There is an old Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” Note that this is a curse and not a blessing. There is no doubt, we are all living in interesting times. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees and made us experience things that were unimaginable only a few months ago.
We do live in very scary and uncertain times. However, moments like these can also yield great opportunity. They hold for us the greatest potential to transform the way we live, work, and play. These critical moments open up opportunities for growth, innovation, and reinvention, which did not exist before. Times like these yearn for leadership and action.
It is up to each of us to determine how we will move forward – for better or worse. Do we give in to all of the negativity and just try to survive, or do we rise up, show leadership and confidence, and define a new and better path forward?
When we think of BRM, it is faced with the same challenge. In recent weeks, I have heard from many BRMs about how they are coping with the new world. Many are concerned that their organization will be the first to go because they are not deemed to be “essential” and that their organizations are not critical to business operations.
The reality is that BRM is not only critical to business operations, it is critical to business survival.
When we think back to the world a short time ago, a few dominant thoughts existed in the minds of business leaders:
The COVID-19 pandemic has surely altered thinking on all of these fronts and many others. The world is a different place now, and business will indeed be changed no matter how the pandemic ends.
To survive, business leaders need visionaries, strategists, and planners. They need people who not only help current operations succeed but help define new paths forward. They need strategic partners who can blend business acumen with area expertise (e.g., technical expertise for Tech/IT BRMs) to make better decisions about the company’s future.
They need BRMs.
I have been involved in BRM for over 15 years and have never seen a time where BRM is needed more. Looking at the bullets above, is there one that the BRM should not be driving forward? Forget the rhetoric about BRM for a moment. This is not about jargon and spreadsheets; it is about action and opportunity.
Think and act like an executive in your company, regardless of your current title.
What does your industry look like in five years? Who are its customers? What is the competition doing? What new challenges will it be facing? This is what your organization’s leaders are thinking about, so why shouldn’t you?
Use that information to guide your actions. Develop plans to bring to management that will help your organization play in this new world. Think innovatively about new ideas and ways to bring forward-thinking strategies into your organization. Identify methods for your company to work more effectively, cheaper, and without the need for an office. Make yourself a driver of the new way your organization should be working.
Organizations have plenty of people to think about the basics. They need thought leaders who will help them navigate this new paradigm. Take the bull by the horns and make yourself indispensable. Find an opportunity in this current environment and go with it. It will change the way your organization looks at BRM forever.
This is less about figuring out how to operate and survive in this new world. It is more about defining what this new world will look like, and how BRM will help get us there.
“May you live in interesting times.” Like it or not, you are there. Use that as fuel to change who you are and what you do.
This is your time.
About the author
Jeff Warren is President of Barkley Consulting Group, a Consulting Firm specializing in helping organizations build, execute, and evolve BRM programs and develop BRM professionals. He has spent over 15 years building and leading BRM programs that deliver real value and lasting success to his clients. Jeff is a frequent coach, guest lecturer, and speaker at industry workshops and conferences.