People at Table, Sun Tzu, Strategic Alliances, Donna Woolam, Living At My Best, Coach, Christian, Women, work at home, entrepreneur

Strategic Alliances are critical for a forward-moving, profitable business.

Yet, not all alliance partners are the right ones, just because they have the right credentials.​

In the past several weeks, I've been re-watching "The West Wing" on ​Netflix. (In my work from home life, I typically fix some sort of tasty lunch for my husband and myself, and then we watch some "requires-nothing-of-me" kind of program. It helps me disconnect and refuel for the afternoon's work.)

Arnold and Jimmy Create Alliances

As we are watching the final two seasons, it's time to elect a new president. (Interesting timing, as we've just completed the 2016 election process as I'm writing this.)

With the benefit of historical perspective, I watch Alan Alda, as Arnold Vinick (R) and Jimmy Smitts, as Matthew Santos (D) work through the process of winning an election. It's made me think of the types of alliances we make when we are in the process of establishing, building and increasing our business.

When we want to have a business that is profitable and purposeful, it is critical to establish a framework for gathering new and important data. We develop this framework as we decide with whom we network and joint venture partner. We make decisions which experts we will read and study. We intentionally develop relationships with people who can connect us with influencers. We attend seminars, workshops and symposiums.

Yet, as we develop these alliances, sometimes we discover the people we've aligned ourselves with are not necessarily speaking our true heart language.​

Not the Best Partner

​It has been interesting to see how advisers and special interest groups push and pull these two fictional characters to move away from their core beliefs. The job of these inner circle manipulators is to design the raw talent of the candidate into a more palatable, generalized version.

And often, we can find ourselves with a Strategic Alliance Partner who advises us to mold ourselves into the image of the common, rather than stand out as our unique, bold, magnificent, breathtaking self! 

They mean the best for us, but we are the ones who have to make the ultimate decision.​

Sometimes the Best Alliances are Found in Your Competition 

Arnie and Matt just want to be president. They simply want to represent the people in a way they think will best serve the nation. Neither of them is perfect. Both of them are committed. 

And they share a common problem...the people who work for them.

The people around them are always in "get my candidate to the top" mode. Which is what they are hired to do.

But, in the midst of that, the candidate is lost.

Early in season 7, Arnie and Matt are seen attending the same dinner. They find themselves standing across the room waiting to be called in to the event. They spar a bit about their interpretation of the other's actions and motives. Then, they decide between themselves, to do things THEIR way. It is a pivotal moment.​

Looking your competitors right in the eye, understanding how they serve their audience or client, might be the best thing you can do. When you partner in integrity, you can gain wisdom you'd never get any other way.

One of my best Strategic Partners was a woman leading an organization in another company. In those Direct Sales days, either of us would have given our eye teeth to have the other in our business team. Yet, we were able to meet regularly, speak openly and honestly about our struggles and about our wins. I gained so much wisdom from her. I believe she would say the same about her time with me.​

Do Your Alliances Share Your Values?

There's almost nothing worse than working with someone who gives you a creepy feeling. About the only thing worse is when you let them take the reins of your destiny.

We all must work with people who aren't just like us. It makes us stronger, better, wiser, more skillful.

However, when you are headed on a journey with someone, this scripture comes to mind...

"​Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?" Amos 3:3

We can find ourselves side-swiped, on the side of the road with whiplash, because we've partnered with someone we THOUGHT was in agreement with our principles and values. 

I remember finding myself in that situation with a company I represented. Let's just say I learned a lot about people; how they can control and manipulate you for their own gain, all the while appearing to be FOR you. SMH​

It was my pivotal moment. I decided it was time for me to make sure my core values were represented from that time forward.​

Do You KNOW What Your Values Are?

One of the best things you can do for your business is to identify your core values. Once you've done so, it is easier to know who will be the best strategic alliance partners for you.

Your basic checklist helps you know who you want to work with in both short and long term partnerships.

For instance, as a Christian-based coach, I want to partner with individuals and companies who understand that my first and foremost litmus test is faith in Christ. When women ​hire me as a coach, they know I will pray with and for them, and that Scripture truth will be part of the coaching process.

If someone hires me without knowing that core element of who I am, they will feel whiplashed!

Not every course, book or expert I follow is Christian. Not every person I interview shares my views of the Bible. However, I recognize that and account for it in the interactions.

Truth be told, not every Christian I've worked with has been a good experience either. Sometimes I've disappointed them. And (more often than I want to admit) I was the disappointment. Yet, we started with a mutual understanding of the road we were walking on at the time.​ So, when the end came around, we could part knowing it just wasn't a fit.

Choose Many - Choose Well

Proverbs 15:22 says, "Designs are brought to nothing where there is no counsel: but where there are many counsellors, they are established." Douay-Rheims Bible

It is important to create strategic alliances. A lot of them. Not all of them will be a formal arrangement. It can be a great friend in another company or organization you meet with for lunch once a month. Or it might be a paid Master Mind group.

Perhaps there is a person in a different company you support by sharing their blog posts or product advertisements.

You might even share a platform with someone who does exactly what you do. It might not make a lot of sense to some, but as you honor your "competition's" expertise, the audience or customer you serve with value-based information, will appreciate you more.​

Whoever you choose - choose intentionally.

Live At Your Best! Live Inspired!

Donna​

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