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Become Partnering Leaders - Strategic Partnering

Become Partnering Leaders



The case for strategic partnerships seems to have been widely made: they have always been a critical source of business value and are becoming ever more essential in today’s connected economy, as organizations and companies get increasingly inter-dependent and competitive. The practice is simply massive: commonly available statistics refer to an average of 10,000 alliances formed each year worldwide. The IBM 2012 Global CEO study, resulting from interviews with over 1700 CEOs and senior public sector leaders from around the globe places partnerships at the heart of each and every one of their ‘three imperatives essential for outperformance’. Actually, over 70% of them aim to partner more extensively now and in the near future. The media as well as our business and personal lives are filled with partnerships every day.

Against this massive opportunity, strategic partnering today is mainly a ‘hit and miss’ process and studies report that over 70% of business relationships fail over time and less than 10% deliver to or above original expectations. There is considerable consistency in the views of the 1700 interviewed CEOs, senior public sector leaders and others on why strategic partnerships often do not work, or if they start well, why they don’t continue successfully, or remain constrained to one ‘source of value’.

The primary impediment to success is the consistent lack of a comprehensive and disciplined system and set of processes, which are absolutely required to deliver extraordinary mutual value repeatedly and sustainably. Amongst other limitations : failing to develop a clear enterprise partnering strategy intertwined with the broader organization’s priorities; the absence of a true partnering culture, nor the real intent to develop one, with partners remaining self-centered and not taking a long-term view; lacking the development  of the right partnering organization, leadership practices and human capital; failing to make the right partner selection; ill-defining partnering value and ‘performance’ etc.

Our strategic partnering advisory programme is designed to help organisations and people break through these limitations and, by entering the right alliances in the right way, build different, transformational, strategic value opportunities. Our approach is practical, focuses on the WHAT and HOW of strategic partnering and their component aspects. Our offer is modular – see below – and result orientated, meaning that we do not aim to produce reports but coach, steer and support our client-partners to deliver practical co-operation strategies, strong partnering organizations and human capital, the right selection of partners, breakthrough value propositions etc.

And of course, we aim to act as and become a role model partner with our clients!



Our advisory offer starts and finishes with our client-partners’ needs. So we keep simple, focused and to the point, the partnering system has been broken down into 8 main practice modules ranging from the design or review of our clients’ partnering strategy, to supporting the practical development of some of their individual strategic co-operations.

These core modules are as follows and can be tailored or combined as required by the specific situation.

Module 1 – Setting up or strengthening the enterprise partnering strategy

An Audit may begin the process to identify the tailored programme  which would best fit the organization. A detailed plan incorporating some of the following modules as appropriate would then be produced and agreed.

Module 2 – Designing a ‘100 per cent success’ strategic partnership development model fit for the organization

Module 3 – Establishing a winning strategic partnering organization

Module 4 – Developing a world-class strategic partnering human capital

Module 5 – Developing a performance model and measurements for strategic partnerships

Module 6 – Developing an internal culture and enduring engagement to drive strategic partnering success across the organization

Module 7 – Selecting the best strategic partners

Module 8 – Developing a specific strategic partnership:

  • Forming a clear mission, ‘destination’ and plan
  • Developing compelling ‘value propositions’ and ‘offers’
  • Building extraordinary partnerial relationships
  • Navigating towards success  

Each practice module is broken down into key steps, processes, gates and measurements.  They are applied consistently whilst taking full account of the particular context and specific case.

Indeed, each organization is inherently different though with many similar challenges and our experts work through these to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved quickly and effectively.

Success would require commitment at the highest level of the organization and a desire for change as needed. The rewards however can be startling.



Partnerships’ success requires the disciplined application of a partnering system as captured in the eight core modules above.  Cross- border partnerships, which are markedly more complex, require the masterful combination of both strategic partnering and cultural models.

To transform success ratios of cross-culture co-operations, the Strategic Partnering Team has developed the first ever cross-border strategic partnering model. It is made of the following 5 core modules:

  1. TARGETING A CROSS-BORDER PARTNER:  This module is of particular contribution when an organisation – company, investment bank etc. – is considering alternative candidates for partnering from different countries and cultures of origin.

