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Riding the Waves with David and Goliath: How a Venerable Big Pharma and a Plucky Little Biotech Sailed Through Storms to the End of the Rainbow

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Monday, October 5, 2020

The ASAP biopharma community is no stranger to big pharma–biotech alliances and David-Goliath partnerships. In general, the story usually centers around an entity with an intriguing molecule accompanied by promising science looking for a partner with deep expertise—and pockets—to help develop the therapeutic candidate into a viable alternative for doctors to prescribe.

Little Biotech Grows Up

But what happens if that ambitious young company eventually wants more? Does its larger ally accommodate its growth and evolution, or is it a sign that the two partners have grown apart? The answer depends on the collaboration—as the old axiom that has been bandied about in ASAP circles seemingly forever goes, “If you’ve seen one alliance, then you’ve seen one alliance.”

On demand now to attendees of the 2020 ASAP BioPharma Conference is the story of one David-Goliath collaboration that successfully navigated—and adjusted to—the little sibling growing up. The session “The Evolution Highs and Lows of a Biotech and Pharma Alliance” shares how the venerable 352-year-old Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and 13-year-old F-star Therapeutics first started working together in 2011 to explore the latter’s ability to make antibodies and ultimately evolved their collaboration into a complex M&A licensing arrangement in part due to F-star’s transformation from an R&D–focused company to one with bets on a wholly owned portfolio.

Senior Leaders Are a Couple of Blocks Short of Reaching Alliance Heights 

Margarita Wucherer-Plietker, CA-AM, director of alliance management at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, began the story by listing six building blocks of alliances as defined by McKinsey:

  1. Strategy – Alignment of partnership objectives
  2. Culture and communication – Open and trust-based communication among all parties
  3. Operations – The establishment of a new operating model and performance metrics
  4. Governance/decision making – Adherence to key decision processes, and metrics for speed of decision making, stage gates, and timelines
  5. Economics – Defining how much value will be created by the partnership
  6. Adaptability – Proactive planning of how to tend to the relationship over time in the wake of industry and organizational shifts

She said that, according to McKinsey, executives tended to be aware of the importance of strategy, governance, and decision-making processes—parts of the organizational machine that C-suite executives are steeped in regularly—to driving alliance success. However, they also had a proclivity to undervalue intangible factors like culture and communication, as well as adaptability. Guess which of these cornerstones proved to be more valuable to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and F-star? (Spoiler alert: senior leaders have it all wrong!)

Data-Driven Mindset Fuels Alliance Growth 

When Sarah Batey, PhD, vice president of project and portfolio management at F-star Therapeutics, started at F-star in 2011, the collaboration was in its infancy with small teams of scientists working with a standard licensing agreement. The parties gelled quickly, finding that they were able to communicate openly and deliver consistently “against well-thought-out, achievable-but-still-demanding work plans.” The companies also found that they were simpatico in that each applied a “similar science and data-driven mindset” to their work, according to Batey.

The trust built over time ended up being a key factor down the road when the collaboration expanded in 2017 to include multiple assets, including the clinical candidate FS118. The collaboration expanded again in 2019 when F-star retained FS118, while Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, exercised the option for one discovery-stage program and retained the option for a second one. In 2020, the partnership would evolve again in the face of COVID-19 (more on that later) as Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, exercised another option on an immune-oncology collaboration and the companies added two more preclinical discovery programs. 

Even today, “the collaboration still thrives based on the joint data-driven decision making,” said Batey, who added that the team members rarely consult the contract to resolve a situation, an example of their ability to smooth out differences.  

Jiffy Lube: Seamless Execution of Governance Greases Well-Oiled Machine

How did these two organizations manage this growth? They devised a traditional model, with a Joint Steering Committee (JSC) overseeing Joint Project Teams (JPTs) for preclinical and clinical assets. It would turn out that nothing more intricate was needed because all stakeholders put in the necessary work to make the governance mechanisms function like a well-oiled machine. The senior leaders from both companies who sat on the JSC were well versed on the alliance’s mission and value propositions, and they made themselves readily available for critical discussions. The JPTs were made up of passionate scientists who deftly organized communications and project workflows. They would prepare detailed presentations at appropriate junctures for JSC meetings in order to thoroughly brief the leadership team ahead of moments when critical decisions needed to be made. (This seamless flow of communication between the JPTs and JSC stands in stark contrast to an alliance presented in another BioPharma Conference session that initially struggled to manage what information got delivered to its top committee.)

