“Partnering with a purpose”
by: Dave Koester and Greg Werner
Can your company pass the Strategic Partnering Readiness Exam?
In this day and age of corporate downsizing or rightsizing, call it what you will, there is a significant by-product that is being created within all organizations. The corporate “skill set” is being diluted and there are fewer and fewer resources to call upon internally to get the job done. When you couple this situation with the current economic conditions, it only serves to make new business development a more difficult task than ever before.
If this sets the stage for business today in corporate America, what are our options for effective business development and what are we really capable of accomplishing? The well-managed organization will call upon their key employees and management to do “more with less”, but is that the answer? We contend that doing “more with less” and having stretch objectives is only part of the answer; the rest of the answer lies in taking a look in the mirror and conducting a corporate self analysis in terms of goals, objectives, mission, vision and what is realistically possible. This process is not easy and even the best of companies would prefer to look outside of the organization rather than take a hard look at themselves. Whether it’s the competition or comparable industries, it’s always easier to look outside!
As we consider our options today, one that routinely comes up in virtually every senior management meeting is strategic partnering or building a business alliance relationship with a similar company. Our research and experience indicates that there are many informal partnering relationships that exist on a “hand shake”, but the structure of these relationships is usually taken for granted and very seldom understood throughout the entire organization, especially by senior management. We have often found that what many companies consider to be a strategic partnering arrangement simply exists at a middle management level and is only accessed by a few people within the company. One must question the true value of any such relationship and then ask the question; how can we embrace “Partnering with a Purpose” and work this relationship vertically within both organizations?
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