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A Lesson From the Whiz Kids: Change and Teams— ‘An Inevitable Combination’

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, July 22, 2019

My father, who recently passed away, worked for Ford Motor Company in its heyday. A 1950  graduate of Harvard Business School and a former Marine in World War II and the Korean War, he started working at  Ford in 1953 and eventually worked under Ford President Robert McNamara, who later became the longest-serving secretary of defense in United States history under Presidents  John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

Ford Motor Company was losing millions in the post-  WWII era, but turned a corner through innovative production and management. Seeking new ways to succeed in a time of rapid change (sound familiar?), the company engaged in a unique partnership with a group of United States Air Force officers. Ford would provide the young men just out of the military with jobs and, in turn, the former officers would revamp the company. Disparagingly dubbed the “Quiz Kids” by fellow employees for their youthful questioning, they renamed themselves the “Whiz Kids.” As a manager in finance, production programming, sales, marketing, personnel, and technical and transportation operations, my father worked under their guidance to help reorganize Ford’s financial framework, redefine corporate culture, and contribute to automotive innovation.

 

After my father’s memorial service, I pored over the books in his library. You can tell a lot about a person from the books he or she reads. Based on the collective mix, he pursued self-education to the end, especially in the areas of business, history, leadership—and the art of fly fishing. The mix included tomes such as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit and Nigel Hamilton’s The Mantle of Command. But what really caught my eye was an unassuming slip of a book: The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High–Performance Organization, by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, Harvard Business School Press, 1993. As I paged through, I found only one sentence in the entire book underlined. In the chapter “Teams and Major Change: An Inevitable Combination,” the final sentence on Page 211 was highlighted: “It is no accident, then, that every single major change effort we know about has depended on teams.”

 

Through landmark business reconstruction and major wars my father had significant life experience leading and participating in successful teams. He must have come away from those experiences with an understanding of how major change is conjoined with well-organized teamwork. At age 93, the concept of digital transformation was a mystery to him, but the strategy necessary for such radical transformation was very familiar: Major change requires visionary leadership, well-orchestrated collaboration, and flexible innovation.

 

History can teach us a lot about successful collaboration. That connection came through at a ASAP BioPharma Conference in a session on “Alliance Management  Learnings from Great Leaders,” led by Harm-Jan Borgeld, head of alliance management at Merck KGaA;  David Thompson, CSAP, chief alliance officer at Eli Lilly and Company; Steven Twait, CSAP, vice president, alliance and integration management at AstraZeneca. The three alliance professionals probed questions about the “Big Three” WWII alliance led by Winston Churchill,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin—and how history’s lessons learned relate to today’s strategic alliances.

 

When designed and executed well, alliances can resolve conflict, innovate solutions, win wars, and rejuvenate flagging companies. Collaboration can even streamline services in the public sector and define the  workplace cultures of successful 21st century companies like Jazz Pharmaceuticals. For my father’s generation and for ours, it still comes down to inspired leaders and engaged executives who grapple with change by fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration— and embrace partners along their journey forward. My dad would recognize this approach as “an inevitable combination.” 

Tags:  Alliances  AstraZeneca  Collaboration  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Harm-Jan Borgeld  Innovation  Jazz Pharmaceuticals  Merck KGaA  Steve Twait 

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Stay Local Partner Global…ASAP New England and Tri-State Chapters Awarded 2019 ASAP Chapter Excellence Awards

Posted By Becky Lockwood, Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Annually, ASAP recognizes some of the best alliances, partnerships, and collaborations orchestrated by member companies during the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony. As part of the program ASAP celebrates the success of the local chapters who bring programs and networking to members while exceeding expectations. As the chapter development committee chair it is always a privilege to acknowledge the chapter leadership teams, some of ASAP’s most involved and committed volunteers. Their passion for the alliance profession is demonstrated by delivering local events and building their communities. This year, two chapters were recognized for their exceptional achievements.

 

The New England Chapter received the Chapter Excellence Award for Best Practices and Tri-State chapter received the Chapter Excellence Award for Programs. Congratulations to the New England and Tri-State volunteers for their hard work to deliver local programs and networking to make the ASAP community strong!