That isn’t to say that they didn’t have to make adjustments. The smaller F-star wasn’t accustomed to working with larger bureaucratic structures, so the companies agreed to prioritize stage-gate decision-making moments and make sure that alignment was achieved on important details.

On an operational level, alliance managers served as a “central point,” to whom project managers and leads would reach out whenever there was a question about budget, messaging, timelines, or another key element of the alliance, according to Wucherer-Plietker. Alliance managers proved to be effective gatekeepers, as they were able to efficiently facilitate engagement with business development, legal, IP, and other functions whenever they needed to be consulted.

“The key learning here is that a clearly defined touchpoint—a presence in the teams—between all parties and the central touchpoint, alliance management, was very helpful for this alliance to bring projects forward,” said Wucherer-Plietker, who pointed out that the importance of this communication flow contradicted senior management’s underestimation of this building block, as detailed in McKinsey’s findings.  

Stormy Weather and a Sea Change

This streamlined operation helped the collaboration sail through what Batey called “stormy waters” over the last several years.

“Even best laid plans can’t necessarily predict every future eventuality,” she reminded viewers.

The alliance has endured waves created by the departure of key personnel, including champions of the collaboration, and F-star’s evolution from a platform company into an organization with a proprietary pipeline. When F-star was making its move, it approached its partner about obtaining increased development and commercial rights for FS118.

“Ultimately, a change in pipeline prioritization resulted in the program fully reverting back to F-star, while Merck took the rights to an alternative program,” recounted Batey. The sides were able to negotiate a mutually valuable agreement for both sides—Batey called it “the rainbow at the end of the storm.”

The alliance also experienced external turbulence, or “at-sea waves,” said Batey, continuing with the oceanic theme. Like most biopharma collaborations, it confronted changes in the competitive landscape and scientific challenges related to target validation. However, in the presentation Batey spoke mostly about the surfing competition–sized wave disrupting everyone’s sea cruise: COVID-19. The pandemic allowed the parties to take a step back and evaluate the strategy and objectives pf the partnership, as well as what was best for patients. This is when Merck took the early option on the immune-oncology collaboration and added two more.

“In both cases, we really felt that those storm waves were a key trigger to critically review the collaboration and ultimately, in the end, bask in the rainbows. This was due to the strong relationship and trust that we had built. The strong boat was able to face the waves,” said Batey.

Wucherer-Plietker boiled down how the two organizations were able to find opportunities in times of crisis to four steps:

  1. Both parties acknowledged and appreciated that changes in the landscape could potentially cause a divergence in the parties’ interests and viewpoints.
  2. They maintained open communication on common goals and diverging interests as they related to strategic and pipeline changes.
  3. They developed a joint view and aligned objectives vis-à-vis the divergence in their respective priorities that resulted from the crisis situation.
  4. This allowed the allies to put initiatives in place that would help exploit whatever points of value remained in the collaboration.

Communication, Adaptability Turn Crises into Opportunities

To conclude the panel, Wucherer-Plietker preceded a list of key takeaways with the observation that “these building blocks, communication and adaptability, should never be underestimated.” She began the list with the assertion that an alliance is unsustainable without alignment around “high-profile alliance goals.” Wucherer-Plietker added that “these goals can be built and elevated over time.” The second key to success: enthusiastic teams who collaborate closely and communicate openly, not only when times are good but also when tough conversations are necessary. Next, trust, as always, is essential in an alliance. Wucherer-Plietker listed three ways to build it in the pharma context: 1) reliably deliver targets, 2) be transparent and define communications protocols at all levels, and 3) expect and appreciate change to the business and scientific environment over time. Finally, she urged viewers to view change as “an opportunity, not a crisis,” as they represent “inflection points” that could lead to new or reconfigured deals that work better for everyone.

More ASAP BioPharma Conference sessions, both prerecorded presentations and keynotes and panels from the livestream portion of the event, are available at the event’s portal, so check them out now for the latest trends and perspectives from biopharma alliance thought leaders.

