Successful Strategic Alliances: How to Prepare for an Alliance

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Successful Strategic Alliances: How to prepare for an alliance Andrew Brown and Phil Hogg, Special to Financial Post | May 16, 2012 4:42 PM In this installment, we turn our attention to translating your alliance from a boardroom concept into real world implementation. As the driving force behind an alliance, here are specific actions you need to take to prepare for your alliance’s success: Assign an Alliance Champion. The alliance champion ultimately owns the success of the alliance. As a result, you must choose a champion that understands why the choice was made to establish an alliance for achieving growth as well as the short- and long-term alliance goals. They should have an exceptionally strong leadership brand within your company and have been involved throughout evaluating potential partners and negotiating high-level terms of the alliance. Choosing the right alliance champion is vital to the success of any alliance. According to Howard Grosfield, American Express Canada’s President and CEO, “This person must truly be special — bringing astute business and interpersonal skills. At the same time, every alliance partner must have complete confidence that the champion ‘eats and breathes’ the alliance. In fact, alliances will only work when that champion feels that no alliance is truly successful unless all the allies are achieving their goals.” The alliance champion’s role is to anticipate and address obstacles or threats to the alliance’s success. As a result, the champion establishes and maintains the structure that implements the alliance. Empower Alliance Managers. While the champion provides the direction of, and budgetary support for alliances, the day-to-day management falls to your alliance manager. According to Carl Yankowski, former President and CEO of Sony Electronics, Reebok and Palm, “This manager must have a deep understanding of your company’s culture. Because alliances put unique strains on people, processes and resources, the alliance...
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