Strategic Alliances and New Ways of Working

Strategic alliances and new ways of working go hand-in-hand.

Strategic alliances involve putting together partnerships which are designed to create more value for each organization than each one could generate on its own.  They are strategic because the relationships are more than transactional commercial agreements. They are alliances because they imply long term frameworks, over multiple years, with complex and codified rules of cooperation.

New ways of working concern all the organizational and behavioral aspects of the way we produce goods & services, mostly driven by technology innovations and ubiquitous information.  Our relationship to space and time is being modified.  We are physical and virtual at the same time.  We are always on, 24/7.  We share effortlessly our work products without paper or the need to be sitting next to each other.

It is surprising to me how few executives today actually use the video-cams built into their computers and i-pads and smartphones.  It is cheaper, better quality and infinitely more useful than the telephone.  all_globe_rgb

But virtual meetings, which are by definition ones where the parties are not physically sitting next to each other, are only the tip of the iceberg of new ways of working.  Real estate cost savings alone can make a compelling business case for alliance professionals and consultants working in this field.  But consider corollary themes such as mobility, carbon footprint, global teams, productivity, sustainability, work-life balance (especially for young parents), traffic time, green IT (paperless world), etc.  The new ways of working for the next decade will be very different from the previous ones.

New ways of working become even more exciting when we consider the implications in health care and in education.  For some of us, this is work too!

Creative collaborative solutions, including strategic alliances and other new forms of organizing our work and social groups, can play a critical role in the next decade.  We know everything about every firm and everyone in it.  On-line resumes via a multitude of platforms are the new normal.  We can find individual and corporate partners and do business globally, as well as drive new business into our local markets leveraging these new ways of working.  Member firm organizations are growing rapidly and virtual communities of experts are becoming commonplace.

New ways of working and the technology underlying the dramatic changes in how we communicate, sell and distribute goods & services – especially how we organize ourselves to accomplish this in the most efficient and cost effective manner – is changing the nature of our relations to each other.  Here are a few cultural issues to check you own company practices:

  • Sharing calendars with everyone (professional and work week personal) -degree of openness
  • Giving up private offices in favor of virtual work spaces – degree of democratization
  • Working from home often and using the latest range of technologies – degree of trust
  • Working odd hours and trusting round the world collaboration – degree of global mindset
  • Participating in virtual work communities – degree of internationalization
  • Having colleagues and business friends from different cultures – degree of tolerance

Beyond the cultural and social aspects, the future of work is being transformed by energy and real estate prices.  Productivity requirements, led by easy-to-use, inexpensive technology, is also a key driver.  Strategic alliances and new ways of working are already here and will grow more prevalent in the coming decade.  The next generation of information workers will look back at the old ways of working with a curious smile.

Flexible working methods and total mobility are already being used by younger workers and executives around the world.  New ways of working coupled with new strategic alliances in a networked global econ0omy are changing us in ways we have not yet imagined in one short generation.



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