Why scrap shipbuilding strategy? Improved outcomes starts with open communications and transparency

“That project was awarded to the Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard. The briefing assigned no blame but suggested there were improvements the B.C.-based shipbuilder could make . . . “Vancouver Shipyards needed to find skilled staff, establish capability to increase design work and learn how to use new facilities,” the briefing material said.” – CBC News, November 25th, 2015

As I read the above excerpt from a recent newspaper article in which it was reported that costs related to the national shipbuilding procurement strategy (NSPS) had “ballooned” by the billions of dollars, it would be reasonable to wonder what happened?

Was there a breakdown in communication, or a lack of understanding relating to what was and was not actually possible, that led to the project coming in at 181 percent over budget?

Simply put, in formulating its “procurement strategy” through which partners such as Seaspan were engaged, were the government and its industry partners too eager to make a move in a particular direction? Did they make key decisions before they had a true handle on either the scope of the project, or its eventual cost?

Once again, and coming in at 181 percent over expected budget, one could be excused for thinking that this was the case. To a certain degree – at least in relation to the last paragraph, this would be a fair conclusion.

But does it bring us any closer to a real understanding of why it happened, and more importantly, how we can prevent it from happening again in the future?

In this regard, I would like to refer to an Ottawa Citizen article by former ADM MAT Alan Williams.

According to Williams, the government should scrap its plan – in fact the entire NSPS strategy, in favor of a return to the way things had been done in the past. Specifically, utilize DND personnel to write the statements of requirements that will achieve the needed balance between effectively describing the military’s needs while, enabling the private sector to bid a fixed or certain price.

While Williams’ approach may at first glance, seem reasonable, there are some problematic gaps in terms of what he is recommending.

To start – and this should come as no surprise to anyone who has read my blog or, attended my seminars, it is virtually impossible to reliably establish a set requirement without taking into account that both our needs and/or the product or service offering of the vendor will inevitably evolve over time.

Beta Versus VHS

Think about what I am saying from the standpoint of an everyday situation.

Many of you will likely remember when both Beta and VHS first came out.

They were clearly different formats that were not interchangeable. This meant that when you chose one over the other, you were in reality locked in to that choice.

However, and before making your final decision of which technology to buy, you likely did some research into the differences between the two, in an effort to determine which format would best suit your needs both now and in the future. In short, you made your decision based upon the best information that was available at that time.

Shipbuilding Options

What happened to everyone who chose Beta?

In choosing Beta, did you make a bad decision? Did you make a mistake?

Perhaps you can take solace in the fact that even VHS was eventually replaced by newer and more advanced technology.

The point is this; wouldn’t it have made sense to pursue a certain course of action today, while keeping your options open for the future relative to any unforeseen changes in the market?

For example, what if you purchased your Beta system from the vendor, with the understanding that you could trade in the unit and exchange your library of movies at a future date, and do so at a preferred price?

I realize that this is an overly simplistic example, but it does effectively illustrate my point regarding the problems with locking in both the buyer and vendor into a set course of action. Particularly when it involves complex technologies and long term contracts that can span years and even decades.

Now I do not want you to misinterpret by position regarding the Williams suggestion as an indication that I am fully supportive of the NSPS approach. It clearly has its shortcomings. This being said, I do believe that the NSPS strategy has its strong points, and is therefore good for Canada.

For example, it does facilitate government intervention with regard to creating a sustainable supply chain. The NSPS strategy also stimulates economic activity and opportunities, that would otherwise have been missed under the transactional model that Williams is proposing.

What this means is that rather than trying to tighten specifications and hold vendor feet to the proverbial flame, we need to work towards creating a more consultative and collaborative engagement mechanism between government and private industry.

Once again, this is something that is not possible under the ever elusive certainty model that Williams is proposing.

