buying-cheap-boxing-gloves-onlineI love teaching the Business Relationship Management Professional® (BRMP®) course! They say that the best way to learn is to teach, and I always learn from my course participants.

I was teaching a course last week and went through my usual routine of asking the participants what metaphors they thought come to mind when they think about the BRM role. The answers are always revealing and sometimes surprising. In last weeks course, one of the most seasoned BRMs said, “Boxer!” I was initially taken aback, but as he went on to describe his choice of metaphor, I realized what an apt metaphor boxing represents.

Not An “Order-Taker”!

Some novice BRMs fall into the trap of becoming an “order-taker.” All business requests are seen as good requests, no matter what the potential to deliver real business value. The seasoned BRM, by contrast, knows how to deflect low value requests, as a boxer deflects his opponent’s punches.

Not An “Account Manager“!

Some novice BRMs think of themselves as “Account Managers”, making sure the business partner‘s needs are routed to the proper people in the Provider organization. This is a dreadfully limited role, and sooner or later someone is going to wonder why we have such seasoned, skilled resources adding so little value. Boxers fight for themselves–they understand the stakes and work every day to prove their worth.

Not A “Gap Filler”!

Weak BRMs are victims of dysfunctional Provider organizations–stepping in to fill any and all gaps in their business partner needs that are not being adequately met by the Provider. Strong BRMs deflect low value requests. They challenge dysfunctionality in the Provider organization, bobbing and weaving to move the Provider to a more responsive role. Willing to throw a punch when necessary, appreciating that to not do so is to become a punching bag for someone who is not stepping up to the plate–who is not delivering what they are supposed to deliver.

Throughout the 3-day course, the seasoned BRM who offered the boxing metaphor went on to offer many real examples of how he had pushed back and steered his business partner away from low value requests towards high value opportunities. He offered examples of how he had refused to collude with dysfunctional Provider behavior, while stepping in to point out shortcomings in Provider services or processes, and offering to help fix these–once!  There were no second chances. Let the business partner down a second time and you received the knockout punch!

Like I said, I love BRM training!

What metaphors do you find especially enlightening about the BRM role?  Answers on a postcard, please!  (Or even better, as comments on this post!)