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Strategic partnering in the corporate world is a complex, transformational and highly attractive business approach, truly profitable, sustainable and genuinely a wealth generator for the society. From a professional career perspective, we are going to take you through the right profile for a strategic partnering leader role, how it looks & feels performing such a role and what does it mean in terms of career progression.
To be sustainably attractive both for shareholders and job holders, strategic partnering in terms of organizational context needs to be positioned as a strategic, differentiating unit, placed to deliver cross industry value, in the techno structure side of the organization and never on the support side.
A strategic partnering professional need to be at entry point already a highly experienced and successful leader in Sales & Marketing, with an intense customer facing exposure, highly developed strategic thinking and very strong in developing and maintaining long term relationships. These individuals will leverage on a solid record of accomplishment on negotiations at senior level and practice in complex international organizations, showing as well a deep sense of value generation in customer offers and commitment on delivery. Although these roles are strategic sales roles, they do require a previous diverse operational experience. It is necessary to combine great visioning, a profound sense of reality, a broad business understanding and a real knowledge of what it takes to go from identifying the opportunity, through product/service development phase and finally reach excellence in delivery and profit generation.
On the personal profile dimension, he or she must be a high energy individual with an authentic passion for the business, with a deep sense of ownership and leading primarily by influence. He/she must have a high level of business intuition and ability to manage and take advantage of ambiguity, definitely a self-starter, a great listener and a humble person with self-confidence, resilience and strong commitment to learning and growing.
Leading a strategic partnership
means being fully accountable for the gathering and deployment of the corporation resources to deliver comprehensive and distinctive offer of products, services, solutions to the partner, as well as to exploit synergies with the partner entity. In practical terms, the senior professional leads:
• The strategy and the respective implementation plan.
• The differentiated and compelling multi-stream offer development and placement.
• The relationship management and governance.
• The performance indicators of the results for the partnering companies.
Let us know look and reflect as well, on the complexity angle of these roles, which arises mainly from the following sources:
• Launching today the mass production of tomorrow inherently brings the need to deal across businesses/functions, to place/receive a differentiated integrated offer consistently at the highest standards, in an environment normally focused on mass execution. Where we see opportunities others will probably, initially, see difficulties and limitations.
• Needing to continuously stretch the corporate boundaries to get industry first offers out is a fantastic chance to lead from the front row but we can realize what it takes in terms of creating the business cases and pulling resources out from day to day operation for a joint, new and successful outcome.
• Thirdly, we should be aware that the direct structure available to lead a partnership is normally minimum, as it is expected to use the rest of the corporate structure to deliver results.
The inherent complexity of strategic partnering, requires and effectively develops a series of rather unique leadership distinctions, such as:
• Visioning and storytelling.
• Demonstration, delivery of sustainable results, towards a great legacy.
• Relationships management along with corporate “political” navigation.
Let us now understand what makes these roles transformational in an individual’s career and in fact, how that quantum leap in people’s career looks like, in a nut shell, what makes strategic partnering roles so incredibly powerful for companies and so attractive for sales & marketing senior executives:
• Given their strategic focus and cross industry dimension, these roles provide fantastic exposure at the highest level in the partnering corporations and industry forums.
• As real front line cross business, multiple stream roles they offer and require to deal with very diverse set of business drivers on a daily basis, which is of course very demanding but certainly highly rewarding. They offer in a role tenure what others could only get close to, after a full and wide lifetime career. It gets you a unique perspective and domain of the company only comparable to a board room experience.
• The thrill in leading innovative offers, stretching the capabilities of the corporations offering and delivering the unimaginable is irresistible for many. A real approach towards transformational leadership.
The strategic partnering roles represent the ultimate experience at the top of customer facing sales & marketing roles pyramid and the final stage of account management roles, boosting to mastery level some critical sales & marketing competencies such as : account strategy & development, differentiated offer development & delivery, relationships management, deal closure and performance delivery.
In order to capture the prize for both individuals and organizations, they need to be committed to a specific, highly rigorous selection process, a very thorough induction process for the new job holder and last but not the least give themselves the necessary time to complete a personal and business cycle.
This is how a strategic partnering professional will leave a widely recognized legacy for the corporations and will get a sustainable learning and experience of unique value to succeed at the following great role of a fantastic career progression.
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