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Strategic Alliances Concept:

An Introduction by Steve DeWaters:

A personal note worth sharing on the definition of Strategic Alliances from Bob Harmon and Steve DeWaters.

Forward by Robert L. Harmon:
The Concept by: Steve DeWaters:

Below please find a written description of Strategic Alliance/Partnering put together by Steve DeWaters. Steve has been a client, candidate and personal friend of mind for many years. He is Principal Consultant for Penumbra Group, Inc. He is one of the best marketing professionals I have ever met and in my opinion wrote the book on Strategic Alliance.

Robert L. Harmon CPC
R L Harmon Group, LLC

Hi Bob:

I think the best way to look at the concept of ‘Strategic Alliance’ is to reference some previous definitions already in use…..

  • An agreement between two or more non-competing organizations to do business together, and make it mutually beneficial to each other.
  • A formal relationship, short of a merger or acquisition, between two companies, formed for the purpose of gaining synergies because in some aspect the two companies complement each other.
  • Collaboration between two or more companies designed to achieve some corporate objective
  • Partnership of multiple corporations to achieve strategically significant Objectives that are mutually beneficial.
  • An ongoing relationship between two businesses in which they combine efforts for a specific purpose.
  • An enterprise in which two or more persons or companies temporarily join forces to undertake a particular project

These simple descriptors are ubiquitous in business today and multiple variations of these become ‘personalized’ to the distinct cultures of the businesses and people involved with any given alliance. Confusion (as I see it) lies in the use of the word ‘strategic’. That word, while sounding important, is vastly simplified, over-used and most certainly ill-used in daily contexts. ‘Strategy’ is not a one-off concept. It is a dynamic, ongoing, and evergreen practice that requires research, planning, assessments, gap analyses, and prescriptions for tactical courses of action. Business managers typically confuse ‘strategy’ with ‘tactics’ and interchange these often. Capt. Richard Marcinko, aka ‘Demo Dickie’, the ‘Rogue Warrior’ and former commander of Navy Seal Team Six, has a saying that I like which cuts through the confusion with zero chance for misinterpretation…he says: “Don’t confuse planning with training, or talking with kicking ass”. Too many in business today use Strategy as an excuse for real action.

For the purpose at hand, and to emphasize the term ‘Alliance’, I will have you reference the definitions of ‘collaboration’….a more accurate term that should give you room to maneuver without misunderstanding the intent:

  • A collaboration exists when key personnel from different institutions have substantive involvement in the development and performance of the scientific aspects of a project and the sponsor chooses to make only one award, thereby requiring the lead institution to issue subcontracts or sub-grants to the other collaborating institutions.
  • Collaboration is the intended result from B2B partnering and supplying. Partners exchange leads, deliver products and services to each others customers, track and fulfill quotas, and conduct joint development. Suppliers ensure the inventory requirements of their buyers are met, materiel returns are minimized and assembly lines don't run dry. Collaboration requires data sharing and business transactions within approved processes and rules, automating data and work flow but highlighting decisions and problem resolution.
  • The process of working jointly between two or more different corporations by sharing information such as the availability of supplies, the inventory of products, their shipment status, forecasts, replenishment schedules, etc.; see also Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Visibility.

‘Collaboration’ provides the definition, the spirit, and the intention of what I believe you are trying to accomplish with the resources that you have surrounded yourself with. It is like the old adage: ‘Two heads (or more) are better than one alone’. Failing the importance of collaboration, another adage (an old Yiddish saying) becomes true: ‘The crowd is a fool’.

‘Hope this helps.

Steve DeWaters
Penumbra Group, Inc.
949.388.6764 (O)


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