Just yesterday I was reminded again about how wise it is for business people to actively build strategic alliances. I had gotten a message through LinkedIn from a new licensed clinical social worker who was just starting her practice here in Reno. She had gotten my name through a mutual colleague and wanted to meet me over coffee. She explained that she was interested in my coaching work and wanted to share what she was doing – and then maybe we could refer to each other as needed.
What’s the Benefit for Me?
Was I interested? Absolutely! First, I love to meet new professionals that are starting their own businesses. I want to see them succeed and if I can encourage and support them I certainly will. Second, I am always updating my own referral list – for local counselors, resume writers and consultants with specific expertise that I don’t have. I enjoy being known as a “go-to” person and I’m delighted to connect others with those that can help them. It’s a win-win for all of us.
How To: Building Strategic Alliances
Building strategic alliances that are mutually beneficial is a practiced skill. It is identifying what you need to be more successful (just as this woman did), what someone else needs to be equally successful and then forming a strategic alliance to make that happen. And it’s just as important to form these alliances inside an organization if you’re working for someone else as it is when you have your own business. Here’s how to begin:
- Identify 3 areas you want to improve or expand in your work
- Ask around . . . “Who else does this kind of work?”
- Keep asking to see who knows who – can you get a personal introduction?
- Reach out and invite the individual to coffee – see if there is a positive energy between you
- And then explore “How can we help each other be more successful?”
My Challenge to You
It’s the summer and work schedules are often more relaxed. This is a perfect time to build contacts and relationships. My challenge to you is to take this time to reach out and get to know at least three new professionals working in related fields. Choose people that you think you would genuinely enjoy and that you see a possibility of your work mutually benefiting each other. If one out of the three works out that is great success. And then let me know how it goes!