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Learning How to Choose the Best Options and Moves When Negotiating the Alliance Management Playing Field

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 14, 2017

Assessing strategic options is at the heart of alliance management practice, especially in the negotiation processes. Game theory is the science of strategic decision-making, helping to streamline areas such as internal alignment meetings, steering committees, and alliance sub-committees. A new game theory workshop debuted front-and-center at the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference “Accelerating Life Science Collaborations: Better Partnering, Better Outcomes” at the Royal Sonesta Boston, Cambridge, Mass. on Sept. 13. “Strategic Decision Making & Negotiations: Learnings from Game Theory and AM Practice,” facilitated by Harm-Jan Borgeld, CSAP, and head of alliance management for Merck KGaA, and Stefanie Schubert, professor of economics at SRH University Heidelberg, guided participants through the playing field of game theory, providing insights on the speed and quality of decision-making practices. I spoke with the facilitators after the workshop about this fascinating topic and the practical applications for game theory.

 Stefanie: Game theory can be applied to any kind of situation. The basic idea of game theory is that you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and figure out what they will do before you make your own decision. It helps you find the optimal decision. It requires that you think about the player—the people who have to make a decision—possible strategies, and assess possible outcomes.

Harm-Jan: Game theory helps you understand how people think. In our workshop, we used game theory to enhance the decision-making, negotiating, and influencing skills of the alliance manager. It also teaches how to prepare for a negotiation and facilitates discussions on out-of-the-box thinking.

Stefanie: Influencing benefits from creativity. There are plenty of uncreative ways to influence, such as signing a contract or delegating. But why not be creative? The workshop uses lots of real-life cases, games, and exercises. For example, we use a simple negotiation game where two participants share a real cake. One player divides the cake; the other accepts or does not accept the division. If it’s a cake, it’s common to split it down the middle. But if it’s money, a company will not do it. Game theory takes the position that everyone loves the cake and wants the biggest piece, and it is strategic to offer only a small piece.  We use this game to discuss how to leverage negotiation power and discuss alternatives for optimal decisions.

Harm-Jan:  The workshop is practical and uses video clips and exercises as teaching tools.  We want participants to be able to use what they learn tomorrow. The cake actually is an analogy for dividing [assets]. It helps you understand how the other person makes decisions and prepares for disagreements. We also talked about how to build trust. There are certain ways to establish trust. One way is to always do what you say: Be predictable, engaged, and treat opponents as equals, and not engage senior management without agreeing beforehand. Most trust is created [and maintained] if not broken.

Stefanie:  When applying game theory, you need to simplify. It’s an analytical framework: If you have to make a decision, the outcome depends on the action of someone else. Central to game theory is the question: What is optimal for me to do if the outcome depends on the other party’s action? And it works in every culture or environment. 

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  alliance managers  decision-making  decision-making practices  engage  Game theory  Harm-Jan Borgeld  influencing skills  Merck KGaA  negotiating  outcomes  SRH University Heidelberg  Stefanie Schubert  strategies 

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Competencies versus Characteristics in Driving Partner Performance

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, March 20, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017

The use of competencies as a hiring tool has evolved into a gold standard for many professions, including alliance management.  But can competencies as a stand-alone tool effectively identify those who will be successful in the role? 
 

The question was front and center at the sessionTraits and Attributes of Successful Alliance Managers” as Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, and Kerri Lampard, CSAP, director of the global services center of excellence in the global partner organization at Cisco Systems, reviewed how and why competencies alone should not be used to hire alliance managers. The session was part of theDriving Partner Performance” offerings at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise,” which took place at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. 
 

“So, how do you locate, develop, and hire alliance managers? Why do some excel and others struggle? What are the traits that help people to succeed?” Lampard asked as she posed a string of key questions at the opening of the session.

 

Lampard’s overall answer? Competencies can be taught, she explained. However, characteristics are more locked in. Companies need to align the candidate with the organization and look at overarching characteristics, she said. “For, example, Big Pharma can be change adverse. There’s a natural trepidation built into the culture due to the length of time it takes between the inception of a project, the roll out, and the cost.”

