Rosabeth Moss Kanter explained about the collaborative advantage in her seminal essay ‘The Art Of Alliances’ back in 1994 and in her latest blog piece published today she neatly summarises the three reasons ‘why everything goes better with partners’. Over the past month I’ve been involved in many discussions about the role of partners, how best to develop and manage them – and the role of nurturing the most valuable relationships through a systematic programme.
My mantra, ‘partnerships give you a competitive advantage that is difficult, expensive if not impossible to replicate’ has been well worn. Yet, as colleagues who share my passion for partnership and relationship management have often told me many senior managers still do not ‘get it’. They may get Web 3.0. They may talk digital and data. They may even have the gym bag that says they’ve mastered Lean or Agile. But what they often do not get – is the power and importance of partnerships in true innovation. Moss Kanter provides a succinct reminder: Firstly – if you get to the right partner before your competition does, you gain a competitive advantage that can become a winning habit. Second – your allies emphasise your organisational or brand credibility and can help get you access to things ‘money cannot buy’ (could be customers, but equally could be special content, data, contacts..). Thirdly, Moss Kanter points out how industry partners can collaborate to ‘confront evil’ – to take on technical, political or economic barriers, that they alone could not do. Moss Kanter is one of the great advocates of partnerships, along with leading writers such as Gary Hamel, Tom Peters and Henry Chesbrough. I am biased – because I have seen the power that well targeted, well managed and well maintained marketing partnerships can offer. Some executives, still do not get it that, everything goes better with partners. For the full article by Moss-Kanter in HBR, see Three Reasons Everything Goes Better with Partners. For more information on marketing partnerships visit Benchstone.