Strategic Alliances: The Power of Partnership

Strategic AlliancesDuring her recent official Australian visit, HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark (‘our Mary’),  flew to Broken Hill to tour the Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS) headquarters where she announced  a joint initiative between The McGrath Foundation and the RFDS of Australia’s first flying Breast Care Nurse.

The initiative reflects a strategic alliance between the two non-profits –  a powerful partnership which will provide benefits to many.


Operating for more than 80 years, the RFDS was started in 1928 by Rev John Flynn, whose vision was  to provide a ‘mantle of safety’ for people living in remote areas,  where medical care and resources are shared across millions of square meters.

Today, the RFDS continues to fulfil that vision, delivering essential healthcare where it is needed most and taking doctors, nurses and specialists to remote communities on ‘fly around clinics’.  Last year the RFDS transported more than 40,000 patients across Australia.

About The McGrath Foundation

The McGrath Foundation raises money to place McGrath Breast Care nurses in communities across Australia as well as increasing breast cancer awareness in women. Founder, Jane McGrath, who sadly passed away in June 2008, dreamt that  every Australian family experiencing breast cancer would have access to a breast care nurse no matter where they lived or their financial situation.  Since 2008, the number of breast care nurses has grown from four to  71, and the Foundation has helped support more than 10,000 Australians.

RFDS & The McGrath Foundation

Thanks to the appointment of  the McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse based at the RFDS in Broken Hill, families experiencing breast cancer and located in the rural and remote communities of Far West NSW, South West QLD and North Eastern SA, will now have access to invaluable physical, psychological and emotional support.

Jo Beven, the new Breast Care Nurse, will not only ‘take to the skies’ to travel across the country, but will also hold clinics at the Broken Hill RFD headquarters and participate in the regular clinic runs to remote locations across three states.

Strategic Alliances

Strategic Alliances – The Power of Partnership

Not all strategic alliances have such valuable social benefits.   But for other organisations, strategic alliances can improve participating companies’ competitive position, help gain entry to new markets, supplement critical skills and share risk or cost of projects.

Management consultants Bain and Co define  strategic alliances as  “the agreements amongst firms in which each commits resources to achieve a common set of objectives.”

According to Harvard Business School Professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, successful alliances require not only a common purpose but also respect, values and ongoing communication.

Kanter likens strategic alliances and partnerships to  “modern marriages with separate careers, individual checkbooks, sometimes different names, but always the need to work out the operational overlap around household and offspring.”

Strategic alliances can be formed with a wide variety of players: customers, suppliers, competitors, universities or government.

Strategic Alliances

How to form Strategic Alliances

Bain suggests the following methodology for companies to form Strategic Alliances.

To form a Strategic Alliance, companies should:

  • Define their business vision and strategy in order to understand how an alliance fits their objectives;
  • Evaluate and select potential partners based on the level of synergy and the ability of the firms to work together;
  • Develop a working relationship and mutual recognition of opportunities with the prospective partner;`
  • Negotiate and implement a formal agreement that includes systems to monitor performance.

Strategic Alliances

Is your business strategically aligned with others to support  your mutual objectives? With which other organisations – for profit or not-for-profit – can your business conduct a Strategic Alliance?

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15 Steps for Successful Strategic Alliances (and Marriages) by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
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