Andy Eibling focused on traits that help people succeed such as vision - the ability to see the big picture possibilities. “When a person has vision, they have the natural curiosity and desire to learn and balance change, to decide the appropriate time and place to take risk, to pivot and think about where they're going.  Their role is to strategize and then get people to buy in.”

Advocacy is also important, Eibling stated. “It’s important for an alliance manager to be able to see both sides and understand why someone is acting the way they do.  Folks who can step back and fit into someone else's shoes, advocate for them and articulate issues, can take conflict and make it productive. They move the process forward.”

“One of the most important characteristics is the ability to engender trust,” he added. “Employ the Vegas rules. What is said in a conversation stays in the conversation. The ability to engender trust is crucial. People within an organization and partners need to know they can have a candid conversation before it becomes a big issue,” he also noted. “It’s important to understand, as [Henry] Kissinger once said, that ‘Competing pressures tempt one to believe that anissue deferred isa problem avoided; more often, it is acrisis invited.’”

Tags:  alliance manager  alliances  Andy Eibling  Cisco Systems  Competencies  Covance  engender trust  hiring tool  Kerry Lampard  partner performance 

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Unusual Alliance Management Project in The Netherlands Wins ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for Model that Streamlines Government Services

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, March 2, 2017

There was plenty of celebration and even a few surprises at this year’s annual Alliance Excellence Awards that took place at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, Calif. USA. One was the presentation of the Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which recognizes organizations that have instituted practices, tools, and methodologies in support of successful formation and management for a single alliance. The award was given to Loonaangifteketen-UWV-CBS-Belastingdienst for their novel alliance created between three government agencies in The Netherlands: Belastingdienst (Dutch IRA), UWV (Dutch National Social Security Administration), and CBS (Statistics Netherlands). The agencies applied a governance model that emphasized cross-agency collaboration that generates 60 percent of the Dutch government’s revenue in an easy-to-use system for pensions and social security benefits. The alliance lowered costs while increasing convenience to the citizenry with 96 percent accuracy. After the awards ceremony, I spoke with Diantha Croese, key alliance manager at Loonaangifteketen, Menno Aardewyn, business consultant at UWV, and Paul Vincken, alliance manager at Loonaangifteketen, about their experience, roles in the transition, and how they found themselves in a problem that required alliance management skills.

Diantha: The government wanted to lower administrative and implementation costs and improve convenience for citizens, such as making it easier to request information on taxes, benefits, students grants, pensions, and social security.

Menno: Additionally, there were two streams of money. One was for taxes and wages; the other was from social security. They wanted to bring the two streams together so one organization would complete the money stream.

Paul: The politicians requested the change.

Menno: It was forced on us by the government. The main idea was to make it cheaper and less complicated. But then the problems started.  It went completely wrong in the beginning because there was no attention to the alliance. Many people had to leave our organization, and there was no will to collaborate. People in different division didn’t understand each other.

Diantha: It was almost like the different divisions spoke a different language. The systems failed.  No one had the overhead view of where the risks were. Nobody saw the big picture.

Paul: We worked for two years in a big mess, from 2007-08 until 2010.

Diantha: It required problem analysis.

Menno: The analysis was very pure and prudent. The analysis was ordered by the government and made a lot of things clear.

Diantha: The analysis found we needed to do 50 procedures to get it started again.

Diantha: An independent alliance manager then stepped in and told everyone what to do. That helped bring people together, and helped us understand our role, why things weren’t working, and what we could do to get it to work.

Menno: He was an overriding authority.

Paul: He could intervene in the processes of the partner organization. That was his power. He had an extremely powerful start.

Menno: He was one of the solutions to solve the problems after the analysis.  This was normal procedure, but the alliance management tasks started after the first big meeting we had over two days with all of the key players on all the management levels of all the organization. It included the people who had all of the systems knowledge. These 40 people reorganized the thoughts they had. The old classical management instructions that are based on a hierarchical system weren’t working. We started to think completely new again on what we needed to manage with each other, and how we should do it together. So it was collaboration from the beginning.

Diantha: Each organization had someone they reported to, and they were aligned together in relationships they had not been in before.

Menno: We noticed in the analysis there were four dimensions that needed to be addressed to solve the problems: content, procedure (how it should be done), relationship needs, and cultural difference (awareness of the collaborating partners). We evaluated with surveys on how to manage the four dimensions. These diagnostics were really important to mirror what was really happening.

