The Decision Phase
by Andrew Humphries and Linda McComie, SCCI Ltd
Thursday, July 05, 2012
This is the process for selecting new partners. The company must be clear about its objectives from the outset. These will only be broad statements of intent which will be crystallised and reconciled with the selected partner. It is likely that the potential partners will already be known because the field will not be large and those companies capable of meeting your strategic objectives will be even fewer. Factors to be considered include known capabilities, reputation, market strength and culture.
Any nominations should be balanced against internal strengths and weaknesses, focusing on finding complementary skills, resources and capabilities. An understanding of the potential capability to work together to meet joint objectives is more important than hard evidence of past achievements.
From a commercial perspective successful relationships need the right mix of stability and flexibility. They require a base of rules and procedures that reflect obligations and expectations, yet at the same time there must be mechanisms to support change and reflect shifting internal and external conditions. A record of all decisions, actions and achievements from this phase must be kept in the Enterprise Relationship Management Plan (ERMP) for each potential relationship.
Here is a checklist of actions that you would follow when selecting a new partner:
• Decide if you need a collaborative relationship
• Gather a team with the right skills and knowledge
• Open an ERMP in order to record all major decisions
• Define your objectives
• Shortlist likely partners considering:
- Complementary capabilities
- Market strength
• Meet likely partners and reconcile objectives
• Make choice considering:
- Price and performance
- Attitude to relationship management
• Draft a contract suitable for a collaborative relationship and place a copy into the ERMP
• Draft Exit Arrangements
• Review the way in which you have handled the Decision Phase in order to learn from the experience
Finally when you have completed this phase whether you have chosen a partner or not, review the process to understand what went well and what didn’t. Ensure that these lessons are learned for the future. You may have selected a partner but in the process you should also have made contacts with other organisations. The ERMP you raised for each should not be discarded because there is potential for future relationships with them and the ‘due diligence’ could thus be shorter.