Finding the Tipping Point for BPM

The Stickiness of the Message

How do you develop the message so that people will listen and take action?  Making the message stick is probably the most dificult challenge and will likely need a try and tweak approach since every situation is different. Gaining a thorough understanding of BPM will help you tweak the message to focus on the benefits of BPM in the context you have identified.  Avoid trying to sell BPM as a software or methodology solution.  BPM software provides the tools so that companies can achieve more robust BPM results but only a tool.  Focusing on BPM as a methodology can also be a problem since to many methodologies come and go.  The key focus of the message should be on implementing a program for continuous process improvement.   

Focused Effort

Choose one project and focus your sales and change efforts on that process.  The process should be one with problems or desired results significant enough to already have the attention of senior management.  For example, it may be a known fact that the organization needs to integrate functional areas to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and compete.  By selling BPM as a means to develop the best future state process to implement the integration, you are proposing a solution to a problem that already has been recognized.

Tips for choosing your first Project:

The following are just a few tips to help you choose your first BPM project.

  • Choose a medium sized process that only crosses a couple of functional areas that your Messenger has some degree of authority and influence over. 
  • The process problems should have a sufficiently high profile to help support selling BPM and so that success will provide momentum for additional process work. 
  • Avoid situations and processes that are embroiled in political battles.  Unless your messenger is powerful enough and willing to make tough decisions, it will be very difficult to achieve success over the politics. 
  • Avoid over-promising.  Focus on small incremental changes that add up over time.  A time frame of less than three months for the initial stage and a project that is self funding is ideal. 

We hope this helps you find the Tipping Point for BPM within your organization. If we at BPM3 Inc. can be of any assistance or if you would like to learn more about the BPM training we offer, please contact us.  

The most frequent question we hear is "How do I get Buy-in for BPM?

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book "The Tipping Point", explores 4 concepts for achieving the magic moment when an idea or trend starts to spread.  Those concepts "The Messenger, the Context, the Stickiness of the Message, and a Focused Effort" can readily be applied to Selling BPM.  We hope the following tips will help you apply these concepts in selling BPM within your organization whether it is your first or 10th BPM initiative.

Find the Right Messenger (Typically the Messenger is the BPM Champion)

Finding the right messenger is critical if you do not have the power or authority to be the messenger yourself.  The Messenger does not have to be the CEO but it does need to be someone in Senior Management who also has social power within the organization, in other words an influencer.  In every organization, there are a few people on the senior managment team who are more highly respected and recognized for getting things done.  Both peers and employees across the organization seek out and listen to these individuals even though they may not report to them.  These are the best candidates for Messengers.  Determining which of these individuals to approach depends on the role they have within the organization.  The best candidates are those who are directly involved with operational areas and have challenges or issues that BPM can help solve.  Once you have identified the possible candidate, the following 3 concepts apply to convincing the candidate to become the Messenger or BPM Champion as well as selling BPM across the organization.     

Setting the Context

It is important to sell a solution to a problem rather than the BPM methodology or software.  Identify the nature of the problem (service complaints, inefficiency, new systems, need to integrate, etc.) the area is faced with and position your message around how BPM can help resolve or improve the situation.  Make sure your message is in the context of their situation.  Provide both internal and external examples that the individual or group can relate to and will benefit from.