While Williams and perhaps even the Central Agencies want us to think that they operate in a world of absolutes in which there is a high degree of certainty in costs and outcomes, nothing can be further from the truth. The fact is, there is no such thing as absolutes – especially when it comes to building new aircraft, new warships or for that matter any complex acquisitions for which either new supply chains must be established or, an economic activity created.

Now at this point, some might be inclined to point to LCC analysis models as a solution to the problem. While there is no doubt that LCC analysis will enable management to understand the total cost of ownership, it is not a cost prediction tool.

A more reasonable approach to addressing budget overruns is to accept the fact that with complex initiatives, absolutes do not exist until after the fact. It is the immutable 20-20 hindsight rule of the procurement world.

Within this context, it would make far more sense to openly say that we do not know what the exact cost and benefit will be at this time however, it would be reasonable to establish a target of say $30 billion in cost, and $50 billion in potential benefits.

As we progress further through the process we are, at set time intervals, committed to establishing a communication and reporting discipline involving all stakeholders. It is at these points of open engagement that we will be able to gain more certainty regarding costs as well as the related economic and industrial benefits. In short, the present information vacuum that exists between project announcement and the revelation of a 181 percent budget overrun will be eliminated, and with it the shock leading to a futile exercise in finger pointing, and what went wrong lamentations.

What I am really talking about is managing a collaborative process as opposed to executing an adversarial transaction.

If the government really wants to achieve a different outcome, then they have to move beyond the adversarial matrix of a transactional orientation in which the buyer’s role is limited to project monitoring and contract enforcement.

Shipbuilding transparency2

This means that they will have to adopt a radically different yet undeniably proven mindset, that is based on a collaborative approach that drives ongoing alignment with project goals, and open communication.

The real question this raises is whether or not TBS, PSPC, IC and Program owners are ready to become relational in their thinking and approach.


Understanding the Changes in Defence Spending by Andy Akrouche

When news broke earlier this month that there were major changes being implemented regarding Defence spending in Canada, no one was really surprised.  Change as they say was inevitable.

The question is what does it really mean?

Over the next week I will be posting several articles that will provide what I believe will be an unprecedented look at why these changes happened and even more importantly, what we can expect in terms of both immediate as well as long-term outcomes.

In the meantime, and in referencing PWGSC Minister Diane Finley’s comment regarding the need to engage Canadian businesses in the defence spending process, the following video excerpt from my Relationships First webinar series explains the why and how of an effective Industrial Regional Benefit policy.

Click anywhere on image to play video . . .

Click anywhere on image to play video . . .


The Relational Divide: Why CGI HealthCare.gov experience reflects more about the contracting process than the company itself by Andy Akrouche

I read with interest the January 14th Wall Street Journal article “Accenture to Take Over Fixing HealthCare.gov Website” by Stephanie Armour, in which it was announced that CGI’s contract with the Federal U.S. Government would not be renewed.

Even though the loss of the contract was small in terms of CGI’s overall revenue, what likely stings the most is the perception that blame for the highly publicized challenges with the new website was the sole responsibility of the Montreal-based consulting firm.

But does this conclusion reflect the true story?

One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years, is that when faced with the opportunity to enter into a true partnership based on a shared mission and purpose there really is no other alternative. You must choose to collaborate.  Unfortunately and as repeatedly demonstrated by so many initiatives in both the public and private sector, collaboration is an afterthought when it comes to the contracting process.

In the following excerpt from Relationships First: The New Relationship Paradigm in Contracting, I talk about why initiatives – and more specifically relationships – such as the one involving the HealthCare.gov website go off the rails:

Why Do the Majority of Outsourcing Initiatives Fail?

Despite industry’s best efforts to modernize and professionalize sourcing practices, project management and service delivery methods, 70% of significant business relationships or large projects do not meet their objectives.

This is because organizations in both the public and private sector continue to rely on outsourcing partners who provide services based on a static requirement that is established at a specific point in time. Relationships that are structured around this approach inevitably fail because a ‘single transaction’ approach does not allow for the natural evolution of needs and stakeholder capabilities.