 

For more information about upcoming chapter events visit the calendar and to find a chapter near you visit the chapter page

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Awards  building communities  collaboration  networking  New England  partnerships  programs  Tri-State 

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‘Running on Ice’: Creating a Winning Partnering Team When the Odds Are Against You—Part 2

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“Just getting on the track was a challenge,” Donna Peek, CSAP, vice president, global alliances at Genpact, said during a creative session “Cool RunningsThe Road to Building New Alliance Capability” co-led by her colleague Scott Valkenburgh, CSAP, vice president, global alliances leader. She was further explaining their analogy of their process of building a winning bobsledding team, much as was done for the 1988 Olympics by a Jamaican team (see Part 1 of this blog for background on the movie used to frame for their session).  The analogy was particularly near and dear to Peek’s heart because her grandmother is Jamaican, she said, while modeling her yellow jacket worn for the event. Peek continued to describe Genpact’s challenging experience transitioning into a partnering mindset where they created teams capable of “running on ice.”

“Our organizations are filled with sellers with no partnering experience. We didn’t know how to think about partnering. So we created a  quick and easy checklist to answer the existential question: To partner or not to partner?” explained Peek to rippling laughter throughout the room. The list highlights the following key questions:

  1. Should we consider partnering?
  2. Will partnering increase the likelihood of winning?
  3. Can we team with this partner?
  4. What are my options other than partnering?

We eventually “had in place the owner, experienced coaches,  growing team, strategy. Now we needed uniforms, equipment, etc.,” she further explained. “And you can’t win races without money. That means getting sponsors and establishing partner programs. … In doing that, we work with all the key stakeholders,” she continued, and then talked about areas in need of alignment with the strategy:

  • Marketing
  • Legal
  • Services lines: “We created our Blueprint 2.0 to … understand their strategies and align with our strategies.”
  • Risk/compliance: “We created a vendor governance office at Genpact—not the most ‘partner friendly’ processes.”
  • Sales and the CRM system: “The very first order of business when contemplating partnering, where we looked at fields to tag partners [in our CRM system to] capture data about partnering.” 

Prepping the training track is another important component, added Van Valkenburgh. “The  challenge is to achieving the “perfect slide”—a bobsledding term. When bringing a bobsled onto the track, and getting people to push it, you need to ask: “How do we know the track is running well and consistent?”

Peek and Van Valkenburgh experienced “the antithesis of what every alliance professional experiences,” he observed. “Senior leadership was behind it, but then you get to the other 89,000 people. So you get the funding, support, and visibility, and then you realize there is  concrete underneath [the snow], and someone melted the ice. ... It’s really apparent on the track that that is concrete, not ice,” he joked. “We are a company of entrepreneurs, but a company of entrepreneurs with 90,000 people is a lot of train wrecks. Systems and processes really matter. So how do you combine that track with the entrepreneurial spirit?” he asked. “The last part was, we don’t have a track. If I don’t produce the results, building out the track doesn’t matter. How do we build this track and get the culture behind it?”

What was one of the best tools Genpact used to reconfigure the organization? An alliance maturity model, said Van Valkenburg.  “Most of us have these complex models, these spider webs. What we created was [a simple] six things.

“If you can get the maturity level to advance, the growth potential is huge,” he noted. “This can be difficult for one-on-one partnerships, but multi-tenancy partnerships are even harder. … You have to spend as much internal time with [your organization’s leaders] building a true connection. Once they believe you are going to build a bobsled team, you are in. Your team skillset matters. The involvement of the leadership matters,” he concluded. “The celebration is with the team, not just the alliance partners.”

Stay tuned for more of ASAP Media’s comprehensive coverage at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

Tags:  alliance professionals  alliances  Donna Peek  Genpact  Global Alliance Summit  partner  partnering mindset  partners  Scott Van Valkenburgh  team 

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‘Running on Ice’: Creating a Winning Partnering Team When the Odds Are Against You—Part 1

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Running on ice. That’s how Genpact’s Scott Van Valkenburgh, CSAP, vice president, global alliances leader and Donna Peek, CSAP, global alliances, described their company’s transition to a partnering mindset in their session “Cool RunningsThe Road to Building New Alliance Capability.” The session took place at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Despite the challenges, the transition to partnering has served them well: Genpact pulled in $47 million in business in their first year of partnering. The company brought in 8 partners and plans to add 10 more in 2019. But the process “was like running on ice to build the team,” said Van Valkenburgh during a clever retelling of their experience in a session based on the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings.”

The movie is a fictionalized account of the Jamaican bobsledding team that in real life trained for the 1988 Olympics. It was the first time Jamaica competed in the Olympics, and in a category mismatched for a country that rarely sees snow and has average temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.

