Alliance management

What makes an organisation a partner of choice?

A question we are frequently asked by clients is "What makes an organisation a partner of choice for other companies seeking to advance their business goals?" In order to find answers to this question we have examined our database of over 80,000 partner survey ratings. We were looking for those other factors most closely correlated with a positive perception of the partner as a partner of choice. We also looked at nearly 2,000 partnering and reputation related comments to generate additional insights into this question.

Our conclusion is that the following factors, in descending order of correlation, are most closely related to a partner of choice high rating:

  1. A commitment to trust, reliability and an ethical approach to partners.
  2. Responsiveness, openness and a willingness to share information.
  3. A leadership committed to partnering and collaborative working.
  4. Having an effective problem-solving and 'can-do' culture.
  5. Creativity and flexibility on deal terms & structures.
  6. The two organisations have shared goals and vision.
  7. Giving the deal a high priority relative to internal projects.

We also found that the following factors can impact an organisation’s attractiveness as a partner:

Behaviour as a partner Decision-making, communication, flexibility, etc. It goes without saying that if an organisation is a poor partner then it will be less attractive as a partner than would otherwise be the case.

Organisational stability Mergers, lay-offs, reorganisations, etc. Partners want stable partners. Events that signal instability or retrenchment make an organisation less attractive as a potential partner.

Other events/stuff Deals signed, terminations, recalls, warning letters, etc. News about the organisation is inevitably priced into the perception of the attractiveness of the organisation as a partner.

Science/pipeline Quality of the science/scientists, launches, etc. Organisations in the life sciences want to partner with other organisations with great scientists and which can deliver on the science.

Finally, it is important to separate the perception of an organisation’s reputation as a potential partner and the reality of what is it actually like to partner with that organisation.