These issues are further exacerbated by ‘futuresourcing’ which takes place when new service requirement capabilities are introduced in the absence of client or vendor experience.

Even with the promise of significant up-front reductions in operating costs, vendor responses to ‘futuresourcing’ bid requests are speculative and often tied to a ‘let’s win the business first and worry about making it work afterwards’ mindset.

As discussed in Section I, the failed relationship between the U.S. Navy and EDS demonstrates the folly of this approach. Yet it continues to be the norm in the industry.

In order to reverse this trend, we must change our mindset around contracting and contract governance. We have to think in terms of being ‘relational’.

In my book I go into great detail in terms of what it means to be relational.  For the purposes of this post I will say that without a relational framework collaboration is a virtual impossibility.  And this is where the challenges with the creation and launch of the HealthCare.gov website likely originate.

The fact is that this was an extremely complex undertaking, which meant that traditional contract governance models would prove to be ineffective in creating the kind of collaborative framework that would have been necessary to address the website challenges in a timely and cost effective manner.

The real question going forward is simply this . . . has Accenture been set-up for success or failure?  If the same engagement process that was used to originally create the relationship with CGI was also used to select Accenture, how can we expect a different outcome?  This of course is the real story behind the headlines.

Over the coming weeks and months we will likely learn the answer – at least in part – to this last question.

CGI post HealthCare


Ministry of Defence privatization plans: Setting up stakeholders for failure or success? by Andy Akrouche

We are all familiar with quotes such as “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Even though the announcement that the Ministry of Defence’s plans to privatize its troubled procurement process would be scrapped has been anticipated for the past couple of weeks, when news of the initiative’s demise had finally materialized it was nonetheless noteworthy.  Especially with its detractors whose refrain “I told you so,” could be heard clear across the Atlantic.

Click here to check out Relationships First, to find out what MoD could have done differently . . .

Click here to check out Relationships First, to fund out what MoD could have done differently . . .

While I am not one to echo those same sentiments, it should probably come as no surprise to anyone, especially those who have attended my seminars or read my book, that I am all for outsourcing.  However, I am also a strong believer that the public sector cannot simply outsource its responsibility and accountability for the delivery of a service it is legally mandated to deliver.  Nor do I believe that it can successfully transfer and wash their hands of the associated risks of its duties to a private entity.

Within this context, the outsourcing of these complex business processes to the private sector can work if they are structured as a partnership, and in a manner that maximizes shared insight and learning on an ongoing basis.  This is especially true when it comes to establishing the criteria by which success will be measured and modified both now and throughout the life of the relationship.

Unfortunately, and as experience has shown us time and again, said partnerships cannot be borne out of a strategy that is designed around a transactional mindset that is myopically focused on circumstances in the here and now only.

Nowhere is this precept more critical than it is when an organization attempts to outsource the purchasing process.

Procurement affects the whole operation.  It is the place where if you apply a change in one area, it will almost certainly have to varying degrees, a dramatic impact on all areas of the organization.  As a result, you have to be extremely careful not to misconstrue your objectives and misinterpret the corresponding results.

For example, realizing a lower cost on a particular product is not tantamount to realizing an improved collective or enterprise-wide outcome.  In fact, it could mean arriving at a worse outcome for the very same stakeholders you are attempting to satisfy.  After all, a gain in one area should not be achieved at the expense of another area of the program.

This is another key point, in that a “disconnect” of this nature – particularly when it extends to include an external partner – will ultimately come back to hurt the entire program and nullify the anticipated benefit.  I call this the unintended consequence factor.

In the case of MoD, the desire to address the known challenges with the procurement process is laudable.   However, and by relying on the same broken procurement regime to both analyze and source the new arrangement in the hope that it will deliver a different result, is where the program went wrong.

A new more adaptive approach is needed, that takes into account not only the factors that are known today as well as identifying any unknowns through a proper industry analysis, but maintains a relational ability to recognize and respond to future changes.

