In this episode Peter talks to attendees at the BRMConnect conference 2019 in New Orleans. We would like to thank the BRM Institute for the opportunity to record the podcast at the BRMConnect events.


This podcast is sponsored by Lead the Pack Consulting. Welcome to BRM cafe with Peter Lijnse

Peter Lijnse: Welcome to BRM cafe Episode 18. I’m your host Peter Lijnse. This episode was recorded at the BRMConnect conference in New Orleans in October 2019. In this episode, I talked to several of the attendees from the conference about their experiences with the conference. We would like to thank the BRM Institute for the opportunity to record the podcast at the BRMConnect event. Lead The Pack Consulting is a leadership coaching and education company focused on business relationship management in organizations. Contact us if you want to advance your career, improve your team and get better business results. Lead and succeed.

Peter: End of day one at BRMConnect conference and I have some guests here at the podcast to talk about how did they win. So I’m just going to ask everyone to introduce themselves and we’ll start with Leanne.

Leanne McGiveron: Hi, this is Leanne McGiveron and I’m with Purdue University, the College of Agriculture, and I’m the director of BRM.

Gavin Berman: Gavin Berman, lead business partner at the Parliamentary Digital Service in London.

Suresh GP: I’m Suresh GP, Managing Director of TaUB Solutions from India.

Michel Hinton: Michel Hinton, Sentara Healthcare, BRM.

Jenny Snodgrass: Jenny Snodgrass, IT BRM for Sentara Healthcare.

Peter: The first day on BRMConnect. First impressions, anyone? Someone must have something. There are some impressions here, I know that.

Leanne: So I’ll start. I was pleasantly surprised in the increase in attendance. It was great to see the room full and I also was impressed with the diversity, as well as geographical representation. And I think we’re seeing that here on the table of age. So it was just it’s just pretty cool plus, you get to see people you haven’t seen for a year and kind of reconnect, but then there are the new faces also.

Gavin: Yeah, I think the standout for me today was Jeff’s session around design thinking. It resonates just because we’re looking at implementing or service design across the piece in our digital service. So that was giving me plenty of food for thought anyway.

Suresh: For me, the standard today was the first session. I think Danny really nailed the head. I mean, it was so poignant. And the best part was, she just backfilled a keynote speaker. And she did it so authentically well, that it was so powerful and it was a pep start for the BRMConnect. I see she did a phenomenal job. And I’m going to practice that hug for 20 seconds


Peter: Yes, I struggle with that one. Now but it’s absolutely that’s fine I think for the listeners possibly. Unfortunately, the keynote fell ill. And Danny indeed did an amazing job but I’ve seen her do other things. So she was very comfortable with the topic, although she was nervous. But she did a phenomenal job. Absolutely. You know what, this is amazing. I mean, not a lot of people actually would have been able to do that. So absolutely. Yeah, that’s good.

Michel: Yeah, for me, the highlight of the day was the community of interest, the healthcare session. Amazing discussion. Thank you, Jenny, for coordinating that. And it was really about the topics that we all struggled with. It was the same at almost every table. We really collaborated in the discussion and we’re all struggling with the same issues.

Jenny: Yes, for me, being with this was our community focus day, it was the networking and connection that the state has afforded. And as Leanne had touched on the diversity among who’s represented here and like-minded individuals with a common purpose, but yet, what we’re learning from each other in our differences, and just so that networking and connection, I think was just invaluable today. So really appreciated that community focus on day one.

Peter: Can you give me a point where you say that this is what I learned today?

Michel: I think for me, it was an aha moment in our healthcare community. That position and posture of agility that’s needed. The journey that the different health systems as diverse as we may be across the globe and how we’re organized. That understanding that this is one of the hardest roles that many of us have ever filled and then served in, but just that it is so very essential that we remain in a posture of agility and that willingness to just kind of evolve as the discipline, role, and capability does, and requires. So for me, hearing that common requirement, if you will, of us was just really, really helpful to see that across the different health systems.

