Have you read a book in the past year that made an impact on you and how you manage alliances and partnerships? Could even be one you’ve written!! Here are some that I read this past year which I found had relevance to the field of alliance management. NOT listed in any order other than how they were stacked by my desk.

1. The Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton M. Christensen

An oldie but goodie, copyright 1997, this book focuses on disruptive technology and how it can leave market leaders of mainstream technology in the dust. Required reading for anyone working with technology alliances and perhaps insightful as we try to navigate a disruptive economy, a prime time for disruptive technologies to take root.

2. Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing – Peter Gloor & Scott Cooper Trendspotting.

Don’t we all wish we had crystal balls. One of the more interesting facets is how to leverage social networking to spot trends. Who is linking to whom. What ideas get picked up most by bloggers? The idea has some interesting implications for alliance networks.

3. Divide or Conquer: How great teams turn conflict into strength – Diana McLain Smith

I had the fortune of hearing Diana address a local (to me, Silicon Valley) chapter of the Association of Strategic Planners (ASP). She provides sound and practical advice and frameworks for altering how we interact. Her approach had very strong appeal to a community of engineers and technology nerds, not known for being touchy/feely, mainly because there was a defined framework for action vs emotions.

4. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time – Susan Scott

“You get what you tolerate” That was the fierce nugget that caused me to sit up and pay attention. Scott provides a recipe for those difficult conversations in a way that elicits cooperation and change. I’ve tried it, it works, usually. I haven’t gotten my husband to clean the barn, yet.

5. The World is Flat – Thomas L. Friedman

Globalization means more businesses depend upon a network of worldwide alliances. Alliance management skills have never been needed more. I reread this book this year trying to better understand how we position our profession in the context of a global economy.

6.The Speed of Trust – Steven Covey, Jr.

I am frequently asked “How do you build trust? How do you get it back when it is broken?” I found many good answers here. I now recommend this book to everyone who asks me about trust issues. In fact, I think I loaned my copy out, since I can’t find it. Now who would I trust with that?

7. Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work – Steve Stienhilber, V.P. Strategic Alliances, Cisco

I put this on my favorites list of books regarding strategic alliances. This is a short but powerful read, chocked full of straight talking advice about what it takes to make alliances succeed. As we know by all the research out there, the success rate is less than 50% and largely because organizations still approach alliances in an ad hoc fashion. Stienhilber addresses the issue to the CEO on how to get it right: the right framework, the right organization, and the right relationships. What do you have on your list? Why would you recommend it?