What is a Strategic Alliance Plan?

What is a Strategic Alliance Plan (SAP)

It is not what you know but whom you know. Whether we want to believe that or not, it is truer than ever. Let’s delve further into this powerful statement. First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you building relationships?
  • Have you kept in touch with colleagues and clients from previous jobs you’ve had?
  • Are you too busy to keep in touch because it’s hard to even 
focus on the things you have on your plate today?

How do you know if you are being strategic? We are going to focus on building your Strategic Alliance Plan (SAP), using ZIG360. What is your SAP? A strategic alliance plan starts with realizing how important relationships are and how much they drive your success. It is thinking about your network of people and growing it based on your network’s network. Sounds easy enough, but it actually takes thought and planning to be strategic when building relationships. 
So why take the time to build your SAP? Just think of Stephen Covey’s “Begin with the end in mind.” Approach ZIG360 thinking what’s your end in mind when you think about your career? If your goal is to sell more, get promoted, be heard when you have something to say, or create advocates who help you do all of the before-mentioned—then building relationships is key. How do you actively do it when you have so much on your plate?

Use these steps when in ZIG360:

  1. Create an SAP based your career goal. Where do you want your career to go in the next six months, year, five years?
  2. Scroll through your contacts and select all the people you currently know 
or know of who can help you get where you want to go. 
Remember to include your mentors
  3. Run the questionnaires for each of the contacts to determine your relationship with them. Once complete, review your SAP radar to see the blend of relationships you have
  4. Run the DiSC questionnaires for each of the contacts to understand their communication style
  5. Having the type of relationship and their communication style ZIG360 can then help you create a communication plan for your key people

Look at people who are on the our rings of your radar – you cannot expect people to be your advocates if you do not have a strong relationship with them. It is now your job to be strategic and build those relationships.

In the steps above, we asked you to name your mentors because they are critical components of your SAP. Success does not happen alone, and mentors are the people who help us truly accomplish what we want to accomplish. Mentors can be formal and informal. Mentors are the helpers in our lives.

As you think about building relationships, consider these points:

  • Your approach
  • The dynamics of timing when you reach out
  • The way you present yourself
  • Your consistency
  • Your follow-up
  • The importance of building trust—building influence happens 
over time when trust has been established

It is also important to be there for others:

  • Helping others succeed will help you succeed
  • Actively helping people with what they need will build strong 
  • If people do something to help you, recognize them. Thank 
them immediately


Next, do you have any Saboteurs in your SAP?  It is your job to rectify the situation and rebuild the burned bridge. Why? Go back to your goal. Remember that when a trusted friend tells you he or she loves a restaurant, you are more apt to eat there. And if that trusted friend dislikes a restaurant, you are more likely not to go there. Even if the person could potentially sabotage your goal, the last thing you want is for him or her to bad-mouth you in a meeting or to a Key Influencer/decision maker. 
How do you remedy the situation of a burned bridge or just lack of connection? Eat humble pie if need be to make the situation better.



How do you approach Targets, where you do not have a relationship but it’s important to establish one?

  • Think strategically about building that alliance.
  • Take the person to lunch or coffee.
  • Start conversations by asking how the person’s weekend was or 
something personal.

Find something in common.

Continuing the relationship is critical to your SAP. Once you have established a positive working relationship, stay connected. Use the tools that are available to you: telephone, notes, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. 
By building a mutual understanding, one is more inclined to listen to the other person’s ideas, become an advocate, or truly give substantial input to allow you to meet your goals. 
People buy people. Good relationships build great careers. It’s who you know, not what you know 99 percent of the time. To continue building your Executive Edge, work on your SAP today and every day.

Relationships are built on:

  • Value
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Shared interests
  • Motivation
  • Humor
  • Appreciation
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