The $250,000 Lesson in Risk - Cover

The $250,000 Lesson in Risk

The New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl Champions. As a lifelong NFL fan I never thought I would actually say those words in my lifetime. Well, they are and I have. Generous credit has to be given to the head coach, Sean Payton, who has made all the tough calls in the Big Easy since arriving in 2006.

I could go on about the successful onside kick to start the second half of the biggest game of Payton’s career, the failed 4th and goal attempt a few minutes before, or taking a chance on a young quarterback whose previous season ended with a 360-degree tear to the labrum of his throwing shoulder.

Maybe the gutsiest decision Payton made occurred almost a year ago. Searching for a new defensive coordinator following the 2008 season, Payton had his heart set on Gregg Williams, a defensive coach respected throughout the league. In order to get his guy, Payton voluntarily gave up $250,000 of his own salary to sweeten the deal. It worked. Williams signed with the Saints, turned a soft defense into a real contender, and the rest is history.

What Care Providers Want

At the end of the day Payton was willing to put his money where his mouth was, and it brought a championship to the city. I could make analogies to companies going at risk with clients on projects or offering risk-sharing pricing contracts. Yet many CIOs we speak with say vendors seldom offer what providers want, especially as the economy continues to drag:

Vendors Not Offering What Providers Want

Do your vendors make Payton-type decisions despite the risk? Of course, vendors have to make money in order to survive and thrive, but are they willing to put their money where their mouth is?