Friday, August 5, 2011

Keep It Simple – Part 2

At one point I was on a project team that was evaluating whether or not to outsource payment processing and lockbox services. The team was composed of people from six different areas of the company.
For the RFP creation phase of this project, they were going to use a generic in-house template that had been around for half a decade or longer.
It was at this point when I thought about one of my early mentors. The situation I was involved in at that time had to do with a relationship management issue, and for a while he watched me as I analyzed, strategized, hypothesized and otherwise-ized the possible motivations and intents of the other party.
Finally, after I had endured a requisite amount of torture, he said “why don’t you just ask them?”
This was useful advice for the current situation. Professional organizations such as the AFP have RFP templates available for those who were in just the sort of situation we were in. In addition, many of twenty-plus relationship banks had units who provided this kind of service and saw these things on a weekly basis.
So we just asked them – and within a week had six different documents with which to synthesize an RFP acceptable to our widely diverse group and while being credible to the recipients.
In several prior posts we have discussed the need to be different and unique in order to get to a level others have not. So how does just asking others reconcile with that?
In some situations the uniqueness comes about through the particular synthesis that we perform. It is in the addition of one or two ingredients to the basic recipe, not in recreating an entirely new way to bake a cake.
We do not have to re-invent the wheel in order to put it to new uses.
I would love to hear your thoughts about keeping it simple or your stories on this topic if you have them.
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