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Overcoming the Curve of Conviction: How to Increase Value by Getting from Negotiation to Collaboration

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Friday, September 11, 2015

“To Collaborate or Not To Collaborate?” That is the question Mike Berglund, CA-AM, alliance director at Eli Lilly and Company, asked the audience at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference held Sept. 9-11 at the Revere Hotel off the Boston Common.  “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating? Increasing Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision Making” was the topic on stage as Berglund prompted the audience to consider three case scenarios that presented alliance management challenges when working with partners.


Decision-making roles are complex, especially in alliances, and become even more complicated when the decision is intricate or embedded, Burglund emphasized. “You as individual have certain attitudes, beliefs, and values that effect how you make decisions. It is a lot easier for me to ask if you will go out and buy a loaf of bread vs. change a specific brand of car or attend a different college. You willingness to change the buying pattern will be different.”


How to get to collaboration in a world of culturally entrenched views, tastes, and opinions is one of the challenges alliance managers face in the decision-making process, he indicated. Its about the Conviction Curvea framework of personal buying perspective: “In the alliance world, where you are in this curve will dictate how likely you are to change. If you are going into a governance meeting, the further to the right [on the Conviction Curve] you are, the more difficult it will be to change that position and the more resources and energy it will take.”


It’s like a sculptor molding a lump of clay, he added. At first, he or she has the ability to mold it into whatever structure desired, but over time, the clay hardens and becomes more difficult to change. “Working across two companies, with their positions embedded in their respective organizationsit’s hard to change. And you will see that exemplified in alliance management,” he warned.


A critical point for alliance managers to consider is the importance of understanding your potential partner and responding appropriately to their behaviors to get to that point of collaboration. Negotiation is all about winning, while collaboration is preferable because its jointly created value that can determine the tone of the relationship, he reminded the audience. Build the alliance from within the alliance and push it outward, he advised. “When you deploy this kind of culture and process, its being organically driven within our organizations.”


After challenging participants to consider three very different case scenarios, he asked in one case: “What were the factors that led this alliance to result in a joint decision?” He then drove home the value of using “company pre-meetings to understand your own convictions and then using that information to design the meeting. Choose the right people for the job, make sure that whatever is going into governance meetings has been jointly agreed upon by the parties, and eliminate the opportunity for walk-ins. You really want to limit that discussion, and push it out of governance meeting,” he advised. “Even more important, sit down and talk about company differences. You don’t have to agree, but you need to agree on how you present your different sides,” he added.


Then evangelize these norms with the working teams. If you have this kind of behavior in teams, collaboration will be the norm, he concluded.


Learn more on this topic in the recently published Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine editorial supplement article “Choose Wisely: Increase Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision-Making,” sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co. and co-authored by Berglund and Lilly’s Chief Alliance Officer David Thompson, CA-AM.

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  alliances  collaboration  conviction curve  Eli Lilly and Company  governance  Mike Berglund  negotiation  partners  pre-meetings 

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When Strange Bedfellows Become Prolific Partners: How a Collaboration Between a Major Company and Nonprofit Resulted in Improved Business and Conservation Performance

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A collaboration between The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy has proven that sometimes strange bedfellows can be prolific partners. The odd pair won the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Orlando, Florida, for creating an environmental protection framework with a methodology for identifying and measuring (or valuing) tangible benefits of ecosystem services to integrate into corporate decision-making processes.


Conceived in 2010, the unusual $10 million alliance between the major company and renowned conservation nonprofit involved significant funding for scientists to design a practical application of ecosystem services valuation in the business context. The result is a viable plan for significant change in corporate practice that can be used as a sustainable model.


 “Bringing together TNC scientists and Dow engineers has generated new ideas that neither company would have come up with on its own,” explains the project manager, Beth Uhlhorn, of the unique partnering value. “More broadly, the structure of the collaboration is also something that can be applied at other companies.”


The partnership is also developing an Ecosystem Services Identification and Inventory tool (ESII, pronounced “easy”) to help companies roughly estimate the business value from nature on and abutting their site, as well as the public value from on-site lands. “As ecosystems degrade, nature is critical to the bottom line,” says Jim South, Dow collaboration lead for The Nature Conservancy, about the unique collaboration. “This collaboration has allowed us to work with one of the world’s largest companies to see how to incorporate nature’s value into business decisions.”


“For decades, The Nature Conservancy has recognized that the private sector has an important role to play in advancing our conservation mission,” he adds about their purpose in the partnership. “Businesses around the globe, such as Dow, can and do have significant impacts on the lands and waters that people and nature rely upon for survival. If we fail to engage the private sector as they seek to become more environmentally sustainable is to miss an opportunity to create substantial conservation gains around the world.”


Dow approached TNC in 2010 as part of its decade-long 2015 Sustainability Goals, which focus on biodiversity and ecosystem services where the “natural” infrastructure is considered alongside traditional counterparts in business operations. Its goals are more than a philanthropic gesture—the company considers it a long-term philosophical shift. More recently, the Dow/TNC collaboration contributed to Dow’s “Valuing Nature” goal as part of its 2025 Sustainability Goals: The company has committed to screen all capital, real estate, and R&D projects for their impact on nature and to identify $1 billion in value (measured by NVP) associated with projects that are good for the company and ecosystems by 2025.


