Seizing Opportunities

Scott Francis
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Steve Blank’s writing about startups often offers insights far beyond the startup world.  Take this post, “You Negotiate Commodities, but Seize Opportunities“:
I hadn’t just lost a potential advisor I had lost an irreplaceable opportunity. We lost him not just over a stock offer. We lost him because we had treated him as a commodity – something that was readily available from multiple sources – and that you could negotiate its price. In reality what I had in front of me was an opportunity – a favorable combination of circumstances that rarely occurs and if seized upon would have given me an advantage. You treat commodities and opportunities radically differently.
You might be asking what this has to do with BPM.  But to those of us for whom BPM is a profession, we know what he’s talking about.  BPM is an opportunity for your firm to seize out-sized returns on investment.  The talent pool for doing BPM “right” is limited.  When you find the right person within your organization – the person who can deliver on the promise of BPM – you have to seize that opportunity.  Don’t quibble in negotiating their role and title and salary; give them the responsibility and latitude to deliver, and generously reward them for delivering. Similarly, when key BPM resources (aka people) are outside the organization, we have to realize that we’re not talking about negotiating the hourly rate for a couple of Java developers (who number in the millions).  These outside staff have multiple opportunities, and sometimes the difference between success and failure is just having the right people at the right time.  A few dollars an hour won’t determine success and failure, but a few less of the right kind of people very well might. Finally, this is a lesson for us, for BP3.  When we find the right person to bring on board, who can change the game for our business, we have to seize the opportunity.