Diantha: We noticed some of the problems we faced couldn’t be solved between us, so we had to find other partners who could help us and create value for each other. We had been so busy with our own process, we finally had time to look around and see what other people were doing.

Paul: So we are evolving into a new ecosystem.

Menno: There are no boundaries anymore working together.

Diantha: They feel like colleagues.

Diantha: We did a lot of trust building. There are no groups anymore.

Paul: We are one.

Menno: It was really worth it also for our personal development. We changed because the organization changed.

Diantha: We have a lot of storytelling now so people can learn from our experiences.

Menno: We wrote a little book about all of our experiences and all the experiences we had with other organizations. The resulting system is transferable to any government. We mention many more alliances than just our own alliance.

Diantha: The model can be used in public or private companies. It’s all about aligning people.

Menno: But not just in knowledge, but the way we behave, the procedures, and how to respect each other.

Diantha: You have to help others to become successful, and that needs to be in the brain of every employee. It’s important that those at the top of the organization who want a collaboration practice what they preach. If that is not in order, then you have a problem. 

Tags:  alliance  alliance manager  Belastingdienst  CBS  collaboration  Diantha Croese  ecosystem  Loonaangifteketen  Management Project  Menno Aardewyn  Netherlands  partner  Paul Vincken  UWV 

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ASAP New England Chapter Holds Well-Attended, Practical Meeting on Alliance Management Skills and Competencies

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017

Neither snowstorm, nor sleet, nor freezing temps can keep Jeffrey Shuman, PhD, CSAP, principal at The Rhythm of Business, from a New England ASAP Chapter meeting. And apparently, it couldn’t keep four other panelists and about 40 attendees from the discussion on “Alliance Management as a ProfessionSkills, Competencies,” at the Charles River Accelerator and Development Lab in Cambridge, Mass., on Jan. 31.  

The panel talked about the basic alliance management foundational skills recognized by recruiters, career paths, adapting to the evolving ecosystem, soft skills that are key to performing the job, and other related topics in a dynamic, one-hour meeting. In addition to Shuman, who moderated the discussion and is also professor of management at Bentley University, the panel members included ASAP’s own President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP; Marc Silber, founder and president of Crossover Consulting Group, a life sciences headhunting and recruiting agency; Mark Coflin, CSAP, head of alliance management, corporate planning & program management, Shire; Michelle Gardner, business development executive, cloud service providers, at IBM, who arranged the practical meeting.

The complexity of multi-industry, multi-partner alliances with a global reach has made alliance management training skills increasingly important. “Not everybody needs to be an alliance manager, but it’s our view that everybody increasingly needs to have some alliance management skills because alliance capability needs to extend to the perimeter, to the edge of the organization,” Shuman says. For example, scientists increasingly are working with other scientists in other organizations on tech solutions or drugs, whereas previously, most of the innovation was done internally. “What we see happening is folks in those areas are coming to their alliance folks and asking for advice,” he explains. “More people are interacting in these collaborations, and they really need some understanding of the skills and toolset.”

“Given that the speed, scale, and scope of partnering has increased, companies can’t afford to build an alliance management group that can manage all of the different parts of their business. When partnering with external entities, many people need a better understanding of the skills and tools.”

Among the topics that surfaced from the discussion were:

  • How to progress to an alliance management role from another area of the company
  •  Areas alliance managers are recruited from
  •  The various career paths and roles alliance managers can move into
  • Ecosystems, multi-party networks, hub-and-spoke models, and two-party relationships
  • The differences between being an alliance manager in biopharma/pharma and high tech

The topics likely will resurface in various sessions at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” held Feb. 28-March 2 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. Some of these topics also appear in a newly released ebook “The Power To Partner Everywhere: Why You Need It, What It Is, How To Build It,” by The Rhythm of Business Principals Jan Twombly, CSAP, Shuman, and Lorin Coles, CSAP, co-founder and CEO of Alliancesphere, LLC. Their two companies joined forces to form the SMART Partnering Alliance.  For a copy of the ebook, go to http://rhythmofbusiness.com/.