Tags:  alignment  alliances  Big Pharma  Biotech  collaboration  communication  culture  Darmstadt  F-star Therapeutics  Germany  governance  M&A licensing  Margarita Wucherer-Plietker  McKinsey  Merck KGaA  operations  partners  partnerships  portfolio  R&D  Sarah Batey  Strategy  therapeutic 

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“A Commonality of Spirit”: How a Cancer Center Partners to Help More Patients

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Monday, June 8, 2020

At ASAP we’re used to talking about all kinds of partnerships: tech industry, cross-industry, biopharma, multipartner ecosystems, and others of many flavors. But what kinds of partnerships are important to a hospital—specifically, a leading cancer center?

That will be the subject of a June 23 keynote presentation at ASAP’s virtual Global Alliance Summit, “A Cancer Center’s Experience Developing Clinical Partnerships and Alliances: Opportunities and Cautions,” to be given by Dr. Louis B. Harrison, MD, FASTRO, vice president, chief partnership officer, and chair of the radiation oncology department at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

“Everyone Wins”

 Speaking with me recently via Zoom—a conversation briefly interrupted because he had to go check on a patient—Dr. Harrison indicated that the partnerships the Moffitt Cancer Center is engaged in, and that he’ll be speaking about later this month, tend to fall into two categories: clinical care and clinical research. As an example of the former, he mentioned a partnership that Moffitt runs to deliver radiation oncology services at one or more hospitals within a 20-hospital system.

“They did not have radiation oncology expertise, although they did have other key elements to their cancer program, so we develop a partnership with them, and in the context of that partnership, we send faculty there, and treat patients there, and work with them to build a program, and do that together with that hospital,” he explained. “Another partnership relates to bone marrow transplants—that partner did not have a successful transplant program, so we sent a key clinical leader there, added additional faculty, and incorporated key members of their existing faculty, who all collaborate with the faculty at our main center in Tampa. But the key is that we treat patients there. Everyone wins—especially the patients, who are now able to receive state-of-the-art care closer to home.”

Some partnerships involve both treatment of patients and running clinical trials, he said. “Another partnership I’ll talk about [at the Summit] is a large health system where we’re going to open up a clinical trial unit and develop an outpatient cancer center, and do any number of other things in the clinical and research realm—things that they could have done by themselves, but which they felt would be stronger by doing it with us. The synergies here are basically that these hospitals or health systems have special needs in cancer—and those needs are better fulfilled when they partner with a place like Moffitt. At the same time, Moffitt gets to extend our footprint into these other hospitals and health systems. So we grow together: they get services and expertise that they don’t have but they need, and patients in those communities benefit because they get the Moffitt level of care without traveling to Tampa. Everybody wins.”

Definitely a win-win—for the smaller community hospitals that don’t have the types of specialists a major-league cancer center features, but also for Moffitt itself, Dr. Harrison said.

“Not only don’t they have [those services and expertise], but it would be hard for them to develop expertise at that level,” he explained. “A community hospital is just not going to develop that breadth and depth—it would not be worth their while, just in the context of their entire mission. They can’t possibly go that deep into the basic science and biology of cancer, at a molecular level—they don’t see enough cancer patients, and they don’t have the infrastructure to do the kinds of things that an NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center can do. At the same time, there’s no way for us to have our own network of hospitals in Florida. But if our partners have the system of hospitals and we have depth of expertise, that makes for a perfect  combination. [They get] specialists, and access to clinical trials, special drugs, new therapeutics, molecular diagnostics, expert pathology, things like that.”

In addition to its mission of treating cancer patients, Moffitt is also involved in various clinical trials at a number of levels, and some of these necessitate partnerships as well. “Sometimes we develop trials that are our own trials, and sometimes we join cooperative group trials, and sometimes we join pharmaceutical trials, so it’s all of the above,” Dr. Harrison explained. “The more patients we can enroll on trials, the more we can learn and the more progress we can make in helping patients.”

Two Day Jobs at Once

He further noted that his role as chief partnership officer is actually in addition to his “day job,” which is heading up the Moffitt’s department of radiation oncology. “I’m the chair of radiation oncology, I’m a doctor, so this partnership role is not my main job, but it’s part of my job,” he said. “But we’ve developed a fairly robust team, so I have a leadership role on the clinical side, I have a partner, another person, a vice president who is the business lead, and [we] work closely together. Then we have a series of financial analysts and managers and partnership administrators and physicians who take the lead for various projects. We liaise with scientists at some of our partnership hospitals. So if you think about it, there’s a fairly broad and wide infrastructure that supports this, and it all does report up through our senior partnership leadership team.”

