Assuming the subject of the question is something you desire, I’m sure most of you answered “yes”. If yes is truly the answer, then why are strategic alliances so hard to create?
Even in cases where individuals or companies are pondering partnerships with non-competitors, they still have a tendency to be very secretive and protective. You would think the opportunity to expand into new areas to increase business would be motivation for letting the guard down (a little at least) – but that’s not always the case.
In my experience there are 4 things that need to be present for a strategic alliance to work well:
1) Trust – without this one, don’t even bother going any further!
2) Equal Burden – whether the burden is money, time or some other resource, there must at least be the perception that the burden is being shared equally. If this perception does not exist, it’s only a matter of time before resentment sets in and the alliance begins to unravel.
3) Equal Gain (or Pain) – How hard are you going to work to make somebody else rich? Each party to the alliance needs to be fairly compensated for the efforts and resources they supply. If you supply most of the money or time only to receive a minor share, I can guarantee you won’t give your best effort (for long). Why should you? You may finish out that one arrangement because of your professional pride and integrity – but you won’t be in any hurry to sign on to another project with that alliance.
4) It Makes Sense for All Members of the Alliance – This is the essence of why you form an alliance in the first place. Maybe you have the time and money, but not the right skill set. Maybe you have the right skill set, but don’t have the client relationship. One thing is certain - without a strategic partner or alliance you won’t be getting any of the business. Whatever the case, form an alliance where everybody wins. After all, it’s better to get part of something, than 100% of nothing!