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Closing the C-Suite's Collaboration Gap

Posted By Contributed by Jan Twombly, CSAP & Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD | The Rhythm of Business, Thursday, January 24, 2019

Earlier this month, we presented and recorded a webinar to expand upon our mini e-book that we wrote together with our partner Alliancesphere, Own Your Transformation: A Five-Point Agenda for Creating Your Organization’s Collaborative Leadership System. The key message of the presentation is to urge alliance professionals to take charge of closing the gap between the happy talk about the importance of partnering and the actual ability of organizations to collaborate and partner well in a digital world.

Yes, this is our soap box and it has been for many years. The difference today is all the data reporting C-Suite executives really do believe partnering is important and a core pillar of their growth and transformation strategies. They also think their organizations collaborate and partner effectively. Their employees disagree. Take a look at some data from a recent Capgemini study.[1]   

We’ve witnessed this gap in our work for years and years. For example, in a recent project assessing the current state of an alliance management practice and charting a course for its future, a senior executive told us how important alliances were to the future of the business. We then interviewed one of his senior people ostensibly responsible for an important partner. He told us he’d had only a one-hour call to familiarize himself with the role of an alliance director. No surprise, he didn’t think this was sufficient to allow him to be successful in the role. This may be an extreme case, but it illustrates the gap that exists between the belief that alliances and partnering are critical for growth and the failure to recognize that a system of collaborative leadership must become part of the organization’s culture and operating norms. It is an Achille’s heel of business transformation.

Here’s another example: A company that is remaking themselves to focus strictly on downstream go-to-market activities has outsourced all upstream research and development capabilities except project management to oversee the outsourced service providers. Outsourcing a capability is not about managing a series of projects. It is engaging with third parties to build collaborative relationships that leverage the resources of each party for mutual benefit—to achieve a synergistic relationship where 1+1>3. In other words, the reason for—the essence of— partnership.  

During the webinar, we discussed our five-point agenda for creating a collaborative leadership system that starts with owning your own transformation. You can’t expect to drive change in your organization without demonstrating how you’re changing. Every alliance professional has something in their job description and potentially in their goals and accountabilities, to “create an environment for collaboration with alliance partners,” or something similar. Specifically executing on this piece of the job has always taken a back seat to immediate revenue generation or ensuring a co-development project happens smoothly. No longer. Today—when partnering everywhere in an organization is the recipe for growth—creating that environment becomes an essential part of the job. The collaborative leadership system—the mechanism through which leadership is exercised—is what enables it.

Closing the gap between the partnering and collaboration capability CEOs think their companies have and what they actually have is essential to the digital business transformation powering growth for legacy companies and a core capability for entrepreneurial ventures. Alliance professionals are typically part of the powerful middle of the organization—the Rosetta Stone of the organization—translating senior leadership directives into operational objectives and understanding from the field and other customer-facing personnel the successes and challenges at an execution level, scaling or adjusting accordingly.  Who other than alliance professionals should be leading the charge to close the gap between what CEOs think about their organization’s ability to collaborate and the reality?

[1] Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, “The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap,” 2018 

Tags:  alliance management  collaboration  collaborative leadership system  digital culture  digital transformation  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  partnering  The Rhythm of Business 

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Five Ways to SCORE Big When Overcoming Obstacles and Conflict in Alliance Relationships (Part Two)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, April 12, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Part One of this blog post covers how Candido Arreche, CA-AM, global director of portfolio & partner management at Xerox Worldwide Alliances, explained Xerox’s SCORE framework for improving alliance relationships in his 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit workshop “Onboarding Your Partner: Understanding How to Design a Partnership that Works.” Xerox adopted the framework to help overcome and make sense of cultural and relationship challenges in alliances, he explained. The template has five important plateaus:

  • Select: (target the right partners)
  • Connect (implement business and personal drivers)
  • Onboarding (create a very structured, easy onboarding process)
  • Revenue (take on and understand the sales)
  • Execute (be on task; take what doesn’t work and make it work)

Part Two of this blog post continues Arreche’s description of how the framework works through implementation.