As to any challenges or obstacles that arise in these ongoing partnerships, Dr. Harrison pointed out the importance of the cultural and strategic fit between partnership institutions. These relationships make all the difference, he said—and as ASAP members know, they need to be handled with care.

“[In] partnerships and alliances, there has to be a commonality of culture, a commonality of spirit,” he said. “These relationships often, maybe more often than not, boil down to the people who are involved and their ability to work together. On the one hand [they] represent their institutions well, and on the other hand [they] find the commonality and the overlap where there can be synergy, where there can be common success. Taking the time and having the patience to truly understand one another’s goals is a crucial factor in the success of any partnership.”

Finding Opportunity in a Time of Greater Need

Asked about the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Harrison acknowledged that there is “absolutely” more need for such partnerships now, given the ways in which the pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of our lives, including healthcare.

“Yes, of course, it changes everything,” he said. “Like many other things, it’s ‘What’s your framework?’ I think it’s an opportunity. Because at the end of the day, COVID-19 has stressed every healthcare system, every business, every enterprise in the country. With that stress, it becomes harder to do things yourself, and more palatable oftentimes to do things with others. Not only to share resources, but also to share risks. I think a common threat, like any other circumstance, should allow good partnerships to thrive and find new ways to work together that will make the threat we all face more surmountable on the one hand, and then of course on the other hand to be able to do things with shared resources that either of the partners would be challenged to do on their own, especially in this resource-challenged environment. So we have approached COVID-19 as an opportunity—as a partnership opportunity.”

For more information on the virtual ASAP Global Alliance Summit and to register, go to https://www.asapsummit.org/

Tags:  Alliances  cancer program  clinical care  Clinical Partnerships  clinical research  COVID-19  culture  Dr. Louis B. Harrison  hospitals  Moffitt Cancer Center  partner  partnership  radiation oncology 

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An Inside Job: Building Alliance Management Culture

Posted By Michael J. Burke , Friday, September 27, 2019

      “We see at the highest levels of business and government what happens when we don’t maintain and preserve alliances.” Such was the plain, blunt statement of Rob Bazemore, president and CEO of Epizyme, Inc., Tuesday’s keynote speaker at the 2019 ASAP BioPharma Conference, going on Sept. 23–25 in Boston. While many biopharma alliance professionals might almost reflexively agree with that statement, it’s still surprising how recent—and how limited—many alliance management practices are—even in biopharma.

       But the thrust of Bazemore’s talk was the burning need for more than simply the establishment of an alliance management function—rather, the title of his keynote address was “Building an Alliance Management Culture, Not an Alliance Management Function.”

       While Bazemore acknowledged that he is not himself an alliance manager, his conviction that an alliance management culture is indispensable comes from both personal and professional experience. Several years ago, Bazemore was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The news was “life-changing,” as he put it. “Cancer is a fight you don’t want to have alone.” He went through chemotherapy and other treatments at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and also benefited from support by family, friends, prayer chains, and even support from strangers. A whole network of alliances, you might say.

       Accordingly, the mission of his company, Epizyme, is “rewriting the treatments for people with cancer,” particularly in terms of alternatives to chemotherapy. Its drug Tazemetostat, an EZH2 inhibitor, is nearing the commercialization stage, and is currently targeted at epithelioid sarcoma and follicular lymphoma.

       Another source of Bazemore’s vital interest in alliance management culture stems from his past experiences at other companies, where sometimes “we didn’t trust alliance managers enough to deal with problems.” This led, for example to regularly scheduled mandatory escalation meetings with senior leadership—“not a best practice,” he confirmed.

       When he took the reins at Epizyme a few years ago, he inherited a “challenging collaboration” and decided to meet with the partner’s alliance manager, rather than its CEO. He found that the contract hadn’t been set up for success so the intended goals couldn’t be achieved. “There’s no magic wand for that,” he admitted.

