15 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

There are so many parallels between business partnering and romantic relationships.  “Date before you marry,” “Know who you are and what you need before you look for someone to complete you,” and one of my favorites, “Sometimes, you gotta kiss a few frogs ….”

So I was tickled when I came across Rosabeth Moss Kantor’s article, “15 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances,” which opened with this clever description of the distinction between business partnerships and strategic alliances:

Unlike full-blown mergers, in which two really do become one because one company disappears, alliances and partnerships resemble modern marriages: separate careers, individual checkbooks, sometimes different names, but the need to work out the operational overlap around household and offspring.

She goes on to outline a number of solid, thoughtful hints (15 of them, in fact) to guide business owners who are considering strategic alliances for their companies. Among them are:

  • Be open, but court carefully
  • Know yourself
  • Seek compatibility in values
  • Commit to a first project
  • Keep communicating, especially face-to-face
  • Respect differences
  • Help everyone win

Good advice, both professional and personal.

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