“We realized we were chronically undervaluing critical ecosystem services, and therefore not making the best business decisions possible—particularly where utilizing ecosystem services would provide a cost benefit or other advantage over conventional means,” Uhlhorn says.


For example, before the Dow/TNC partnership, Dow constructed a wetland to treat wastewater at the Dow Seadrift Operations facility in Texas instead of a traditional wastewater treatment plant. The wetlands resulted in a $39 million savings in initial capital investment, as well as more than $200 million of NPV benefit over the traditional solution.


Much of the work in the collaboration has been site-specific research, but with the release of Dow’s Nature Goal, “we hope that other companies will follow Dow’s lead in embedding the consideration of nature in decisions across their company and that we can work with them to help implement similar efforts,” South says. “Since the beginning of the collaboration, we have shared our experiences publicly so other companies, scientists, and stakeholders can test, apply, and benefit from our work.”


For more information on Dow's sustainability collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, see the annual Dow/TNC collaboration reports and joint peer-reviewed papers. 

Tags:  collaboration  conservation  conservation mission  Dow Seadrift Operations  Dow/TNC collaboration reports  ecosystem services  Ecosystem Services Identification and Inventory  environmental protection framework  sustainable model  The Dow Chemical Company  The Nature Conservancy  valuation 

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Collaborations Can Work Together To Find the Holy Grail in Health Care Problems: Dr. Mark Rosenberg Addresses a Rapt Audience at the ASAP Summit on How to Discover the Gold

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The “Holy Grail” in health care is the golden promise of being able to eradicate a disease, pronounced Dr. Mark Rosenberg, president and CEO of The Task Force For Global Heath, based in Decatur, Georgia. As the director of the Task Force’s Center for Global Health Collaboration, he described one effort after another where collaboration served as a key component in successful global health-related achievements during his talk at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, USA. Drawing on his co-authored work Real Collaboration: What Global Health Needs to Succeed” (University of California Press, 2010) and its “Partnership Pathway,” he outlined the necessary steps to developing large-scale, effective global health projects. 

The Task Force’s collaborations are particularly instructive for alliance managers because they involve multiple partners working on massive projects – global and regional agencies, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and other nonprofits. In his talk “Fostering Real Collaboration: Lessons from Solving Global Health Problems,” he covered a range of circumstances where large coalitions tackled major health issues – from smallpox and river blindness to pedestrian accidents. The room was still as he described how his own personal experience with a tragic accident in his neighborhood impacted his career a number of years ago. 

“A young woman runner had just been hit by a car. She had a tremendous head injury, so I started doing CPR,” he explained. “An ambulance came … [but] she died in my hands there on the street – she had two children waiting for her at home. It turned out she was the most famous runner in Atlanta – she had run 17 marathons.” 

Rosenberg sent pictures of the accident scene to a European colleague, who responded, “Your street is designed to kill people.” Rosenberg recounted the conversation with his friend: “There are no speed bumps at intersections. You can’t see those white lines. You also have red lights—red lights kill people. The only collisions that are fatal are high-speed collisions and when the light turns yellow, what do people do? They speed up—and in Atlanta, they speed up when it turns red,” Rosenberg added, cutting the tension of his powerful story. His colleague continued, “That’s what creates fatal crashes. In Sweden, we got rid of all red light intersections and reduced fatalities by 90 percent in road traffic injuries.” 

“More than 1.5 million people are killed on roads every year, but we can reduce crashes to zero,” Rosenberg colleague believes. The goal in Sweden today is to eliminate them altogether, and that required a coalition. They recognized it was a multi-faceted problem involving transportation, road building and construction, education, police, and almost every area of the public sector. So they started by involving Volvo, which declared in a campaign that by 2020, no one will be killed by road crashes. The effort grew to such a degree that the European Union adopted a standard to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2050. 

The experience led to Rosenberg’s involvement in establishing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. He became its first permanent director in 1994 and also worked with Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias to organize a coalition to address road traffic injuries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. 

All coalitions undergo a series of steps to become successful, he pointed out. “The most important part of the journey is how you manage the alliance. Make your meetings productive and manage in a way so that there is trust.” The biggest obstacle to success is the failure to do these five things: Define your goal, define your strategy, clarify your structure, your membership, your management, he concluded. 

Tags:  “Real Collaboration: What Global Health Needs to S  2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  alliance managers  Center for Global Health Collaboration  collaboration  Dr. Mark Rosenberg  high-speed collisions  large coalitions  manage the alliance  The Task Force For Global Heath  Volvo 

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Jeff Cummings: How to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing for Healthy and Dynamic Collaborations

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jeffrey Cummings, CSAP, helped energize the opening day of the 2015 ASAP Global Alliances Summit in Orlando, Fla., USA on March 1 with a workshop on how to jumpstart your creative juices in his workshop, “Creativity—An Essential Ability for Collaboration.” Creativity is hard work, and we need to ask ourselves what limits it, and how can we foster it, he says. So grab your food chart. Four key ingredients the Loyola University associate professor of business management blends in his creative juice bar are as follows. 