       As a small company, Epizyme needed to partner, and needed to form new partnerships, so Bazemore knew that they had to change their approach. As part of Vision 2020, the company’s five-year strategic plan launched in 2015, alliance management had to become central to the company, its operations, and its strategic vision.

      To get where it wanted to go, Epizyme decided on the overarching goal of becoming a partner of choice. That was simply on one level a “pragmatic” decision, according to Bazemore, given its need to partner. But it had a poor track record of collaborating in the past and clearly had to approach deals differently—not just focusing on the financial aspects, but working on becoming the company others wanted to partner with.

       Now Bazemore feels that alliance management has become one of the most important functions within Epizyme—though not just a function, but a culture, which has to start with signals and actions from the top. Both senior leadership and organization structure have to encourage, nurture, and support this culture, and it must be done internally. “Alliance management is an inside job,” Bazemore said.

       Alliance managers must be allowed and encouraged to have appropriate and necessary conversations and to challenge both sides, getting the CEO involved as needed. This also means that sometimes they’ll stand up to a partner, and sometimes stand up for a partner—even at the risk of drawing the ire of their senior leadership from time to time, according to Bazemore. Making alliance culture important and central is not just paying lip service to an ideal, either, he said. It has to be real, and not just the theme for this year or a policy dependent on the presence of one alliance manager—who might move on to another company at any time.

      Epizyme is growing, with many new people coming in and alliance management expanding. Moving forward into the next decade will require being selective about which alliances the company enters into—they don’t want to get into alliances that sap the organization’s energy or end up wasting time and not delivering the desired results, Bazemore said. And he emphasized that these alliances will be about “relationships, not just deals.”

      And more important than simply measuring alliance management as a function at the company is figuring out how Epizyme’s “partner of choice imperative” is actually working. So far so good, it seems, but the company’s next five-year plan is already being envisioned: Epizyme 2.0. Whatever shape that takes, it’s sure to build in a leadership-enabled and -supported alliance management culture.

Tags:  alliance alliance management practices  alliance manager  biopharma  culture  Epizyme  partner  partner of choice  Rob Bazemore  strategic vision 

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The Sound of Success

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

In a past issue of Strategic Alliance Monthly, we asked Bruce Cozadd, cofounder and chief executive of Jazz  Pharmaceuticals, Could Music Be the Secret Sauce of Compelling Collaborative Leaders?

 

“This concept of individual excellence, but it’s all about how you play as a group, really resonates to me as a management philosophy,” explained Cozadd, not merely a scientist, but also a classically trained musician who routinely plays all requests on the company piano while surrounded by  singing employees. “It’s a playful, energetic theme that fits perfectly with alliance management,” chimed Ann Kilrain, Jazz’s head of alliance management. “We recognize that while individuals are able to accomplish much as individuals,

we create something much greater together.”

 

The musician-CEO and his CAO continue their remarkable riff on the topic of collaborative leadership, discussing how leaders model their  organization’s values and specifically about how alliance leaders can impact the culture of an organization—change it, grow it, and help it prosper. Talk about resonance. In my observation, the best partnering companies have leaders who display the qualities Bruce Cozadd projects. And the best alliance executives model transparent leadership with partners and bring that same style to their internal leadership and alliance team culture.

 

Cozadd reminds me of my former CEO and the straightforward model I developed when I was his alliance leader.

I call it The Four Cs of Alliance Leadership:

  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Collaboration
  • Compromise

Communication. And I mean all the time. Overcommunication is the name of the game. But remember, as the late Stephen Covey taught, “Seek first to understand.” Every day you need to ask yourself, in your internal leadership role, are you seeking to understand in the way you would with your partner? Then, given that understanding, are you providing the constant, effective communication required to be understood?

 

Culture. My CEO used to tell me, “Don’t lose your soul.” He wasn’t discussing matters of faith, rather, of culture. He defined culture as what made our company great. Culture eats everything—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But it has to be good culture—most of us have struggled uphill to partner when we work in the opposite kind of corporate culture. In a good culture, everyone is respected, not just the boss; everyone, including the boss, is accountable, expected to be open, honest, trustworthy.

 

Collaboration. That’s what we do with partners—but are you demonstrating and practicing a partner mindset within your own organization? Again, not easy. You may be criticized, you may be challenged, you may be asked who do you work for—us or them? But when you break through—when collaborative leadership begins to become part of your culture, supported by your CEO— you’re going to be wildly successful with your partners.

