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Author: Martín Echavarria

September 28, 2012

Partnerships & alliances together can change the world

We were thrilled to see the partnership between Digicel and Scotiabank to launch a mobile wallet in Haiti mentioned by former president Bill Clinton in the Oct. 1 issue of Time as the first of five ideas that are changing the world.

In a world fraught with inequality, instability and unsustainability, Clinton writes, there are reasons for optimism. He goes on to mention technology, specifically cell phones, as a tool that is bringing greater equality to impoverished areas and as one of five examples of where “creative cooperation” has led to success. Cell phones in Haiti, Clinton writes, “have revolutionized the average person’s access to financial opportunity.”


August 1, 2012

In meetings, ambiance is critical

I honestly don’t know what’s happened to the corporate world, but I can say one thing: the spaces where people meet and work suck. For one reason or another, most companies seem to have concentrated on building this perfect factory floor of people in cubicles and stale furniture and conference rooms with little to no life. Worst of all, the lighting is almost always a stale and completely draining (at least on me) white. It’s as if everyone set out to create a hospital atmosphere rather than a creative one.

Nobody likes hospitals. So when receiving a potential partner, why would you ask them to step into your hospital-like working space? (more…)

July 12, 2012

Already launched? Share the Kool-Aid

Imagine this. Your alliance has begun to meet its strategic objectives – the ones envisioned way back at the beginning of the alliances development process – and at the same time, the partnerships are flourishing and authentic engagement is happening. Meetings aren’t perfect but the relationships you have formed are fully capable of holding the problems. In other words, your relationships are so strong that you don’t necessarily have to solve all the problems right away before you can continue with the real work of the alliance. The solutions you have achieved have led to success in the marketplace, and to a real company full of people creating something worthwhile together. Basically, you have achieved your goal of building a successful and productive alliance.

So now what? What do you do next? (more…)

July 5, 2012

Meet, yes, but get something done

How many times have you heard professionals talk about how they had meetings and returned to the office with a bunch of work to do? It’s as if meetings with others were a waste of time. And, really, how can meetings with others become a waste of time when it’s hard to imagine companies that function on the sole work of one person? What is really going on?


June 13, 2012

Balancing inquiry and advocacy

Over the past weeks, I’ve been talking about the importance of tapping into the warrior side and lover side of leadership as critical for igniting successful partnerships. You can’t have one without the other; you need to express both to be successful. But the real question is how does this very subjective thing of lover-warrior leadership become real and not just more jargon on leadership. It becomes real when we can feel the difference of each within yourself and thus begin to have conversations that demonstrate the kind of behaviors and words chosen from each leadership style (the warrior and the lover). So what does it really look like and sound like?

June 5, 2012

Leading with power and love, part II

Read Part I

In today’s business world, we see too many alpha personalities, too many people who think they can win in the marketplace, crush the competition and forcefully advocate their way to victory – to many idealized warrior types. And people who operate this way in modern alliances often find that doing business that way doesn’t work in the globalized, interconnected, values-based business of the 21st century.

Yet, as I discussed in my last post, forming productive business relationships requires both love and power. (more…)

May 23, 2012

Leading through power & love, part I

There is an art and a science to building alliances and partnerships. It’s like two sides of a penny.

On one side, you have the building of the Lincoln Memorial. It represents the nuts and bolts of alliances making – the processes and actual business analytics to help you choose the best go-to-market strategy, the best partner based on objective core competencies such as geographic scope, technology, research, etc. These aspects are the strategic and operational elements needed for any alliance to be successful. Like foundations and pillars of the Lincoln Memorial they give the alliances structure. They, in effect, allow you the best business structure possible. These are the more objective and contextual pieces of alliances.

Yet, on the other side of the penny you have the face of Lincoln himself. The other side of the coin represents the more subjective part of strategic alliances. It has Lincoln, the person who one actually relates to and who is integral to building the alliance. What I would call the partnership side of the business.

Alliances and partnerships are each part of the same coin, and you can’t have one without the other. (more…)

May 1, 2012

Negotiating in relationships

Hopefully you are at the point in the partnership development process where negotiating the details is not the difficult and contentious process you’ve experienced in the past. Hopefully, you’re applying a new process for engaging in ‘partnershiping,’ if there is such a word, and now it’s at least a bit easier.

Yet a difficult journey can still lay waiting, so I wanted to mention this important point: negotiate the difficult among the easy.


April 24, 2012

Forget the Golden Rule

When it comes to partnerships, negotiation rules don’t always apply. After all, partnerships are not about maximum gain for one party but about optimum gain for both or several parties. No rules, but some guidelines, yes. These guidelines tend to shape effective and harmonious partnerships.

One of them is following the Platinum Rule.

We all know the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you.” But for contract drafting and negotiations, I tend to prefer the platinum rule: “Do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you.” So you see there how the platinum rule merely takes the golden rule and turns it into the negative. “What’s the big deal about the negative?” you might think.


April 12, 2012

Invite potential partners to create with you

In past posts, I’ve mentioned that partnering is not selling. Why? Because effective partnering is about opening your prospects to the possibility of something you can create together, while sales techniques are about closing the deal, charging your client for your services and then hoping that they don’t decide somewhere down the road to terminate the business. Meanwhile, effective partnering is an open-ended process where the negotiating happens more toward the end, unlike sales where it happens toward the beginning.

Partnering is about recognizing and acknowledging that you don’t know everything, but that you are open to figuring it out as you walk alongside your prospective partner. It’s about collaboratively solving problems that exist in the market and/or simply creating something new. It’s about inviting your potential partner into a possibility. How do you do it? Here are four tips.