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  • Writer's pictureWhitney Kippes

TLDR, process is everything

This week in things that made me appalled:

"When measuring business development success, it’s not about the process—it’s about winning. Winning means outscoring your opponent. How you get there is less important than getting there."

- Brad Douglas, EVP Global Strategy, Shipley Associates

How do you get to be an executive vice president at Shipley Associates, arguably the leader in business development training, and not understand what a flawed and illogical statement this is? I'm calling this out. Whoever Brad Douglas is, he's missed the point.


Process is how you win.

Process is having systems in place so you make sure you are always scoring maximum points.

Process is having reviews with structure.

Process is how you ensure quality.

Process is how you make sure you aren't killing your staff to get there.

Process is documenting how you won last time so you can do it again.

Process is documenting how you lost last time so you can fix the flaws they found.

Process is ensuring that winning is replicable, scale-able, and sustainable.

If you haven't figured out that process is essential to winning, you've fundamentally misunderstood what makes a high quality business development machine. Sure - process alone doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to win every time.

Brad Douglas's argument was this - milestones matter. Decision gates matter. But how do you ensure that a proposal is of a certain quality without having a process in place to ensure it makes it to that milestone? How you get there matters.

Winning without understanding your process to get there - and get there again and again - is just luck. And basing a fundraising and business development strategy on luck is just stupid.

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