Friday, February 10, 2012

Four rules for business success

I've recently learned that Sam Palmisano, the retiring--and successful--C chief of IBM, has four rules for business success
  1. “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  2. “Why would somebody work for you?”
  3. “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  4. “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
That's swell for IBM, but his successor--a lady C Chief in waiting--has been named, so most of those reading this blog are unlikely to lead IBM for at least the next 10 years. Thus, I move to the project management domain.

Caution: changing domains is often problematic. Some things just don't port from one to another. But try this for fit:

Why spend money with you is the grist of project PROPOSAL THEMES. If you ever written a proposal for competitive work, the first question to be asked is "what's the win theme?" The win theme, like its counter part, the project theme, is for the seller the way to win business; and is for the buyer the reason to buy from the seller. It's a bilateral theme to be viewed from both parties.


Why would somebody work for you is at the heart of TEAM RECRUITING. In the agile space, teams are recruited, not assigned. But if you've not got the elevator speech on why work for our team, you may have the right to recruit, but what if nobody wants to work with you? SOL!

Why would society allow you to operate is an obvious THREAT for the risk register. If you can't handle the politics, your project may be DOA and over before it begins!

And why would somebody invest their money with you is a question is all about BUDGET SCARCITY. Stakeholders have choices. It's a rare company that has more to invest than there are quality projects to fund. So, we're right back to competition, only this time we're competing for resources. Can you speak to NPV, IRR, and EVA? If you can't handle this alphabet challenge, you may find your project high and dry waiting for another opportunity.


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