You May Think You Know What You’re Doing…

CIMG2581.JPGSeth Godin’s recent blog on “Rationalizing your project” really struck a chord with me.

Godin talks about how companies and individuals fail to follow advice because, “In the face of helpful advice, it’s easy to say, ‘sure, that’s what I’m already doing,’” or justify altering the advice to make things easier for them. He gives an excellent analogy of following a recipe. People will often take a recipe and change it up to make it more convenient for them or because they perceive their approach is better. For example, replacing sour cream with yogurt, for example. But when the recipe flops they fail to realize they are to blame.  They say the recipe they “followed” failed.

The Vested process is like that.

But then I start to ask questions like “how are you using the Guiding Principles in practice?” (Rule 1/Element 2) or “did you find it hard to make the switch from a price to a pricing model with incentives.” (Rule 4) Far too often I get a blank stare. One of my favorite examples is a company that said “We just love Vested, but our Chief Procurement Office really wants a firm fixed price and doesn’t believe in incentives.” Hmmmm…. that recipe is for sure going to flop!

I am with Seth Godin on this because

. What may seem like a creative and problem-solving way to implement Vested is most often delusional. Godin notes that people believe they are following the program or guidelines but then “torture the description of the current project to make it sort of, almost, sound like you’re following the suggested new approach.” Really, you are just wasting time, because they don’t really “get it” or not enough of “it,” anyway.”

There’s a reason that over the past 10 years we have published six books and offer six courses as part of our Certified Deal Architect (CDA) program. It is also why we don’t graduate any CDAs unless they have successfully created an agreement that follows all five for the Vested rules.  As Godin says, “In the age of unlimited access to recipes, the hard part about getting good advice isn’t getting it. It’s following it. And then you might be able to turn the recipe into insight.”

Image: Instructions by Arthur T. Bens via Flickr CC


  1. Steven Spencer says:

    I so agree with this sage article… I think the reason for rationalizing their logic is that “Control”

    For owners their ability to outsource key ‘bricks & mortar’ functions is a key to their strategic success. Departmental functions that have traditionally been outsourced in some capacity is real estate, legal, design, architecture, procurement, construction, and maintenance. The question becomes not if should they outsource, it’s what and how much!

    However, the biggest fear for Owner’s is losing control. Control is everything.

    ‘In-sourcing’ strongest argument is that it allows control. Owners believe they can control employees who will look out for the companies’ interest best. However, their dilemma is that taking on too much of these specialized functions diverts effort and resources away from the core business.

    Depending upon the company size, culture, maturity and leadership capabilities the look will vary. A balanced approach is best. There are risks; even with the right consultants in place as outsourcing relinquishes that coveted controL.

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