What do I mean by a relational ability?  Quite simply, it means that all stakeholders are a party to both the understanding and establishment of the collective goals and outcomes of the relationship.  The only way to accomplish this is through an effective engagement mechanism that focuses on the selection of partners based on strategic fit.  Specifically, you must select those partners who are able to work with you to deliver your known set of deliverables and, are also strategically positioned to work with you to manage the known unknown variables that will invariably crop up up down the road.

I completely agree that MoD should retain advisors that can help them innovative/renovate their process.  But they need to properly source the relationships that are necessary to fix the present procurement function within the government, instead of simply outsourcing their problems and a set of arbitrary objectives that will likely set their third-party partner up for failure rather than success.

In short, they have to build their capability and capacity to source relationships as opposed to transactions or deals.


The truth about Public-Private Partnerships by Andy Akrouche (Part 2 of 3)

In yesterday’s Part 1 post (The truth about Private Public Partnerships) Colin Cram provided some much needed insight in terms of both the promise and the failings associated with Private-Public Partnerships or PPP-driven initiatives.

Cram, who has served in the public sector at the senior executive level for more than 30 years, is obviously familiar with PPPs.  As a result, he adeptly points out the unquestionable benefits in terms of the public sector getting facilities, hospitals, roads or prisons built without upfront investment.  The challenge however is not in the promise of an end result but in the management of expectations, returns and ultimately relationships.

This last point has proven to be the major stumbling block that has derailed many PPP-driven programs.

The problems according to Cram originate with the process for negotiating what he refers to as being complex and inflexible “consortium” contracts.  Then through what he considers to be the ineffective decentralized management of disjointed objectives, PPP relationships usually denigrate into a self-serving abyss of unrealized outcomes.

In other words, in the rush to capitalize on complementary strengths and individual gains, PPP stakeholders overlook the most important elements of a successful partnership, which is the Relationship governance model.

This is why recent announcements of relationship-based PPP legislation in states such as Florida are very interesting.

While I applaud Florida’s Governor for seemingly walking away from the traditional transaction oriented mindset that governed past initiatives, I cannot help but wonder how the new legislation in and of itself will foster a more collaborative or relationship oriented approach.

Certainly the intent for a practical and manageable governance model exists as demonstrated by the following legislative requirements associated with Florida’s HB 85 PPP Bill:

·         The legislation requires that the responsible public entity ensures that provisions are made for the private entity’s performance and safeguards the most efficient pricing.

·         The legislation provides for protections that will ensure that provisions are made for the transfer of the private entity’s obligations if the comprehensive agreement is terminated or a material default occurs.

·         Additionally, there is an assurance that the public entity must perform an independent analysis of the proposed public-private partnership that demonstrates the cost-effectiveness and overall public benefit.

Once again, the above requirements or elements of the new Bill   ̶   if read correctly   ̶   are laudable, as they actually reflect the insight versus oversight process associated with the SRS relationship-based model.

For those who may not be familiar with the SRS relational model, it is a model that advocates an evolutionary approach to relationships by ensuring that stakeholder expectations, priorities and needs are properly aligned with present day realities on an ongoing basis.

In the previous post Colin Cram pointed to the importance of this ongoing adaptability when he made reference to the inflexibility of traditional contracts and the difficulty in seeing many years into the future.  The fact is that attempting to structure a deal based on an initial set of assumptions and plans limited to what we know in the here and now is a recipe for disaster.

What is required is a dynamic model that is responsive to change, as opposed to a rigid and inherently adversarial static transactional model.  This of course is the key to creating a truly collaborative and adaptable governance framework in which all stakeholders benefit according to their different yet inextricably linked objectives.

As the Florida Bill is likely to be used as a reference point for other states, let’s examine the key elements or requirements in greater detail.