Number 1: Perceptual. Peel the banana of creative inspiration. Ask yourself often, how can I improve my creative vision? Become practiced at asking your alliance partners and coworkers: 

  • What do you see when you look at results, reports, projections?
  • What did you hear in the meeting, on the call, at the presentation?
  • What was your first reaction, interpretation?

Number 2: Emotional/Experiential. This is the effervescent orange zest. These essential components anchor our present-day thinking and provide a way to make meaning in new contexts. Stretch yourself to think out of the box. Explore the way you evaluate information, data, and ideas. Recognize, utilize, or limit the effects of emotion. Ask yourself, how can I improve my evaluative skills through emotional and experiential paths?

Number 3: Cognitive. The brainpower berries. How do we think about and seek to solve problems? To infuse creativity into your problem solving, examine issues from a lateral rather than linear perspective, test if null-hypothesis thinking applies, and structure thinking using reverse logic.

Number 4: Interpersonal. The melon medley. How we engage with others to solve problems? What can we do to be more creative in our interactions with others? Use active listening and else questioning: Who else? What else? When else? Where else? Why else? What else? How else? Good interpersonal practices involve the art of careful listening, paying attention, and responding thoughtfully and accurately.

The 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit runs March 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. While it’s not quite like being here, you can follow the summit sessions in our blog posts throughout the week and afterwards—and get your own creative juices flowing from the rich cornucopia of ideas being shared.

Tags:  2015 ASAP Global Alliances Summit  Collaboration  Interpersonal  Jeffrey Cummings  Loyola University 

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Partnering Goes Interplanetary—in the Pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine and onstage at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[Excerpted from the forthcoming Q1 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine]


What I enjoy most about the ASAP community is its raw intellectual rigor. It’s a real-life university on the leading edge of business practice—where the average grade is just 53%, based on success rates. It takes big thinking, by big thinkers—as well as professorial attention to the minutest detail—to succeed in the world of partnering, alliance management, and business collaboration.


Big ideas and the brains behind them converge in the pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine, at ASAP’s chapter and online events, and most powerfully at the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit. As magazine publisher, moderator of many online events for ASAP, and frequent blogger on this site, I’ve gotten a good preview of what our community’s leading thinkers and practitioners will be talking about March 2-5 in Orlando. Two key discussion threads:


1. Strategy, sales, and revenue. Now partnering often gets its full due in “build, buy, or ally?” strategic decisions. But that puts alliance and partnering executives (many who also work in merger integration) on the spot: partnerships must deliver the goods and much more consistently fulfill their strategic intent. Yes, our well-developed alliance management practices and toolkits still matter, say Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, Ph.D., in their January ASAP webinar and forthcoming summit session. But, they argue, our minds, skills, and tools must be leveraged much more strategically to improve our success managing mission-critical alliances, partner portfolios, and ecosystems. And what they say can be done. In one real-life case study about pushing alliance practice to that strategic level, Mission Pharmacal President Terry Herring will talk about restructuring a family-owned pharma company into a partnering—and sales—powerhouse.


Indeed, sales and revenue matter more than ever to alliance executives—and conversely, business development and sales are rapidly morphing into highly collaborative functions that require business skills long since honed by the alliance management profession. In recent ASAP webinars and Strategic Alliance Magazine articles, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, and Dede Haas, CSAP, have honed in on the rapid convergence of practice between alliance and channel sales management—and Haas will join Ann Trampas, CSAP, to share their latest findings during a special 90-minute workshop at the summit.  


2. Entrepreneurial business models and complex collaborations. Multiparty and coopetition alliances, cross-sector partnering, ecosystem management, and other sorts of complex, multiplayer collaborative models come to the fore at this year’s summit. These aren’t just big concepts—we’re now in the thick of actually managing (with increasing sophistication) these highly complex and chaotic types of partnering models. Two keynotes and multiple summit sessions delve deeply into cutting-edge models and how they play out in practice. Talk about big thinking: How about multi-party, multi-sector, coopetition partnerships tackling global health challenges—and government partnering with entrepreneurs to send tourists and asteroid miners into space?


Partnering and alliance management are truly in the thick of the fray in business—and the prominence of our role continues to grow in our companies and organizations. That’s why learning and events in the ASAP community remain so vital and relevant to our daily work. We, the professors and student-practitioners of partnering and alliance management, must keep on our toes—with one eye on the big picture and one focused on each pixel. Or you can bet some really smart millennial or entrepreneur will be stomping our toes and filling our shoes.


About the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Held this year on March 2-5 at Hyatt Regency Orlando, the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit is the world’s largest gathering of alliance, partnering, and business collaboration professionals. For more information or to register for this year’s summit, visit And be sure to visit this blog frequently during and after the Summit for the ASAP Media team’s live blog coverage of many event sessions.

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  collaboration  Dede Haas  Entrepreneurial  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  Norma Watenpaugh  partnering  Strategic Alliance Magazine  Strategy 

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