According to the Accenture Research Study 2018, the ecosystems could unlock $100 trillion of value for business and wider society over the next ten years.
Last week, WellSpan partnered with Citrix to transform healthcare, and we see this trend among various companies in different verticals. The corporations are coming together to create successful alliances to enter new markets, develop new solutions and stay competitive.
Alliance professionals are the ones who get the ball rolling & manage the multimillion-dollar alliance partnerships.
What sets a successful and top performing alliance professional apart?
We bring you the seven aptitudes and attitudes of highly successful alliance professionals:
Top-performing alliance professionals are independent thinkers, self-motivated & guide their path without supervision.
They are optimistic and willing to take the initiative to launch or develop a new product or an idea. Alliance professionals do not wait around asking for permission or direction to pursue a new solution.
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." - Mark Twain
They reside in the realm of the unknown and are fearless towards action.
2. Excellent Listeners
Listening is the ability to actively listen & interpret information accurately. As a successful alliance professional, you have to listen to the market pulse, customer demands, new technologies, competitors, etc.
Listening is different from hearing; and without the ability to listen effectively, information can be misunderstood and can lead to ineffective solutions for customers.
The top-performing alliance professionals are active listeners.
How do you improve your listening skills?
One of the most useful tools that I have used to improve my listening skill is The Indian Talking Stick Method.
Steven Covey describes the Indian talking stick as one of the most powerful communication tools he has ever used.
The idea behind it is that the person holding the stick gets to make their point, say their peace and continue to do so until they feel heard. The other person, cannot agree or disagree with their point or interrupt them. They can only speak to clarify the speaker's point.
Once the speaker feels they have said everything they needed to tell, they pass the talking stick to the other person giving them the opportunity to speak their mind without interruption.
The top-performing alliance professionals give their customers the opportunity to speak, so they can listen and understand the customer's problem to create a targeted and most effective solution. They also listen to the priorities, roadblocks & roadmaps of marketing, sales, and product teams to charter their paths accordingly.
3. Entrepreneurial Mindset
A new alliance partnership mimics the behavior of startups as both have uncharted paths exploring new markets, a new set of customers and a high failure rate.
When you form a new alliance, you are partnering with the other organization. They have their own priorities and prerogatives.
Top-performing alliance professionals understand and know that the only way to go thru uncharted waters is by being biased towards action and taking calculated risks.
They showcase traits of an entrepreneurial mindset and resourcefulness by doing whatever it takes to bring the key members of various teams behind a shared vision.
4. Social Control
Alliance professionals can be part of marketing, product or sales team, depending on the company structure. To get an alliance project started, they need the help of all three teams.
According to Psychology Today, social control is a skill in social acting. The people who have high social control, are not easily affected by the social situation and can manage a steady, poised and confident behavior.
“Our research has found that individuals who possess a great deal of Social Control, and who are also expressive and outgoing, are more likely to be perceived as potential leaders, and to lead social groups.”
Alliance professionals can blend in with different people from different teams, nurture relations and then influence actions to keep the alliance process going and influence without authority. They are perceived as leaders as they are the change agents who start something new.
5. Conflict Management
Whenever two or more companies form an alliance, there is a higher chance of conflict between GTM strategies, product roadmaps, execution, etc.
The ability to manage and handle conflicts among different teams with power players is a critical skill in the arsenal of an alliance professional.
According to HR Personality, there are five ways to manage conflict:
In a forcing conflict management style, the individual takes a firm stance on their point of view irrespective of the resistance from others.
This style works well when you have to come to a quick resolution, end the long-term conflict and get the ball rolling.
Also known as Win-Win methodology where you work with others to create a solution that meets the needs of everyone.
This style is useful when you need to address the interests of multiple stakeholders collaboratively. There needs to be a high level of trust between all parties for collaborating to work effectively.
Compromising conflict management methodology looks for a mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies the parties involved.
It is incredibly useful when the time is a factor, and both parties need to come to a resolution fast.
In this methodology, you dodge the conflict whenever it comes up. You neither pursue yours or your opponent's solution and withdraw from the situation.
It can be beneficial when you need more time to gather information before you can reinstate your point of view. It is also a low-stress approach, so you can focus on other matters that demand your immediate attention.
In smoothing, you put other’s concerns before yours.
It works best when you feel you might be wrong, underprepared or when the continued conflict would be detrimental to the project.
The best alliance professionals, know how to handle conflicts and use one or multiple conflict management techniques to ensure a successful alliance relationship.
6. Avid Lifelong Learners
Top strategic alliance professionals keep tabs on the new technologies, new research, etc. so that when a customer problem surfaces, they know which “new” and “latest” third party technology can be combined with their product offering to create a new solution for customer.
By being an avid and lifelong learner, they can react at a faster pace to create a new solution for the customers. They attend various conferences, meetups, blogs, magazines, etc. to keep their minds sharp.
7. Team Players
Alliances are not formed in silos; they are created and carried out by teams. For an alliance professional to be successful and productive, they need to be a team player.
There are a multitude of benefits of being a team player, and it:
Blends complementary skills
Provides support network
Improves team morale
Assists in conflict resolution
The top-performing alliance professionals are team players, and they leverage not only their strength but also bring in their team’s strength.
To sum up
A successful alliance professional embodies these habits to maximize their success rate. As you start adopting these habits into your daily routines, you will increase your chances of being a top performing & successful alliance professional within your organization.