My BRM Journey: Kip Fanta

OpinionPosted | Category: BRM Community, Relationshipism | Contributed

Hands meeting in the middle

It’s been quite the ride since I was first introduced to Business Relationship Management (BRM) Institute back in October 2016 at a conference in Banff. My warm welcome by two co-founders in attendance, (Aaron Barnes and Vaughan Merlyn), the passionate team from the Institute, supportive vendor partners, and other members of the single global BRM community, I knew I had found a great home. I jumped in right away, and it’s been an exciting adventure since then

Now, several years later, I still tell everyone I meet that I believe the best is yet to come. The best of what? Well, the best of what BRM can bring to enable people and organizations to be at the their very best. And the discipline, the acronym BRM, it continually reminds me why I enjoy this area so much….it’s about ‘B’, business, and the ‘R’, relationships.

As I like to say, it’s not about the ‘function’. it’s about ‘business’.

Moreover, it’s not about having strong ‘contacts,’ it’s about building trusted, strategic relationships. Perhaps nothing highlights the importance relationships play in the future of business than through the concept of Relationshipism.

What gives me this confidence about the future?

Well, it’s the wonderful experiences with many in the coaching, training, workshops, and in my general consulting work that foster this belief. I thought I’d share a summary of a few things I’m seeing right now as organizations around the globe move more and more in this exciting area

The C-Suite gets it!

With the help of the Executive Brief offering, along with the other Introductory offering, BRM Fundamentals, and then with the introduction of the Strategic Partnering Approach (SPA) Workshop, more opportunities than ever before are open for executives to engage and understand how to advance their existing BRM capabilities.

While individuals may immediately jump into training and certification, the smart organizations and leaders are approaching their entire BRM effort in a much more strategic way.

If you’re lucky, your C-Suite is driving it. If not, the good news is that there’s not a smart C-Suite out there that would not ‘get this’…and your only job is to bring it to them.

It’s all you read these days, per the need to evolve their organizations and businesses from the 20th century siloed approach of merely being service providers. Well, there’s nothing better than the discipline, capabilities, and roles related to BRM to be at the heart of that evolution. Just the metaphors alone, per ‘connector’, ‘navigator’, and ‘orchestrator’ speak volumes to what company leadership must begin to see.

Think entire ‘partner supply chain’

My friend, Gary Hardy (IT Winners) and I discuss this idea all the time as we’re excited about BRM because the scope is so much bigger than many are even thinking about right now. Most are working on this ‘within their enterprise’, but that’s jut the beginning.

From my own experience as a BRM, I applied the capabilities, skills, and important mindsets to how I managed our vendors, particularly our more strategic ones.

The world doesn’t need more vendors (just taking orders), it needs partners. The world doesn’t need more customers/accounts (being simply ‘sold to’), it needs partners. Do not just sell something, partner and provide a life lasting value-added experience and purposeful results.

So many are showing up completely missing this, but just think of how we can apply BRM across the entire ‘partner supply chain’. Then, you can begin to understand my excitement about the future.

Bring your ‘AND’ mindset

Many tell me, ‘Kip, until we get our core capabilities and operations fixed or at least to a stable level, we’re not ready for this BRM stuff.’ I get it. And indeed, there’s no one that should tell you that it’s not going to be harder if your function is still working on the basics. You must focus there, on the basics…AND you must begin to create a vision, begin to evolve culture to build new capabilities/skills.

Moreover, you must make important steps forward to ensure you are setting yourself up to add value as a strategic partner. There’s no time to wait! Far too many are losing relevance every day, becoming more of a commodity function, not being asked to be part of the larger strategic discussions for driving the company forward.

So, yes, we must continue to work very hard and efficiently at improving our services/capabilities, but guess what, BRM also brings great insight on how best to do that as well.

Yes, we must continue to drive down costs….BUT…while we drive down costs, the conversations need to shift and also we must begin to drive more VALUE.

Yes, we must continue to be the champions of our function….AND…we must get a lot better about understanding and engaging in the larger business strategies within our company.

This is not about letting go of who we are, but rather adding new tools on the tool belt and moving into a fresh and exciting new time for the function.

BRM evolves culture, builds partnerships, drives value and satisfies purpose. BRM is picking up across every part of the world, and yet, so many are still in need of hearing about what it can bring. If you’re reading this, I’m so glad to know you’re part of this exciting journey, and if not yet, I hope you will join this movement towards building strategic relationships, evolving culture, driving business value, and satisfying purpose. The best is yet to come!

Kip Fanta is the Principal at the Kip Fanta Group ( He established his company to inspire and enable leaders at all levels, in addition to help IT and all functional providers (internal and external) become more strategic with their business partners. Kip is a Certified Business Relationship Manager (CBRM) and Registered Provider (RP) with Business Relationship Management (BRM) Institute. He is excited to bring all the offerings found on the Knowledge Path to Success (KPTS) for BRM, and spends a lot of time consulting and coaching BRMs as they implement BRM within their companies. Prior to taking a step out on his own, Kipspent 25 years within the IT and Shared Services organization within Procter & Gamble (P&G). During his time at P&G, Kip’s roles included working up to one of the more senior and global BRM roles for one of P&G’s business units. Additionally, he held roles within Service Management, SAP Development, Manufacturing IT, Customer Teams, and Internal Audit that provided opportunities to work across the globe. Kip is frequently called upon to moderate, emcee, and speak at all type of meetings.

Kip Fanta

Principal, Kip Fanta Group

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