So what does the Jamaican bobsledding team have to do with Genpact? For Van Valkenburgh and Peek, the process of transitioning Genpact to partnering took considerable training and a highly strategic approach. “We didn’t have the language …. We had to define what partners were,” he explained to the packed room. It was like: “You’re on a journey, we are funding you, we got you a sled. Now train people who have never run on ice before.”

Building the team was structurally challenging with the need to balance roles, weight, and speed—to name just a few of the considerations. Bobsled racing is performed with either a two- or four-person team. A team of four requires sensitive balancing in the sled at the ends and in the center. “If you have four people sprinting and one person is out of sinc, it doesn’t work,” he explained of the analogy. “You have to have people doing the right things in the right order. How do we get homegrown talent …  working well? And how do you create that culture?” he said, describing some of the problems faced.

“I build culture first and processes and goals second. If you can’t get the culture of your team right, then all the challenges happen,” he added, while also pointing out the importance of being open to the fact that the team you had before doesn’t easily fit into the new partnering structure: “You can’t have people who can’t run,” he observed.

To build a world-class team, you need to  create world-class athletes, he said. “There’s a whole reset mindset involved” just getting on the track. To make that happen, Genpact found, you need to do the following:

  • Create tipping points.
  • Build important things. “If it wasn’t going to get us on the track, it doesn’t matter.”
  • Make moments that matter. “That emotional deposit you give, that’s your bank account.”

Stay tuned for more of ASAP Media’s live, onsite coverage of this session and others from 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. Cynthia B. Hanson is managing editor of ASAP Media and Strategic Alliance publications. 

Tags:  alliances  Donna Peek  Genpact  Global Alliance Summit  partner  partnering mindset  partners  Scott Van Valkenburgh  team 

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The Sharing Model of Alliances: Creating Value through Economies of Scale

Posted By John M. DeWitt, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I arrived in sunny Fort Lauderdale for my first ASAP Global Alliance Summit and dove headfirst into my first session—a three-hour workshop with Dave Luvison, CSAP, PhD, and Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, PhD, on building collaborative business models. Both Dave and Ard-Pieter are academics: Dave is a professor and executive in residence at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland; Ard-Pieter is professor of knowledge networks and innovation at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Ard-Pieter started off the presentation talking about the three models of that he believes form the core of most alliances: sharing, specialization, and allocation models. I’ll focus on the sharing model in this article.

The sharing model creates value through economies of scale, in a horizontal combination between two organizations that share similar resources and capabilities. In other words, they might ordinarily be competitors. The goal of such an alliance is to increase the scale of one or more of the organizations involved, through a predetermined split of resources, costs, and revenue. As a result, the organizations are often thoroughly integrated. Additionally, the value creation potential of the alliance is very easy to predict, given that existing operations are combined.

Ard-Pieter cited the example of the Delta and Air France/KLM alliance. Here, the airlines share customers along North Atlantic routes, an area where they would normally compete for customers. They all sell tickets “color blind”—meaning the actual airline doesn’t matter—and send the customer on the airline that offers the desired flight, regardless of which airline the customer originally approached. This increases the number of destinations available to the customer, obviously making the airline more attractive to said customer.

This type of alliance forces the executives of the organizations involved to not only collaborate among themselves, but to do so regularly and frequently. Such involvement is necessary, again, given that many aspects of each organization are joining forces. Going back to the Delta and Air France/KLM example for a moment, 12 working groups from each company interact every single day, forcing the CEOs to interact regularly too.

About halfway through the session, Ard-Pieter and Dave initiated a breakout session. They asked the attendees to apply what they had learned to any alliances that they may have worked on in the past, i.e., identify which of Ard-Pieter and Dave’s models fit their chosen alliance best. I joined one of the tables to listen to their responses.

One interesting detail I noticed: participants found it very difficult to fit their alliances wholly to one model. Essentially, they would start to mix and match characteristics from each model to best fit their alliance. So while Ard-Pieter and Dave managed to boil alliances down into three basic models, in practice these models are not cut and dried. The two presenters commented that the hybridization of alliance models is not only acceptable, but sometimes encouraged to meet the needs of a specific partnering problem or business strategy.

Stay tuned for more insights from Dave and Ard-Pieter’s session—and read more of the ASAP Media team’s live, on-site coverage of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit on the ASAP Blog and in Strategic Alliance publications. John M. DeWitt is copy editor and staff writer for ASAP Media and an undergraduate at Catawba College majoring in biology. 

Tags:  alliance models  Alliances  allocation  economies of scale  sharing  specialization 

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