Peter: So, the community of interest, we’ll talk a little bit about that. Any other things that you found in the community of interest that you said, Hey, this was for me something new or something that you say, you know what, everyone’s struggling with that and I finally found someone who actually can help me with that?

Gavin: So I think for me, it’s just the fact that irrespective of where you come from, your geography, even what industry you’re in, or how long you’ve been doing the job. The struggles that people are facing are similar, if not the same. There’s always someone who can help you out and there’s always someone you can help out as well. So it does what it says on the ten. It’s a community thing that just makes you feel nice at the end of it, really.

Peter: Yeah.

Suresh: I was actually talking to one of the [inaudible]. I just always have the curiosity to talk with people who are coming here for the first time. And I asked this question to them, you know, what do you find different or useful? So, unanimously, I had this conversation about the community of interest that was so good. I thought I was the only guy who was actually struggling, but I was so relieved. All the people of all sorts, struggling, but I said, that’s not the only thing. You have this conversation beyond BRMConnect and you can go there. Yeah, that’s so lovely. It doesn’t look to be like another conference. So I think they made a real trusted connection that we talked about in that community of interest.

Gavin: But I also think that you probably don’t realize until a month or two down the line when you come up with the problem and then you remember something that’s happened here, and it helps you out. So it’s like sitting here now. I’m not sure what that thing is going to be but a couple of months down the line and be, all right, yeah. That’s how–

Peter: Did you have that from the last conference?

Gavin: Yeah, there were loads from San Diego. But yeah, there’s quite. I think there’s a lot that came out of that. I’m so quite keen to come back.

Peter: Yes. You were basically I mean, invited back based on the prize, you actually won. So that was good.

Gavin: Absolutely. I have no choice.

Peter: Now he’s actually figured out to get what he wanted—[Laughter]

Leanne: He left the luggage at home. So the rest of us may have a chance this year. So higher education, I’m thrilled to see an increased numbers in higher education. I think in the last couple of years, we’ve seen a little bit of a decrease in some places, but to see everybody there hanging in there and continuing to move forward, but then also we’re starting to increase and I think that is healthy. But one of the things, as I reflect back, is you know, is there an opportunity now, sorry, to take the community of interest even further, you know, how do we begin to work together? So we still show up as an individual in higher Ed institutions. But we also work in an environment where there are multidisciplinary collaborations. A lot of that’s done, maybe at the university between faculty and different colleges. But often now we’re starting to see that in other institutions. So is there a potential there for BRM? So what if a BRM works with another BRM at another university, who may know of somebody who’s interested in doing a collaboration to solve a problem to create some impact? Are we able to begin to bridge, I guess impact is the right word, but bridge the innovation really to create potentially global solutions. They’re outside just waiting to connect collaborations that are really going to impact society.

Peter: But that even works with all of the communities. But that’s also a little bit often—What if I don’t see–  Okay, universities, healthcare, government, et cetera, are a little bit of a different type of organization than the manufacturing side, et cetera. And I suddenly realized we all have healthcare in government and, et cetera, except us, sure. But the thing is here is that it’s a different type of how you collaborate, how you get things done, et cetera than for instance, in manufacturing, where quite often there’s way more direct control, okay, you need to do this and people do that. And that’s I think, we need to find ways also to learn from the different communities. And that’s I think, we don’t see that here in the community of interest, but it’s why I’ve seen some people actually moved to other communities. It was interesting because we talked to someone that is in healthcare but actually went to the government one because it’s closer for them. In Canada, it’s government-owned possibly, the healthcare side. So then, suddenly, it’s way more interesting to actually listen to the government stories than making healthcare stories. Simply because the healthcare here in the US is always private. Most of it is private. Actually, I found a nonprofit on the internet recently. So I was wondering, What is this? You know, making a profit on health care? So those are some of the things and that’s great. Anyone else for a specific learning point from the community of interest that you say, “Hey, this was great today.”

