Is Automotive Ready for Anticipatory Partnerships?

What are anticipatory partnerships?What are anticipatory partnerships?

I’m preparing to go to the TU Automotive Show in Novi, Michigan next week. I’m putting a new office in the Motor City and I’m spending several weeks a month meeting with potential clients and partners. One of the things that struck me when talking with tier one and tier two automotive suppliers is how different they are than many of my software clients’ partners.  My technology clients have always built anticipatory partnerships.

What are anticipatory partnerships? How do they work in software technology organizations and can they be transferred to the global automotive markets? Today I share a framework and when I return, I’ll share specific examples of who is doing this and how we can use it to transform the quality of our relationships with customers, suppliers, and even competitors.

My framework is based on the book The Anticipatory Organization ™ by Daniel Burrus. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, shame on you. I’m working with Dan Burrus with my focus on building more anticipatory partnerships with their suppliers and strategic alliance partners. I’ve used it with several larger clients and the early results are very promising.  I’ll share more as clients allow me to.

There are four steps in The Anticipatory Organization™ Framework. Successful anticipatory partnerships leverage all four steps to build extraordinary relationships with their many stakeholders. Today, I just want to share this innovation process. Over the coming weeks, I’ll help you become more Anticipatory Leaders®.

The first step is Know What’s Next. How much time do you spend thinking about the future? Are you able to communicate your vision of the future to your many stakeholders? Do your partners and suppliers actively engage in this part of the anticipatory partnerships’ planning process? When you want to achieve big goals, it is critical to have the best members on your team.

Automotive manufacturing has a long history of producing renegade entrepreneurs who are totally committed to creating an incredible customer experience in their markets. From safety features to air conditioning to 5D digital sound and video, customers are never going to look at their vehicle the same way again. When you think about connected car or autonomous vehicles, we are talking about the foundation of the future of transportation. These early projects are going to shape travel forever.

Know what’s next? How do you get your stakeholders to go all in? Its critical to allow your potential partners to bring their best ideas to the table. The problem is these ideas are changing very quickly. How do you keep up?

Ask your partners about future facts and then actively listen to what they say.  They have a different view of what technologies can do for your customers.  In many cases, they think of different ways to help you reach your goals. When was the last time your view of the world was disrupted? Are you using yesterday solutions to meet today’s goals?

The next step is Develop Opportunities. How do you make your partners more innovative? As importantly, how do you get them to see the possibilities? My experience in dealing with many automotive companies is they are still collaborating in a more hierarchical way.

We tell you what we want, and then we tell you again. Just in case you missed what we said. Not all, but enough. This may be why so many millennial software engineers choose to work with early stage organizations than automotive companies. Creative freedom and involvement in decisions rate high on millennials wish list for their careers.

Anticipatory partnerships are built on shared opportunities. Let me ask you a question, how hard does your company work to protect your best ideas? I recently got an NDA from a startup that was several pages long. When I called them on it, I then got the speech, we just sent you the executive summary version of our NDA. We know you’re too dumb to understand the technical aspects of our technologies.

What kind of entrepreneur wants to work with someone who is working very hard to keep you from helping to create the next great idea? Your anticipatory partnerships should transform your markets. So should the way you work with your best partners.

We win if you win.  This is the foundation of anticipatory partnerships. Is it realistic to work this way? Ask the many millennial entrepreneurs bent on disrupting your industry. While you are working on NDAs with your lawyers, they are taking market share and changing your clients forever.

Its not if anticipatory partnerships are going to happen, it’s when will they change your markets. Most successful global entrepreneurs have a larger view of their impact on society. Your anticipatory partnerships should bring these visionaries to your door. Its not an either/ or solution but a both/and way of seeing the world. Is proprietary technology really your best solution given the many stakeholders you need to address today and into the future? How will your solutions help transform the world?

Are your partners playing checkers or 3D chess? Strong anticipatory partnerships should help both partners grow. How can they help you skip today and get to the future that both of you know is out there? Anticipatory partnerships bring you the future, today.

Now that we have the foundation of anticipatory partnerships in place, tomorrow we talk about the final two steps in the process; Shape the Future and Accelerate Success.

See you on Monday at Market Leadership Journal.

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