Most alliance relationships hit a snag. The SCORE tool alerts us when a rough point is coming, Arreche explained. Before Xerox implemented this tool, the company’s partner success rate was a dismal 30 percent. Now it’s over 70 percent, he added. Alliance professionals in large organizations sometimes become enamored with building complex tools. What we really need is something like the SCORE model to focus on the process. It’s simple to use with clear standards. Our tools are typically one-sheeters outlining the steps an alliance manager needs to take and understand what we do every day, he said.

It should be leveraged to everybody working in the alliance. It’s all about continuous improvement with all relationships in the alliance: “SCORE creates a common language that gives alliance partners an easy ways to adapt their course,” he said.

You can ask useful questions with each step of SCORE. Take Select, for example: How do you know how to select the right alliance partner? Then there is Connect, which is probably the most important step. At Xerox, for example, we want our alliance and channel managers asking questions about matching business and personal drivers, Arreche explained. You can ask questions about misaligned objectives—from building a strategy session to building a joint business plan to key performance indicators and metrics. There are two types of drivers in any relationship. Business drivers, which are about the goals for being together, and personal drivers. What are the personal drivers, and how do you understand what’s important to Nathan and what important to me? How do you build trust and make sure the end goals are aligned? Which raises the question of Onboarding. If Nathan is new in the company, what are his drivers? He wants to make this work. He wants to show he has room for promotion and ascending in the company and that his new hire was a good idea. He wants to create brand awareness in his organization. How do you uncover his personal drivers in a fast, easy, simple way to get alignment with both parties? It’s important to set business and personal drivers to get commitment and maximize Revenue. “What’s tough is Execution. How are you going to make it work? What performance measures do we have? What is the timeline for execution?”

When you have SCORE for enhancing communication by designing and asking key questions, you improve relationships, which makes it easier to create and align strategy, he concluded. 

Tags:  alliance relationships  alliances  business driver  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Conflict in Alliance Relationships  connect  Cultural combinations  execute  onboarding  partner management  partners  revenue  SCORE  Select  Xerox Worldwide Alliances 

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Five Ways to SCORE Big When Overcoming Obstacles and Conflict in Alliance Relationships (Part One)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

“Every partnership is bringing two cultures together,” explained Candido Arreche, CA-AM, global director of portfolio & partner management at Xerox Worldwide Alliances. He was reminding the audience at his workshop “Onboarding Your Partner: Understanding How to Design a Partnership that Works” about the challenges associated with cultural mergers. The energized presentation recently took place at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit,  “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

Cultural combinations can be potentially explosive or provide pressure that can act as catalysts for progress and innovation. How you manage them will make the difference in the outcome. Alliances are all about relationships among people, he pointed out, while recalling a trade magazine article that stated that 80 percent of marital relationships are in divorce, separation, or undergoing counseling. In the world of alliances, 50 to 70 percent are in jeopardy. “If we are going to spend time and money to run alliances, we want to make sure they execute,” said the Six Sigma Black Belt.

He then illustrated an emergency landing to drive home his point: US Airways Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III’s historic landing on the Hudson River in 2009. The “miraculous” touchdown took place when both engines failed after a run-in with a flock of Canada geese shortly after takeoff.  Sully’s quick thinking under pressure resulted in a hair-raising yet smoothly executed landing that saved all 155 passengers on board.

“How do we execute a landing on a body of water where all passengers survive, which has never been done before?” Arreche then asked. “What was going on? What was going through the pilot’s mind? And how did he execute on it? He was communicating with the airport control tower while under a lot of pressure trying to do what was best for the passengers.”

Sully made great decisions based on three fundamentals that pilots follow, which are similar to how we build frameworks, he purported.

  • They have to aviate—they need to get from point A to point B and keep the plane in the air.
  • They have to navigate—the pilot needs to know the parameters and where he is going.
  • They have to communicate—they need to know how to work the tools to communicate.

