Three On-Demand Presentations to Watch with Your Alliance Management Team

by Mai-Tal Kennedy and Jack Simonds

The 2020 ASAP Global Summit featured many great presentations – and because the conference was virtual, these are all available to registered participants through August 18th. If you haven’t already explored the library of on-demand content, review the catalog and select a few sessions relevant to you and your company, and consider (virtually) getting together with your colleagues for a watch party.

Below we have outlined our recommended three key sessions to watch, including questions to discuss with your colleagues. So, grab your popcorn and let’s get watching!

Enabling Strategic Change – Cultural and Alliance Capability Development
If your organization wants to leverage external innovation to drive growth, you need to become a partner of choice for innovative companies – which isn’t easy. During this session, Bayer’s alliance team shares lessons from their on-going transformation journey. A key takeaway from the presentation resonated strongly with us: alliance success overwhelmingly depends on the mindset, differentiated skills, and unique abilities of alliance-involved staff.

Taken jointly, abilities, skills, and mindset will put your organization on a path to thinking your way into new ways of acting, and acting your way into new ways of thinking – a two-pronged approach to driving the required transformation.

Thinking our way into new ways of acting and acting our way into new ways of thinking

Below are a few questions to consider as you watch:

  • What are some enabling and disabling mindsets you encounter in your daily activities as an Alliance Manager?
  • How might organizational culture enhance or hinder your ability to fulfill your Alliance Management role?

Extra resources: Consider benchmarking your company’s Alliance Management maturity here, and/or reviewing case studies of how other companies have developed enabling mindsets and skills across their enterprise here.

Resilience in Alliance Management: How Amgen-UCB Managed the “Roller-Coaster Ride” of a Long- Standing Alliance
As Amgen and UCB call out in their presentation, a successful Alliance Manager needs to be:

  1. resilient in the face of the challenges that organizational differences create; and
  2. skilled at re-framing potential sources of conflict as sources of opportunity and innovation.

At Vantage, we believe that alliance leadership – not governance – has a critical role to play in enabling this.

Alliance governance v alliance leadership

Successfully managing differences relies, in part, on establishing and maintaining trust. One unique way Amgen and UCB have built and sustained trust is through their Alliance Leadership Team (ALT). The ALT discusses non-operational matters, such as optimizing ways of working, resolving relationships issues, and monitoring overall partnership health – all of which builds trust in the alliance over time, as senior leaders align on and share joint direction down into their teams.

Below are a few questions to consider as you watch:

  • Could any of your alliances benefit from additional alliance leadership? If yes, how?
  • In what ways could your team implement a more “resilient” alliance mindset?

Extra resources: Read Alliance Governance: Too Often Failing the Leadership Test

Big Pharma M&A and Alliance Portfolios
This session, featuring panelists from Pfizer, Takeda, and Amgen, explores best practices for assessing (pre-acquisition) and merging (post-acquisition) alliance portfolios, from the perspective of both the acquired and acquirer. Panelists share a variety of practical tips for ways that Alliance Management can mitigate common integration risks and ensure post-merger continuity. We were particularly struck by two pieces of advice. One, do not try to do everything at once. Instead, triage risks or time sensitive decisions and focus on including cross-functional perspectives to better enable the team to ‘see around corners.’ Two, create briefing packs to get affected internal and partner staff up to speed, including details on the incoming alliance portfolio (e.g., how it will fit into the acquirer’s overall portfolio), and a strategic roadmap and rationale for the merger.

Below are a few questions to consider as you watch:

  • What are the key skills that Alliance Managers can bring to the table to support effective integration?
  • Chris Urban closes the session with the quote “Everyone has a plan until they get punched” – how can you best prepare for the unexpected?

Extra resources: Read Vantage’s thoughts on best practices for post-merger integration here.

Align and Advance

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