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.

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 CIO’s 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? Vendors have to make money in order to survive and thrive, but are they willing to put their money where their mouth is?

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