Sometimes when we are under severe pressure in our relationships, we seem to not perform. But we need to keep our lives and the alliance going and navigate through the challenges. We need to figure out how to move quickly and overcome resistance, he said. Several years ago, Xerox adopted a framework called SCORE to help overcome and make sense of what’s happening with these types of challenges, he explained. The template has five important plateaus:

  • Select: (target the right partners)
  • Connect (implement business and personal drivers)
  • Onboarding (create a very structured, easy onboarding process)
  • Revenue (take on and understand the sales)
  • Execute (be on task; take what doesn’t work and make it work)

For an explanation of how SCORE can be used to enhance communication and seamless execution in your alliances, see Part II of this blog post. 

Tags:  alliances  business driver  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Conflict in Alliance Relationships  connect  Cultural combinations  execute  onboarding  partner management  partners  revenue  SCORE  Select  Xerox Worldwide Alliances 

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Morphing Your Partnering Philosophy in a Changing World of Digital Drivers (Part Two)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, March 29, 2018

Key sectors of the economy are struggling to adapt to disruptions from digital technologies, such as the cloud. The change is resulting in new business models and service sector opportunities in areas such as security and supply chains. This article continues our coverage of the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit session “Partnering with Change in a World of Ongoing Disruption.” Presenters Joe Schramm, vice president of strategic alliances at BeyondTrust, and Morgan Wheaton, senior director, global partner alliances & channels at JDA Software, addressed the considerable transformation in company culture that is needed to better enable new partnering models. The first part of the session covered emerging industry paradigms needed to succeed in today’s fast-paced, partnering-oriented ecosystems. These additional insights and excerpts are gleaned from the second half of the session.

Wheaton: JDA had a new CEO come in a year ago, and instead of replacing people he created a team of JDA employees to create a new culture. The culture at JDA is about three key concepts. Results—JDA is obsessed with delivering customer value. Relentlessness—we relentlessly drive new learning and innovation. Teamwork—we candidly and respectfully collaborate. So what kind of cultural change is needed to better enable new partner models? [The first change is] TEAM, which stands for Together Each Achieves More, a gradual change that takes time.

Schramm: Next on the list is [that] executives need to walk the talk: High-level executive alignment is critical.

Wheaton: Celebrate mutual success: Nothing gets more attention than selling a deal. It’s so very important to get the word out when we close a deal.

Schramm: Re-educate and reinforce. This is a big one as we go after new and different partners. We need to educate ourselves on what the win is with a new partner and why to go after them.

Wheaton: Compensation matters. I’m a coin-operated machine. Salespeople do what you pay them to do. Figuring out how to drive the right behavior through compensation is important.

Schramm: Transparent, open communications. Partners are in for the whole ride, and we need to include them.

In terms of the cultural change specific to BeyondTrust, there are lots of items. We emphasize passion—approaching each day with energy and enthusiasm. Teamwork—we work together and act as one. Customer and partner focus—the most important consideration, we are 100 percent committed to meeting the requirements of our customers and partners. Innovation—we work relentlessly to improve our products and processes for the benefit of customers, partners, employees, and the company. Integrity—we are honest and consistent in our actions.

Wheaton: So can alliance leaders design “future proof” alliances that accommodate ongoing disintermediation, otherwise known as cutting out the middleman in connection with a transaction or series of transactions? My crystal ball may not tell me what future technology will be like, but I know we will be involved in partnering. You need to put metrics in place. Sometimes you can’t future proof all alliances, sometimes you need to pull the ripcord and get out. Sometimes the pesky market shifts.

In summary, Schramm and Wheaton agree on implementing these key principles:

  • Listen and survey—be aware and anticipate changes.
  • Build a culture of “partner first.”
  • “Semper Gumby”—always be flexible; be ready to change things on the fly.
  • Execute today, but keep an eye on the future—monitor what’s coming while keeping an eye on the distance.