Suresh: I think they talked about the value proposition. One of the things everybody was struggling with was how do I do value proposition in actual practice? So we had one person from the SCM, Sacramento Municipal. They said they use the BRM box value plan, the trigger points and they said they are actually making it happen. So it was very real for someone to say, they just not only covered the BRMP, but they used whatever was denoted as part of a sample template to do that. So that gives people a lot of confidence in how it goes beyond just the certification, or how we can live rich. So that is, I think, was great. And I also saw that a few people were asking about case study. So I had a talk with Sarah for TELUS. And she was telling that, well, you’re right, as we start to develop, it’s important for us to build a case study. So if each and everyone within the specific domain or interest of community of interest, can build in those case studies, that’s going to be a phenomenal way to penetrate as what we see from across the world. So these were two things for me came out very vividly in the community of interest: one leverage all the templates and stuff. It’s the online campus if you’re doing, the second one is, can we contribute some small piece to the, you know, case study? So these two could be so valuable for all of us to leverage as a group.

Peter: So there were awards today I need to talk about this story. So I have three? I’m just looking at– that I don’t miss anyone. So, Jenny, Suresh and Leanne you all had awards basically, for the work you’ve been doing. Now, you don’t know exactly why you got the award, but I would like to hear a little bit. I mean, Suresh, starting with you, I mean you got the award for trainer.

Suresh: So this is BRM coach/trainer. Yeah. I like the word coach, modern trainer. There’s nothing derogatory about trainer but the value that you get is when your clients see that it’s not transactional. We go beyond that, you know, the engagement that we have had to go back and say, “Okay, we got this BRM or strategic partnering. What did you do after that?” And that I think, is reflecting back, you know, they didn’t leave. I’ve had clients come back and say that, okay, there are very few people who come back after the session is done, your PO is done, your delivery is done, but then you come back, which means you have a genuine interest to do that. Yeah, we are talking about value conversation. If we don’t follow our things, it doesn’t make sense to do that. And I also like the fact that there’s a coaching role formalized within the BRM Institute, which I think is very powerful to go beyond just how to become a strategic partner. So I’m glad that I was one of the nominees for that and to get it so, I’m thankful for that.

Gavin: Sorry Can I just come in on the coach/trainer, but I think what’s so good about the BRM space is that the best trainers are the ones who do have a real interest in BRM. They’re not generic-training doing BRMP. I tell all of those things and then there’s a person who receives the training that makes such a difference.

Peter: Absolutely. I experienced that as well. I mean, as a coach, possibly I’ve seen the results from the connection basically afterward. And it’s actually following a team or individual, basically, it’s moving in towards possibly more success. It’s just extraordinary for us to do as well. Sometimes, like I get coached by people possibly by just talking to them. I mean, I coach people but I also get coached by them. They don’t– I coach Michel and Jenny and they look at me like, You do what? Now, it’s true. It’s always two-way communication you get from both of the boxes. So Leanne you–your team.

Leanne: Yes, thrilled. They’re humble but thrilled. You know, I will always go back, it was the first year and a half, I was on my own trying to figure this out and they joined. And, you know, we’ll ask a lot of them and they always joke that the four most feared words for me are, I have an idea. Because I’m never quite sure what that means. And I post this every once in a while. Sometimes we have to talk it through, ‘cause they’re not– they don’t always go all-in at first but, by the time we talk it through, I might have to tweak it just a little bit, but they do go all-in. And because they go all in, we’re able to move further faster in this place. What we’ve done in the last two and a half years is it has been done because I have the team that I have. And because they’ve been willing to go all in.

Peter: And one of the things that I want to mention, I mean, your annual report is I give it to other older versions, nothing you want. I give it to a lot of people. And every person actually go,  “This is awesome.” And then I asked them back basically, later on, I mean, “Are you building something like that? No, no, we don’t have time for that.” But it is– Not even necessarily the metrics in there, but the success stories, I always use the simple paragraphs of success stories that you have. And every year I’m looking at their success stories and have some like this. This is what people need to do. And I think that is, you built this up over for two years, three years,

