moderated by Brooke Paige, CSAP, digital alliance leader at Novartis, and involving Andy Eibling, CSAP, now president and CEO of GeniPhys, and Krishnan Viswanadhan, president and COO of Be Biopharma. Like so many other alliance professionals, these notable leaders are holistic thinkers, enabling them to see the big picture and spot unforeseen risks. And speaking of leading…
3. Alliance Leadership: It’s no longer good enough to be a great operational manager; spearheading change management efforts and leading project teams is becoming central to alliance success. This requires taking the long view, thinking strategically, and integrating interconnections between internal and external organizational functioning.
4. Equality for Women: When we started ASAP in 1998, women made up a small percentage of our membership. Now we’re finally achieving parity—a great feat that leads to new thinking and opens up more opportunity for growth in both the profession and the range of business models.
5. Diversity as an Engine of Innovation: Few yet realize that great innovation comes from harnessing diversity in a culture of trust. With greater diversity, equity, and inclusion, alliances become engines of innovation and enable mechanisms that provide enormous agility and adaptation.
6. Collaboration Corrals Complexity: High levels of complexity create enormous threats of breaking down at a multitude of interfaces. When these interfaces are adversarial or non-collaborative, more breakdowns occur and they are harder to remedy. Employing alliance best practices substantially reduces the risks.
7. Alliances Are Mainstream: Unlike in years past, this year more alliance professionals reported that they had stronger support and advocacy from their CEOs and C-suite. It’s not total, but definitely stronger than ever as our profession gets better at communicating our real value.
8. Power of Trust: Nearly everyone has acknowledged the critical importance of trust as the foundation of all collaborative enterprises. It’s also a key element in employee retention, because a simple 10 percent increase in trust can lead to a 30 to 40 percent increase in well-being.
9. Value of Integration: Collaboration helps tear down walls and obliterate silos. For years we’ve used the benchmark that good integration creates a 15 percent jump in value. As companies become more networked, that increase is now 30 to 40 percent—a big leap.
10. Ecosystems Are Here to Stay: Alliance professionals are well equipped to understand the rapidly changing dynamics of business ecosystems and harness their value. Summit plenary speaker Jay McBain of Canalys noted that the skilled alliance professionals of today will likely become the desperately needed ecosystem chiefs of tomorrow. However, most of us are still trying to master the value-creation networks within these ecosystems. This will be the next collaborative breakthrough.
The bottom line? Alliances create enormous competitive advantage, reduce risks, generate innovation, and integrate across boundaries. This year’s Summit was proof positive that the collaborative shift is happening, and alliance professionals in all verticals are moving it forward. Let’s keep it going!
Robert Porter Lynch is the founder of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) and the author of several seminal books on alliance best practices, along with other books on collaborative excellence forthcoming soon. He is also the author of “Alliances 4.0: The Fourth Wave of Collaborations” (Strategic Alliance Quarterly Q4 2021).