Seth 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 I have seen how creative liberties and justifications for not following the Vested Rules have led to less than optimal results. 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