 

Compromise. True leaders model, every day, the ability to compromise without abdicating. Never compromise your goal. Instead, seek greatness, but understand the solution you define together will be the solution that will make you successful. You have to define it together, with your colleague or your partner, which means you have to compromise.

 

Notice that “Command” doesn’t appear in my Four C’s of Alliance Leadership. Any enduring leader knows how to command, but great partnering organizations, and great companies, get great results because people truly invest, not because they’re told what to do. Partners work the same way, as Cozadd recognizes.

 

“When we start discussions with a potential partner,” he explains in this issue, “my comment to our team is, ‘If we’re successful, we’re going to end up working with those people on the other side of the table. Let’s start treating them from the first time we meet them with respect, transparency, honesty. No hide-the-ball, no misrepresentation of our interests. They should come out with a high degree of trust in everyone. It has to be the whole team.’”

 

Call it conducting the collaborative symphony—or, simply, the sound of success. 

Tags:  Alliance Leadership  Bruce Cozadd  Collaboration  Communication  Compromise  Culture  Jazz Pharmaceuticals  Music  Resonance  Strategic Alliances  The Four Cs 

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Update Your Communications File Cabinet with Good Dialogue and Trustworthy Practices

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, August 18, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Is it possible to not communicate? That was a question Minna J. Holopainen of InFlux Communications, LLC, posed to a rapt audience at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise” held in San Diego, California, last March. “You are communicating even if someone calls, and you decide to not pick up the phone. We are all at the same time engaging in communication practices. We swim in streams of communication practices all drawn from a pool of meanings developed over a lifetime,” she explained in her practical session “Cross-Cultural Communication Skills for Building Collaboration in Alliance Partnerships.”

“Think back as far as you can remember. Think of the first chair you sat on,” she coached the audience. “Think of all chairs you’ve seen or heard about? Can your chair file in you mind be like anyone else’s? They can never be exactly the same,” she said. “Now think of a more abstract example: A good friend. For some, a friend is someone who laughs at you but doesn’t bother you. To someone else, a good friend checks in every day.”

Every day we engage in a common practice that updates our files. We reconstruct each time we communicate. According to this model, communication is not merely a transmission of ideas. It is meaning and activity, explained the San Jose State University lecturer.

Holopainen then talked about the importance of maintaining our “trust” file, which is so essential in alliance partnershipsor any partnership, for that matter.  The “trust” file can be added to in positive or negative ways: “We create something. There is an outcome. What happens if things go bad? Whose fault is it? It’s shared. We are all in it together,” she added. “Learning Outcome No. 1: Trust is mainly communication.”

Relationships move into a sphere of harm when you call someone stupid, she emphasized. “You want to move to the sphere of value. How do you move from one sphere to another? In communication, you discover your differences and get challenged.”

Dialogue is also important. Speak in a way that helps others listen. Listen in a way so that others will want to speak, she said. Pay attention. Dialogue has three key components:

  1. Hold your ground. Say what you want.
  2. Be open to the other, not in the way that you can trick someone later, but be open to be changed by the action.
  3. Stay in the tension between 1. and 2.:  Keep a balance between autonomy and collaboration.

She then applied her communication theories to cross-cultural skills. You can remake good cultural communication skills by practicing good communication behaviors. You need to manage both the relationship and the task, she said. 

“Instead of teaching ‘This is how to communicate with this one specific culture,’ it’s more difficult than that. Instead of teaching specific skills for Japanese, we need to teach skills to deal with diversity. Be open to your ear and ask: ‘Am I making this person uncomfortable?’”

Communication is an art. You make it work for you in the way it fits in your relationships, she noted. But be sensitive about when it’s appropriate. Storytelling is a great technique: It carries the listener into the story world … and into a framework that starts making sense, she explained. When you apply it to the situation, you understand it better and can start feeling empathy more easily. “There are also organizational stories. It is a whole system of values packaged,” she concluded. In the art of storytelling, “you can be strategic about how to make good stories that are inclusive.” 

Tags:  Alliance Partnerships  Communication  cross-cultural  culture  InFlux Communications  Minna J. Holopainen  storytelling 

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