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I’m Going To Tell You How To Beat The Golden State Warriors

April 19, 2017

That was the situation I found myself in yesterday. I was invited to Sacramento to meet with my biggest client and their other six suppliers. My role is to be the technical liason between my business, a call center provider and my client. The client is interested in spreading their risk and encouraging competition for their business so they have seven suppliers.

The setup works well for both the client and the supplier. The client protects themself against the dangers of a single supplier. The seven of us have call centers all across the country. Regional weather outages will never effect more than a portion of the total business. And, it’s a great deal us as suppliers because we know that we each have room to grow. The client will continue to expand, but they are also not against rewarding productive suppliers at the expensive of unproductive ones. There’s a measurable advantage to being the #1 supplier.

We are the #1 supplier. We weren’t always #1. We started several years ago as the #7 supplier. It was a pretty good day when my contact told me that in the completely unofficial, but very real stack ranking system, we had finally achieved the rank of #1.

It’s not a position we take lightly and much of my job is spent trying to make sure we stay #1.

And that leads me to my visit to Sacramento. . .with the other six suppliers. I was here to lead a discussion about outage processes. Whenever a piece of the IT infrastructure breaks, it’s my job to make sure it gets fixed as quickly as possible. It’s actually the main purpose of my entire role. And, I do it better than any of their other points of contact at the other supplier.

Rodney, we were wondering if you could help the other suppliers figure out how to do what you do because you are the standard we want them to follow.

This was very gratifying and extremely intimidating. My management team and I discussed it. How do we provide value but not give away the secret sauce? If a big part of being #1 is how well we handle outages, won’t we give up our strategic advantage if we tell the competition how to do what we do?

I finally realized that we had nothing to worry about. I explained that while I would of course, use discretion, I honestly didn’t think there was going to be a problem. And that we could be as transparent as we wanted.

The NBA basketball playoffs started this week. The Utah Jazz are in the playoffs for the first time in five years. They are playing a series against the LA Clippers. The winner faces the Golden State Warriors in the next round. The Golden State Warriors are a great team. They have some great players. And every team in the NBA can tell you exactly how to beat them:

  • Contain Kevin Durant
  • Don’t let Stephen Curry beat you from the 3-point line
  • Have your team score more points than the Warriors do

Now, all you have to do is go out and execute on that strategy. To do that, you need to have the right personnel.

That’s why it won’t matter if we offer up our process. The “secret sauce” isn’t in the recipe, it’s in the ingredients. It’s our people, not our process that sets us apart. Knowing how to beat the Golden State Warriors won’t help you actually beat the Golden State Warriors, unless you have the expertise and the talent to exectuve on the plan.

We had a productive discussion. We talked about escalation trees, and ticketing systems. We discussed tools and response times. And through it all, I shared what was working for us, secure in the knowledge that we not only knew how to beat the Golden State Warriors, but we had the players to do it. . .and they didn’t.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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