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Trusted Partners

How Companies Build Mutual Trust and Win Together


Trust is the glue that holds organizations together. More powerful than contracts or authority, trust enables partner companies -- or groups within a company -- to achieve results that exceed the sum of the parts. Without trust, alliances fail. In Trusted Partners, internationally recognized alliance expert Jordan Lewis draws on four decades of advising and managing alliances to show -- for the first time -- how to build and sustain trust between and within organizations.

A comprehensive and multifaceted analysis of trust, Trusted Partners shows how to develop, manage, measure, improve, or repair this important dimension of every business relationship. "Trust must be constructed, one step at a time," Lewis maintains. He breaks significant new ground by describing each of these steps -- including how to assemble the elusive interpersonal, leadership, political, organizational, structural, and governance components of trust.

Clear in its explanation of what trust entails, Trusted Partners uses dozens of stories and case examples, among them alliances between Canon and Hewlett-Packard, Ford and ABB, and Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart, all of which achieved market-beating results.

Lewis begins by establishing eight conditions for trust and shows how to determine if trust is possible. He then details:

* How to build, manage, and repair trust

* How to trust difficult customers

* How to sell alliances to customers

* How to trust a rival

* How to build trust between internal groups

* How to create a culture of trust

* How to build trust in mergers and acquisitions

Concluding Trusted Partners is a section entitled "Tools for Trust." This practical, easy-to-use reference guide covers in depth all the key aspects of trust -- from measuring trust and using alliance ethics to sharing know-how and benefits, working with attorneys, and choosing the best alliance structure.

At a time when alliances have become a preferred competitive strategy for most companies, and with most alliances ending as failures, management at all levels cannot afford to ignore this powerful book.

Reading Group Guide
Discussion questions to accompany Trusted Partners
1. How do you ensure full support for an alliance at operating levels in each firm? (Chapter 1, pages 8-9; Chapter 4, pages 52-55)
2. In its recruiting efforts, does your firm give equal weight to relationship and technical skills? What skills are emphasized when people are assigned to alliances? (Chapter 1, pages 9-10; Chapters 2 and 12)
3. Does leadership create turf issues in your firm? (Chapter 1, pages 10-11; Chapter 2, pages 25-27; Chapter 12)
4. Does your firm use a top-to-bottom objectives hierarchy that helps everyone know how his or her contribution fits in? Does each meeting begin with a statement of its immediate objectives as well as of the business objectives to which it will contribute? (Chapter 1, page 11; Chapter 3, pages 35-39; Chapter 12)
5. Who negotiates your firm's alliances -- those who will be the implementers or others? (Chapter 2, pages 27-28)
6. Do you normally use root cause problem solving to resolve conflicts between units in your firm? With a partner? (Chapter 3, page 46)
7. How effective is cross-functional teamwork in your firm? How could it be improved? (Chapter 12)
8. Do your alliance boards and steering committees give clear and consistent signals to those below? (Chapter 6, pages 91-107)
9. When people involved in an alliance move on, does the discontinuity affect alliance performance? (Chapter 1, page 14; Chapter 4, pages 59-63)

More books from this author: Jordan D. Lewis