A Professional Opinion about ‘Strategic Partnering’

Richard Chaplin, Founder & Executive Chairman of Managing Partners’ Forum and Professional Marketing Forum,  wrote about ’Strategic Partnering’ in his 28 July briefing  to over 600 senior executives in the professions worldwide, with the inviting argument that the book might be a fantastic manual for law firm mergers!  With considerable thanks for Richard’s powerful thoughts. 


Mergers – Despite studies showing that over 70% of business relationships fail over time and less than 10% deliver to or above original expectations, the legal sector is currently undergoing a period of consolidation, with new combinations of firms being announced almost daily. In the absence of an extensive body of literature on such mergers, why not tap into distilled wisdom from the related field of strategic partnerships between corporates?  Such partnerships, according to Ian Davis former MD of McKinsey, only work when you care about the interests and outcomes of your partners as much as you do your own:  giving; trusting; being respectful; being committed; being humble; and always wanting to learn.  Luc Bardin’s comprehensive book Strategic Partnering provides an extensive, comprehensive and practical analysis of the methods and techniques required to achieve high rates of success, based on a decade of practical experience at BP and great quotes from 30 global leaders.  Bardin argues that strategic partnerships fail when they are approached as an art rather than a science, driven by a focus on short term goals, and treated as ‘intuition’ rather than a formal process.  How many professional firm mergers pass that tough test?