“Collaboration is the number-one trait CEOs are seeking in their employees, with 75 percent of CEOs calling it critical” in IBM’s most recent 2012 study surveying 1700 CEO’s.  But this skill is in short supply. Collaboration has fallen into the skills gap.  It should be a time ripe for opportunity for partner managers as experienced collaboration managers.  How can you as a partner manager get noticed? And how can you advance your career as a collaboration expert?  Here are some tips:

  1. Network with like-minded professionals. Reach out to others in the profession such as your counterparts in your partner organizations. Attend gatherings and meet ups at partner conferences or the local chapter of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals.  These activities will give you an opportunity to share what you know about managing collaborative relationships and you might learn something from others’ experiences too.
  2. Join a professional organization. The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) is a good place to start. ASAP offers networking events, educational events, a practitioner’s handbook and a library of resources to keep you current on leading practices in managing collaborative business relationships.
  3. Volunteer.  Step up to new opportunities at work or in extracurricular activities.  Get exposure to people and challenges outside of your experience. Apply your skills in leading collaborations in new settings.
  4. Mentor or seek mentoring or both!  The benefits of mentoring go both ways.  Seek out opportunities to mentor someone less experienced than you or perhaps a senior manager who wants to learn the ins and outs of managing collaboration since it is a skill in high demand and critical to advancement.  It could become a valuable win/win relationship!
  5. Speak out.  Look for opportunities to talk about collaboration skills.  Become known as a thought leader for collaboration within your company. If you are so inclined, seek out public speaking engagements and establish a reputation outside of your company which could lead to new opportunities.
  6. Recruit a friend or partner. While you could do this alone, you could practice what you preach. Collaborating with a friend or partner on this journey would be more fun and more satisfying.  It’s good to have another point of view as you plan your journey to give you feedback, and to share the effort.
  7. Join a conversation. Seek out social media groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. There are many dedicated to partnering, collaboration, and strategy which could benefit from your voice and where you can keep abreast of the continuing dialog on leading practices.
  8. Hone your skills. Sign up for a workshop to strengthen your skills whether it is to brush up on negotiations skills, dealing with difficult people, or the nuts and bolts of managing an alliance. Phoenix Consulting Group is offering series of Collaboration Skills Mastery Workshops this fail through our partners and through ASAP.  Look for workshops in Europe, the U.S. and across Asia in a city near you.
  9. Get certified.  Professional certifications are offered through ASAP. These credentials establish your commitment to the profession and attest to your ability to manage collaborative business relationships.
  10. Get noticed for delivering awesome results on your collaborations! Doing 1-9 will build your knowledge base, develop your skills, extend your network. All of which will enable to build successful partnerships and alliances that create value for your company, your partner, and your customers.

 Useful Links:

ASAP:  www.strategic-alliances.org

IBM 2012 Global CEO Survey:  http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/en/c-suite/ceostudy2012/