Leanne: It’s a simple formula. It’s a problem-response impact. And even if in the beginning, you have lagging indicators for impact, it’s a start. And I will always say, I think we’re in a society or culture right now that everything has to be perfect. Everything has to be completed. Well, you know, if we wait until everything’s perfect, more other opportunities we’re going to miss. So at least start –and that was basically the message last year. At least start with something. And this is an easy formula, so on and so forth. But we’re actually going to be taking it even further. As we get lined up, we can start measuring the qualitative. We have to go through some certifications since we’re in a higher Ed institution as far as the surveys. But as we have some projects coming through, we’re going to be able to follow up now with value statements and then actually be able to report back things like 7 out of 10 faculty had improved confidence in the classroom, due to instructional design consultations, or ten out of ten faculty have –are using the new Ag Data Services and have found that they’re decreasing their time to discovery. Those are the really powerful impact statements. But that also takes maturity. It also takes time to develop, the team develop the program, and work. But the key–the reason I like impact statements is this, it’s not about BRM. The problem is about our business partners so in our case, faculty. The solution is about the partnerships, the convergence, the innovation, but yet, you don’t want to also lose what we’ve done. And so you sneak in there one or two sentences about what BRM did as a response. But what you end up though is, “Here’s the problem, here’s the solution. Oh, yeah– by the way…” We were part of that. And I think that’s why the formula works so well and it’s actually used by the Cooperative Extension Service nationwide. Its how extension does federal reporting every year and also research. And it’s easy for our administrators to understand, when you know, when I first started, we were talking about value when starting to –and I mean, these are impact statements. And it just makes sense to use this format.

Peter: Great, anyone has any questions for Leanne?

Suresh: I just wanted to know, in addition to this award, she won the Army Award, which is like the Oscar for BRM student, I would say she deserves it thoroughly for two reasons. One, she has built a team from scratch, and you could see the kind of work Crystal and Mark have done together. But I think, to be honest, it’s the kind of leadership she had done. She led from the front and she always was, you know, happy for the team to come through. So that resonated in everything. The last time was the first time I met her or last to last year. But I could see visibly like when wherever point we were, it felt like we’re a part of the whole journey. So I think she had made that balance. She deserved the Army’s award show. Hats off to that.

Leanne: Oh, Thank you.

Peter: And you’re also very active in the BRM. Yeah, that counts as well.

Leanne: And then we’ve got people around the table that are active and–

Peter: Yeah, but there’s next year. So don’t worry. You can’t win it in the first year. You have to do…

Leanne: Jenny you’re leading a couple of things. And so–

Peter: But she won an award just now.

Leanne: Before I claim it, we send it over to you so about volunteering for the Institute. So there’s always going to be a little bit of self–something there. And I want I wanted access to the information faster. And so sometimes, in order to receive, one has to give. It really becomes a two-way street. And it’s not just the information. I mean, it’s meeting people, it’s interacting, you know, you get until you receive so much more, sometimes, than you give. And if you go all-in, I mean, when you come to conferences like this. But even outside, we’ve been changing it, I mean, the Indiana group that meets geographically now has just really exploded and we’re all in this together. We’re all part of the BRM tribe and it’s just nice to have people there, but yeah. Congratulations Jenny.

Jenny: Thank you. Grateful is probably the best word to describe. Just being recognized for something that I feel is so meaningful like you, Leanne, I entered into the online community really with the purpose of desiring the content, the conversation, the networking, and what it quickly evolved to is really just the desire to connect my personal purpose to the organizational purpose which is within my role of BRM in that function, and it quickly began to become a global purpose as well. And so being involved in the various initiatives in the community of interest for healthcare, it really has offered an opportunity for global impact far beyond what I could have ever imagined. And I hope, if anything, what people took away from the recognition today is simply to just be inspired to do more, to be more, and to get involved. Tremendous opportunities I had.

Peter: Yeah, both you and Michel, you work for Sentera and you got nominated twice. So–

Jenny: Go, team!

Peter: No, you did very well. But that’s indeed part of that as well. Every year we see, and it’s always unfortunate that we see the ones that get the award, but I see the list of people that are there. And it was actually good to see how many companies basically were there, how many organizations basically were there. So I love that. One of the things I noticed, and this is close to my heart basically, is the amount of time we’re now talking about value and how important it is. Is more than 2 years ago, even 3 years ago, et cetera. Do you see that as well? We’re talking more important about value? I heard it from the community of interest, even debrief that a lot of people actually said is about value. Do you see that as well Gavin?