Our experts help evaluate the potential candidates’ partnering fitness in the context of and reflecting the challenges associated with the cultural differences.  They first design how to insert the cultural dimension into the Partnering assessment process.  They then run cross-cultural due-diligence, highlight the areas of fit and gaps for the partnership through the cultural lens.  Consequently, the methodology greatly informs the decision-making.  Finally and in case of a positive outcome, a “Rule Book” is developed, made of practical processes and advices to approach the build of the partnership in deep consideration of the cultural communalities and differences.

  1. AGREEING A CROSS-BORDER PARTNERSHIP:  Once identified, partner prospects need to enter and run all necessary discussions and negotiations to agree the partnership.  And cultural differences can often be the ‘killer’ of the possibility.

Our experts help with planning, guiding and supporting the negotiation and or agreement of a cross- border partnership, merger or acquisition.  We first help design the approach, then support the creation of the partnership objectives and mutual offer.  We help identify and codify the respective hooks/ must haves for each party and articulate key terms for each party in their cultural context.  It is very important to develop internal alignment behind the agreement platform and our experts support this process too.  We often are requested to create day after day convergence of the respective positions and recommend a final aligned platform for partnering agreement, from the position of an independent third party.

  1. DELIVERING A CROSS-BORDER PARTNERSHIP:  Once agreed, a partnership enters the implementation and delivery phase.  Or once in the run, a partnership might need repairing/ optimization/ exit or transformation.  Never more is cultural awareness applied to the partnering core processes as critical as in this phase because it involves many people deployed across the organisation, often deeply ‘formatted’ by their culture.

Our experts guide the building (or repairing/ optimizing/ exiting or transforming) of a specific cross-border partnership, acquisition or merger.  The practice starts with designing the partnering approach.  We then identify and help establishing key enablers such as people, ad-hoc organization and core processes all in the context of what the partner might / will best respond to and play into given their own culture.  We then help clarify the partnership objectives, mission, destination and develop its plan, value proposition, SOVs and offers through each party’s perspective and culture. Our experts frame the navigation, which will again, be deeply influenced by the culture review.  The engagement builds relationship processes including workstreams and our experts support the on going partnership day after day to ensure success.

  1. LEADING ACROSS CULTURES:  Our cultural partnering model transforms the global executive’s impact with his/her/their cross border engagements and leadership.  Our experts first provide case-by-case detailed cultural models between the executive’s own and target countries. With this, we don’t mean basic codes and behaviours but rather the fundamentals of thinking, interacting, acting and setting priorities.

We then apply culture insights to the leader’s practical objectives and activities. In this offer, we provide continuing and on going advisory on real life situations, which is similar to in-situation coaching.  We make sure we turn the cultural advices into an embedded way of working for these situations and activities.  As we have experienced in a number of cases, this may also include advising the leader’s teams.

  1. DEEP CULTURAL INCLUSIVENESS:  Our experts support a multi-national company to be differently able to work as One Cross-Border Team and in truly inclusive partnerships.  And so often, organisations declare true inclusion but find it hard to intuitively, deeply, inherently mean and practice it.

We first start with helping design the cultural inclusiveness approach.  We then help the organization to identify key enablers and objectives.  Our experts run a country due-diligence to articulate its gaps and limitations to reach objectives from the cross- cultural lens. We then define ‘Multinational One Team Navigation’ and help the organization design the processes including workstreams.  We ensure transformational success by supporting day after day running and performance management and by providing continuous advisory on real life situations.  Our model ensures that these cultural advices are steadily embedded in the way the organization works.




A clear system, operating model and practice modules are vital to success. But no real progress, let alone success, could be achieved with partnerships without a very strong expert human factor and grounded judgment.

Our team of senior advisors is mainly composed of highly experienced business leaders. They have held senior leadership positions, either general management or as business or functional head, in high quality global companies and multiple sectors. They have successfully transformed and developed businesses based on co-operations. Together, they have created and grown 100’s among the most successful strategic alliances and breakthrough offers worldwide.

As for cross-border partnerships, our teams are invariably composed of at least one accredited expert of each culture involved.

They are remarkable coaches and challengers, as well as expert practitioners of the ‘Strategic Partnering’ system and modules.

Our senior advisors are currently operating worldwide from their USA, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Turkey or France base.  We are currently expanding our senior advisor base to additional countries.