Tags:  alliance leaders  BeyondTrust  collaborate  collaboration  cultural change  Digital drivers  ecosystem  flexible  future proof  innovation  JDA  JDA Software  Joe Schramm  Morgan Weaton  Morgan Wheaton  partner first  partnering  partners  Semper Gumby  strategic alliances 

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Finalists and Winners Share the Accolades at Upbeat 2018 Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Celebrating hard work, innovation, generous contributions to society, volunteer time, and other accomplishments, ASAP lauded several companies and partnerships at the 2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards on March 26 during the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

“All of our finalists are winners. They really are” through their thoughtful engagement, documentation, and impressive submissions, said Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP. “It’s so difficult to select” a winner from such an outstanding pool of finalists, he then observed.

Referring to the 20th anniversary of ASAP’s beginnings, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, ASAP Advisory Board member and founding principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, provided some history about the first ASAP awards ceremony in 2001 and the evolution of the judging process. An “old-timer” and chair of the Excellence Awards Committee, she joined the judging process in 2003. “Some have been on the committee from the beginning of time, some are new recruits—reading, scoring, and deciding on nominees. They represent different industries,” she explained. What originally started as one lone awards category in 2001 evolved into multiple awards, which were captured at the ceremony by five of nine finalists for their exceptional contributions:

The Alliance Program Excellence Award, presented to organizations instilling the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrate success of those alliances over time, was given to pharmaceutical Amgen for its exceptional biopharma alliance program. Secured by three pillars, the program delineates clear roles and alignment of strategic objectives and value drivers through a partnership; ensures best practice execution on every alliance through an alliance kickoff and playbook; optimizes oversight of Amgen’s alliance portfolio.

The Individual Alliance Excellence Award, presented to a specific alliance for excellence in planning, implementation, and resultseither between two companies or multiple organizationsfor instituting practices, tools, and methodologies in support of successful formation and management, was given to pharmaceutical partners MSD and Julphar for the formation of the DUNES alliance. The alliance serves seven therapeutic areas for six countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a challenging area of the world for business development. “Alliances aren’t business as usual in that part of the world, and MSD-Julphar opened new doors,” commented Watenpaugh when presenting the award.

Two Innovative Best Alliance Practice Awards, presented to a company for individual alliance management tools, functions, methods, or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or discipline of alliance management, were given to pharmaceuticals MedImmune and Shire “for their big-picture view in their portfolio of alliances.” The high-impact tool or process used must show results, such as easing management, saving costs, increasing speed, and/or growing revenue. Medimmune received the award for an alliance information management system and dashboard reporting tools that enable widespread visibility of alliance performance in near-real time, including consolidation of alliance data that provides visibility across the organization. Shire received the award for introducing a new best practice for partner crisis to manage stakeholders through a crisis situation. The system was originally developed to help navigate a merger; it has since been tested and validated for several additional applications.

The Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award is presented to companies that demonstrate a profound, measurable, and positive social impact, with the principal objective social impact, not profit—although profit, especially if used to fund program expansion, is not discouraged. This year’s award was given to Cisco Systems and Dimension Data. The companies banded together for their 25-year celebration of alliance success by kicking off 25 projects focused on creating social good, which resulted in a record year for the partnership.

Not to be forgotten for their exceptional contributions, Leonetti also presented several Chapter Excellence Awards to members who have gone above and beyond in volunteer time organizing quality events within a local geography “because they love what they do.” The New England, French, Midwest (honorable mention), and Research Triangle Park chapters received awards for their use of best practices, development of relationships in the community, strong commitment, exceptional programming, and an array of additional contributions. Leonetti then extended special thanks to Becky Lockwood, CSAP, leader of the ASAP Chapter Presidents Council, for her leadership in organizing and keeping the chapter work effectively and smoothly flowing. 

Tags:  2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  Amgen  biopharma alliance program  Cisco Systems  collaboration  dashboard  Dimension Data  DUNES alliance  Julphar  MedImmune  MSD  partnership  Shire 

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