How to Use a Strategic Alliance to Get Ahead

Last Updated Jun 20, 2008 6:38 PM EDT

In 1999, Starbucks joined forces with humanitarian agency CARE International and eventually contributed
more than $20 million to programs that provide emergency relief and community
support in developing countries. What did Starbucks get out of the deal? CARE
recognized the company's humanitarian contributions and the move gave
Starbucks good reason to call its brew, the "Coffee that Cares."
Strategic alliances are much more than just a gesture of mutual goodwill –
they have become a necessary tool, whether it's to strengthen social
responsibility credentials, pursue complex R&D projects, or simply grow
in ways that one company can't manage alone. But getting the most out
of an alliance is a more difficult task than it might seem. To help, we've
pulled together this package of articles that illustrate the finer points of
making strategic partnerships work.

The Three Stages of Strategic Alliances


Source: Harvard Knowledgebase

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Not every alliance is created equal. Harvard business
professor James Austin studied five cross-sector alliances and discovered the three
stages of how a partnership evolves. Here are his findings on how companies
like Timberland, Starbucks, and Bayer pursued strategic relationships with
complementary partners.

How Alliances Fit into Corporate Strategy


Source: The Boston Consulting Group

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This guide breaks down the process of forming a smart
partnership, from choosing the right partner and negotiating the deal, to
making sure both parties stay goal-oriented. Turn to the handy 10-point CEO checklist
if you’re too pressed for time to read the entire white paper.

Getting Everyone Together: A Road Map for Action


Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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When two organizations decide to partner up, the focus tends
toward the financial and contractual aspects of the deal. But if an alliance is
going to succeed, authors Jennifer Kemeny and Joel Yanowitz argue that
companies must also focus on the “human factors” –
the ways that each company’s staff will think and interact. In this article, learn how to effectively align
two different cultures and their expectations.

Seven Strategies for Maintaining Good Relations


Source: Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing

href="http://jobfunctions.bnet.com/abstract.aspx?&kw=Strategic+Alliances&docid=104817">

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According to a Vantage Partners study of 130 companies, somewhere
between 55 and 70 percent of business coalitions either fail or don’t
meet their original goals. Why? Alliance managers cite poor working
relationships as the root cause. The founding partners of Vantage share seven tricks
to initiating – and maintaining – a lasting partnership.

Manage and Measure a Partnership’s Success


Source: Penton Media

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Forming the right alliance is the first hurdle. The next
challenge is measuring how much value it’s generating for both
partners. Find the right metrics to make sure your company is getting out what
it’s putting into the partnership.



  • BNET Staff

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