However, it's important to note, that networks create value, but that they're not complete and utter solutions in and of themselves. In order to use networks to cultivate the most cohesive business acumen possible, it still requires a certain level of networking, one of the most fundamental pillars of any leadership role. To overcome any qualms about it, identify a person you respect who networks effectively and ethically. Observe how he or she uses networks to accomplish goals. You probably will also have to reallocate your time. This means becoming a master at the art of delegation, to liberate time you can then spend on cultivating networks.
Building a network obviously means that you need to establish connections. Create reasons for interacting with people outside your function or organization; for instance, by taking advantage of social interests to set the stage for addressing strategic concerns. Ibarra and Hunter found that personal networking will not help a manager through the leadership transition unless he or she learns how to bring those connections to bear on organizational strategy. In "Guy Kawasaki's Guide to Networking through LinkedIn," you are introduced to a number of network growth strategies using that powerful Web-based tool.
The principle of reciprocity is at the cornerstone of networking. That is, give and take continually -- though a useful mantra in networking is "give, give, give." Don't wait until you really need something badly to ask for a favor from a network member. Instead, take every opportunity to give to -- and receive from -- people in your networks, regardless of whether you need help. Be prepared to be occasionally disappointed by your selected partner or partnership. No partner or partnership is going to be perfect or completely fulfilling or be able to know how to make the other party happy at all times.
As we've seen, the best partnerships are those which are built on trust, and these are the ones which generally create strong business relationships. In order for a leader to lead well, it takes time for his followers to trust him, as trust takes time to build. More likely than not, these businesses have worked together before and therefore have a strong appreciation of how each other operates and the synergies they can create together. Without trust, many of the issues above will be difficult to resolve and this will put a strain on the relationship at every turn.
A good leader can take advantage of the different levels that exist within a business: they range from marketing and business development partnerships, to revenue sharing, to equity sharing partnerships. These different levels give you an opportunity to test the waters and learn firsthand how effective or synergistic potential future partnerships may be, before entering into any deeper relationships. Even within the most effective partnerships, two parties can take turns acting with leadership. Each party will have his or her strong points to bring to the equation and will thus be able to take turns acting as a leader.
Formatting the Workshop
After a brief introduction about the goals and purposes of strategic alliances is given, several icebreaker activities need to be administered. These activities involve pairing people up into buddies and helping them to inherently see the value of even immediate partnerships. The first icebreaker activity will be one where each buddy has to finish the sentence, "You'll be glad I'm your buddy because…" Then everyone has to go around the room and introduce their partner, explaining their strengths to the entire room.
With the partners still being in pairs, introduce the "three points" activity to them, but adapt it. In this case, introduce the idea that basically every concept can be distilled to three main points. Thus each pair will be given a wordy paragraph about a subject they don't specialize in or know a lot about (such as architecture or aviation). Together, the pairs have to summarize the whole paragraph into three main points and present it to the larger group in an engaging manner.
Thus, the wrap-up of the day will highlight the main lessons presented and any additional tips about partnerships that the participants can best benefit from.