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  biopharma  career path  ecosystem  high tech  Innovation  Jeff Shuman  Marc Silber  Mark Coflin  Michelle Gardner  multi-industry  multi-partner alliances  partnering  Partnering Enterprise  pharma  Profit  SMART Partnering Alliance  The Rhythm of Business  tools  training skills 

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Mayoly Spindler’s Stéphane Thiroloix: More on What CEOs Expect from Alliance Management

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Friday, September 9, 2016

Yesterday, Mayoly Spindler’s CEO Stéphane Thiroloix kicked off the opening plenary of the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. His hour-long presentation and Q&A discussion riveted attendees and teed up key themes for the remainder of the three-day event at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, which was attended by more than 150 life sciences and healthcare partnering executives from around the world. A perennial topic of discussion among alliance execs, regardless of industry, has been how to make what alliance executives do top-of-mind in the C-suite—and how to educate and influence senior executives on how better to leverage alliance management to support the company’s strategic goals. Thiroloix’s talk resonated—because he truly “gets” alliance management and how it fits into an organization. 

Thiroloix has pushed to expand the role of alliance management in Mayoly Spindler, which focuses on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics—so he’s a fan of alliance management and argues that it now plays “a central role in what we do in the healthcare industry.” He’s also crystal clear on what he expects from alliance executives—and what he doesn’t want. I talked to several veteran chief alliance officers who described it as perhaps the best presentation they’ve heard at an ASAP conference, and as I’m writing this blog during the closing session of the conference, attendees are still exclaiming the value of this session for them. 

Check out our earlier coverage of his plenary talk as well as my colleague Cynthia B. Hanson’s strikingly thoughtful Q&A blog post with Thiroloix in August. And here are more nuggets of insight Thiroloix offered during his session: 

  • Align with C-suite processes. “Use the C-suite’s governance [process]. If you can fit your into the normal C-suite governance agenda, it’s better. Be part of the monthly meeting, versus scheduling an alliance meeting the C-suite.”
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. “Alliances are complex. The rest of my life is also, so don’t expect me to memorize, remind me again, even if it feels incredibly basic. I will stop you if I don’t need more information.”
  • Be specific and don’t assume knowledge. “Whenever you talk about a partner, be ultra-specific. When [my alliance manger] Fabienne Pioch-Laval talks to me about a partner, I don’t hear the first sentence. I’m thinking about, ‘this is the one with the product coming out 2021.’ You have the full picture, but I don’t. Don’t assume that [senior executives] know the specifics. Keep telling me what, why, what for, and how.” 
  • No surprises. “Your role is to anticipate, to manage changes that come from the outside, and from the partner, which is perceived to be outside the company. But make sure [communicating these changes] doesn’t happen in groups. Make sure executive team members know in advance that this is coming up—working the meeting before it happens. The best way to do that is to get their teams to understand, make their teams look good, make sure they convey to their bosses [the information they need]. Help them help you—the C-suite can create interpersonal goodwill.”
  • Give timely support that builds partner. “There are a couple of companies where I have to make myself visit, but if something goes wrong, I don’t know how much I would want to fix it” because of the poor nature of the relationship. “And there are companies that even if something goes wrong, I still want to work with them. Try to find opportunities for senior executives to be in a positive relationship with each other. Make sure your CEO or head of R&D makes that phone call of congratulations for your partner’s success. Write me that message that I can email onto the partner—so that when there’s a bit of turmoil they’ll do the same,” and have the same goodwill towards your company.
  • Don’t bring the CEO your gripes about BD. “One thing that I really don’t want to do is to sort out issues between business development and alliance management. One of the functions where you can step on toes is business development. But you guys can work it out. I don’t want to be involved—I’m just being honest with you.” 
  • Bring your partnering magic to C-suite executives’ teams. “At the end of the day, it’s a function, it’s a set of technical skills, a 360-degree understanding, but there’s an art, an element of humanity, interpersonal dynamics, an element of human magic. I want to see you spending a lot more time with the teams of the C-suite members, so they are informed by their teams. Collaborating in governance just works better naturally—so this is really the key message.”

Tags:  alliance manager  business development  CEO  chief alliance officers  C-suite  executives  Mayoly Spindler  partner  R&D  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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