The coming together of two distinct organizations isn’t merely difficult–it’s nearly impossible. The statistics are overwhelming: a recent global survey conducted by KMPG found that 83% of mergers fail. But yours doesn’t have to. How do you overcome these odds and create a winning partnership?
First, you need to decide if a partnership will be beneficial for you and your organization. If you’re looking to connect with new markets or develop new capabilities, then partnering is a good idea. By capitalizing on each other’s capabilities, reputations, and access to customers, partners extend their reach and can offer greater value to the market. There are some circumstances when it simply makes more sense to work on your own. If you want to permanently differentiate yourself from your competitors or create long-term barriers for your competitors, then partnering is not a good idea.
Partnering can help lead you to any of these desired outcomes:
- Access to new markets
- Reduced time to market
- Development of new capabilities
- Overcoming resource barriers
- Reducing risk
Now that you’ve diagnosed your reason for partnering, it’s time to get to know your potential ally. Gather the facts and analyze key information about your prospective collaborator by asking these questions:
- What products do they sell? What are their target markets?
- Who are their key competitors? Who are their other partners?
- What are their unique competencies?
- What is their culture like? What are their strategic aspirations?
- How well do we fit together?
Partnering works best when the parties involved have complementary needs. These might include customers or products that the other partner doesn’t have. Partners must recognize and appreciate the advantages that each party brings to the alliance.
Staying focused on mutual benefits is the key to making a partnership work. As distinct firms, you will not share all the strategic objectives of your partner, and it would be dangerous to assume that your joint strategy is the same as your individual strategies. Remember that what unites you is the end product and the promise of mutual gain.
The best partnerships produce something new that could not be produced by any one partner individually. Effective partners work actively to maintain a good rapport. Rapport can’t be bought; it comes through working together and establishing trust. Communication is everything on the way to synergy. It’s the skill that will help you defy the statistics and become a success story.