Don’t Negotiate your BPM Resources as Commodities

Finding the right resources to manage your company’s business processes can be challenging. Are you using the right negotiation techniques to avoid alienating the very resources you are trying to obtain?

Business Process Management, when executed correctly, can bring huge benefits to any company. Situations will present themselves where the right person will be in the right place at the right time to help guide your company’s BPM to reach levels that will give you valued competitive advantage. What are the negotiation tactics which are being used to ensure those rare moments do not slip through your fingers?

Identify and Seize Opportunities

The right resources (i.e. human capital) needed to properly identify BP’s which are lacking, create action items, manage implementation, and analyze results typically are highly skilled individuals. Finding experts at any one of these areas can be a challenge; coming across those which can manage the complete process flow can be similar to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. The first (and potentially the most important) step you can take is to recognize these situations for what they truly are.

BPM resources that can move the needle in your company’s performance need to be viewed as opportunities that must be quickly capitalized upon. Carpe Diem—”seize the day”.

Opportunities vs. Commodities

While it is important to act quickly to avoid missing an opportunity, negotiating for securing the right BPM resources needs to be done with the right mindset. The trick is to use best practices which can be found in the top negotiation training courses. The right techniques will avoid having such valued resources feeling treated as mere commodities.

Some resources and needs are commonplace and, as such, leave a wide-open field as far as negotiation points. For example, good programmers are usually plentiful and do not enjoy the negotiating leverage which a highly prized BPM resource may possess. The right skill sets all in one package is an uncommon finding, and using typical negotiation price leverage such as saving dollars in salary may lead to that resource losing interest. At any given time, your golden performer may simply move on to a different company which will value what their abilities can deliver.

Negotiate with Measured Risk

Being able to break through and secure the best BPM resources is a success for your company that cannot be overstated. All the same, you do need to keep a reasonable handle on what you are truly available to offer.

There is a level of truth when saying “it’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask for permission”. Conversely, you do not want to negotiate away too much at a level where any benefits received will be outweighed by what you had to give up in the first place.

High level executives and entrepreneurs should possess a willingness to assume some risk. Knowing when the level of risk may pass the right level of return-on-investment is an important threshold to identify. “What If?” is a very powerful question and can lead to over-valuing what a resource can ultimately bring in the way of benefits to the BPM efforts of your company.


The right people to manage your business processes are not going to cross your path that often. Rightfully so, these resources are seldom immediately available. So when presented with the chance to bring them onboard you need to act quickly as to not let the opportunity get away from you—and potentially go to one of your competitors.

A high level of importance must be placed on using the right negotiation skills to create an appreciative environment for the abilities which can be provided. Treating important BPM human capital as readily traded (and easily negotiated) goods and assets will lead to devaluation of how their skills can give your company the right competitive advantages.

Lilou Hoffman

Negotiation specialists The Negotiation Experts' site provides posts, Q&A's, negotiation case study analysis, cartoons and definitions. Their mission is to arm trainers, writers and negotiators alike with insights to improve their negotiation knowledge and capabilities.

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