Five Very Strange Organizational Partnerships Between "Enemies"

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Five Very Strange Organizational Partnerships Between "Enemies"

In his latest book, Adam Kahane speaks about the ways in which we can all learn to partner with those we don't especially like or even trust. The fact of the matter remains that all of us will be put into such positions at some time in our careers, and rather than bemoan such pairings as setbacks, Kahane wants you to see them as opportunities.

The corporate world is no stranger to pairings between sponsors and events that seem almost diamtrically opposed to one another, but they still happen. Here are five of the most interesting of such pairings:

1. McDonald's sponsors marathons: Actually, McDonald's sponsors a lot of marathons all across the country. The fact that marathons require peak physical conditioning and fitness seems at odds with a fast-food chain that contributes to obesity and poor nutrition, and would be the last choice of an athlete, but there you have it.

2. Monsanto sponsors the FFA: The FFA stands for Future Farmers of America and the organization supports future agriculturalists and farmers. And when you think of Monsanto, what comes to mind is a monolithic corporation that puts farmers out of business. So weird then how Monsanto is a platinum sponsor for the FFA.

3. KFC sponsors the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Awarness and Treatment: Breast cancer is one of the leading killers of women in this country, which is why it seems quite strange that the best known organization in the country for breast cancer awareness partners with Kentucky Fried Chicken to get their message out. This is made all that much worse because scientists have shown the ingredients of KFC products to be carcinogenic.

4. Multiple corporations sponsor Woodstock '94: The original Woodstock Festival in 1969 was dedicated to free love, peace, rock and roll, and defiance of corporations and economic systems. The 1994 edition was dedicated to corporations--among them: Pepsico, MCI, Haagen-Dasz. It's hard to believe the hippies of 1969 would have been alright with that. 

5. Coca Cola name it! Coca-Cola is one of those corporations that sponsors a whole range of different events and causes. However many of the causes are for children (thereby sending the message that sugary soda is just fine), health-related matters (though Coke products actually contribute little to healthy living), and athletic events (even if no serious athletes ever drink coke).