Gavin: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just more of a conversation outside of this organization and outside of the conference as well. Some people are thinking about it more and more, not always knowing quite how to measure it? Particularly in the public sector when it’s not all about pounds and dollars. But, yeah, the conversations are certainly happening more and more often in more and more places.

Peter: Michel, you see that as well?

Michel: I do and I’m just wondering what is happening globally. In terms of other industries, markets, whatever. People are looking, what is the minimal thing I can do to drive the most value in my life, in my business, you know, in my industry. So it’s just carrying over and I think that’s why we’re seeing such an increase in the BRM methodology and adaption because everybody wants to go that direction.

Peter: Purpose. It’s being promoted by BRM institute and there’s more coming actually. There’s the philosophy statement that Danny made this morning. The relationship is what now was introduced and it’s interesting to see I mean, I’ve been starting to look at, okay, what is that future basically and it looks good, Don’t worry. Tomorrow, a presentation on the future. People have asked me out, is there a future? Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t worry.

Suresh: I’m looking forward to hearing that because he’s going to predict like [inaudible]. Yeah, we have to be there in the session. People are giving us some tips.

Peter: I’ll talk about predictions and how they don’t work. No, but it’s interesting. So, as a close, just a quick around-the-table, possibly one word and maybe a description of why that word that if you look at a first day, who wants to start? I’m not going to point.


Suresh: Empathy. It’s all about getting that connections. Trusted connections can only come when you have empathy. And it’s so powerful. We have to go beyond that and look inward. So I think that is a very powerful message that I want to carry and hold it to the heart. Because you need to be humble and that’s so important to build connections. So that’s my pick of word. Sorry, I had to grab it first.

Peter: No, that’s good. So no one else can grab it now. So you need to find [inaudible] if you had it. Anyone else? All of you are going to find a word.

Gavin: Okay, well, I think I’ll go with community just because obviously coming back here now and you realize how big a community in growing like Leanne said, but also then thinking globally about the BRM Institute generally but then also our local communities of interest and how useful they are to utilize obviously for today and during the conference, but then making sure you keep hold of that community when you’re not here at conference.

Michel: My word would be purpose. I see it as the lighthouse of the journey that we’re on as BRMs.

Peter: It’s very deep.

Michel: We had a lot of conversation in the healthcare community today about the journey that a lot of commonality around the purpose and what keeps us focused on what we do every day and moving forward. So it just resonated with me. It really did. Inspirational. Ready to go back and apply some of these things and reconnect when I do get back and reach out to the community and keep going forward. Inspirational.

Peter: Inspirational.

Leanne: I’ll go with impact. I just think that we’re just on the forefront of all this. But where I really see the power alluded to it earlier is funfests that as BRMs, if we can figure out even how to work together, think of some of the societal impact that we can make globally. I mean, if we do our thing, and we’re trying to solve things like global hunger, climate change, so on and so forth. Well as individuals, we can have impact in there. But if we can bring companies together, people working in this area that may be in England, maybe in India, few States away, and get them connected, because that’s what we do. Think of the potential.

Peter: I speak to a lot of different attendees based of the role I have and my word is, succeeding. I see lots of groups succeeding in the BRM role and driving forward. And I’m so glad to see that. I mean we had, a couple of years ago, there were lots of groups that were still struggling and don’t know what really what I’m doing and I’m still not, though. I hear more and more success stories. And that is the community helping each other. I mean, the providers are doing a better job of helping them and I think it becomes clearer and I think that for me, that success, is actually going to drive it. That’s for me, that’s basically that’s what I see. So thank you very much for being willing to record yourself basically here. You will hear yourself back and say, “Did I say that?” But, thank you very much for participating in this and I’m looking forward to day two.


Audience: Thank you, peter.

This podcast is sponsored by Lead The Pack Consulting. Let’s meet again at the next BRM cafe.