I love how Business Relationship Management (BRM) can bring leadership to organizations. Through this leadership I see BRM as one of the ways organizations can succeed to achieve their their purpose and business results.  

The challenge for BRM teams is that they often drive new ways of working in organizations, which can be uncomfortable for executive management. The Business Relationship Managers (BRMs) are able to influence people and use their personal power to make things happen, without the need for hierarchical control. If executive management does not support this, they will feel the need to be on top of it and control the team. This could lead to slowing down decision-making, less access for Business Relationship Managers to key people in the organization and frustration. Without the right executive support, it is difficult for BRM teams to be successful.

But what about the management’s perspective on a BRM team. They do not know exactly what the BRM team is doing and this results in the most common reaction from leadership to put controls around this. BRM Teams are not always good at communicating the value they bring to the organization. Management wants to direct and control the BRM team, like they try to do this with any other team. The BRM teams need executive support, not control. The need for control is coming from a lack of trust in the BRM team. When BRMs build better relationships with their management teams, we often see the need for control reduced. 

This often results in questions from executives like these:

  • How to measure my BRM team?
  • How to build a value management process?
  • How to build a standard approach for ideation?
  • What is the best way to structure my BRM team? 
  • What are the services my BRM team will deliver? (Don’t ever ask this question, BRM teams do NOT deliver services)

This often feels restrictive to the BRM team. It distills down to “just follow the process” and keep reporting exactly what you do. This is directly coming back to that lack of trust.

I am not saying these are not valid questions, that do not need an answer. But most of these questions come from how we can control this team, not how can we SUPPORT this team. More supportive questions from management would be:

  • What are the success stories of the BRM team and how can I support these? (communicate success)
  • What support do you need from me as an executive in making decisions around value? (understand value and sequencing)
  • Do we have different ways of approaching ideation and the complexity around this? Where do I need to be involved? (role of management team in ideation)
  • Can the BRM team provide insight where we need to focus on building strategic partnerships? (fluidity of teams and approaches)
  • How can I help the BRM team and the organization? Do you have the right information to be successful? (what is my role in BRM)

Executive support is required. If you need more information about the role of executive management in the BRM Team, contact us to discuss how an executive brief can help your organization to focus on the right elements.