With regard to the first point, when we talk about the need for ensuring that provisions are made for the private entity’s performance and safeguarding the most efficient pricing, what we are really discussing is the need to pursue dynamic relationships as opposed to transactional engagements based solely on present day assumptions.  More specifically, this means that the legislation requires a continuous alignment throughout the entire relationship, and not just at the beginning by way of the traditional “carved in stone and signed in blood bankable” P3 agreements with which we are most familiar.

In terms of providing the protection referenced in the second point by way of provisions which ensure the transfer of the private entity’s obligations should the agreement be terminated or a material default occur, this quite simply refers to an executable “off ramp.”   An executable off-ramp provides the means by which the relationship would be terminated in the event that the strategic fit between stakeholders ceases to exist.  Interestingly enough, the likelihood that a strategic fit will endure over the life of the contract should be established as part of the original sourcing process utilizing the certainty score evaluation methodology associated with the SRS relational model.

Finally, Florida’s Governor wants to make certain that there is a high degree of accountability in terms of whether or not the public-private partnership is actually delivering value.  This is why the third point is so important.  Traditionally, and for those familiar with the P3 planning process, a public sector comparator case or PSC is initially used to financially justify an acquisition or initiative that excludes the private sector “partner” element.   Once the PSC case has been built, a Value for Money or VfM assessment is undertaken to determine the impact that the introduction of a private sector partner would have on the same acquisition or initiative.  The hope is that the outcome of the VfM assessment will justify a Public-Private Partnership.  The inherent flaw with the above assessment process is that it attempts to get an accurate read on the nature of the relationship 20 to 30 years down the road based solely on assumptions in the here and now.  As Colin Cram pointed out in Part 1 of this series, many fail to recognise beforehand or erroneously believe they have the expertise to effectively see into the future.  Unfortunately they do not, which ultimately results in a sub-optimal project or even worse, a near disastrous one.

The only way the Governor and the State of Florida can realize the true and full value of a Public-Private Partnership, is to ensure that the VfM assessment is linked to an ongoing or continuous management and realignment process.  As allude to earlier, an insight as opposed to oversight process that is focused directly on improving the outcome and performance of the relationship.

In the third and final part in this series, I will share with you a set of practical steps to form and manage a dynamic public-private relationship.

Remember to also check out the advanced publisher’s eBook and hard copy versions of my new book Relationships First! The New Paradigm in Contract Management (see below).

Click to purchase Relationships First!

Click to purchase Relationships First!


Relationship Contracting Expert: Questionnaire on CF-18 Hornet replacement dubious at best by Jon Hansen

In relation to the proposed framework, there is nothing that one couldn’t find readily available in a managerial or financial accounting academic textbook. As a tax payer, I hope I didn’t pay much for it and frankly I am not surprised by TBS falling for it because it supports current TBS framework for approval of complex capital projects, which by the way, I have been trying to change with some success. In any case, the issue is the same, they are trying to bring price predictability into the selection of a long-term relationship which we know does not work. Although they recognize the need to be innovative ( which is good) they are focused on the wrong stuff and using the wrong tools. LCC (which, as we explain in our seminar and our online training program, is an ongoing cost analysis option) cannot be used to predict the cost, based on primarily an initial set of inputs and assumptions. I don’t even think it would be legitimate to select vendors on this basis. So net-net, I don’t think the outcome in this procurement would be any different than previous procurements of the same kind.

Andy Akrouche, President of The Centre for Relational Outsourcing & Strategic Management

In my February 18th, 2013 post Government’s proposed changes to procurement show that they are in the right room but haven’t turned the lights on . . . yet!, Andy Akrouche provided what was both an interesting and thoughtful assessment regarding the government’s contemplation of; a) rolling out individual “secretariats” for each successive military procurement, as was done in the fall of 2011 for the Royal Canadian Navy’s new fleet of warships or b) consolidate an estimated 10,000 bureaucrats from three federal departments – Defence, Public Works, and Industry Canada – into a “single huge new agency, under the aegis of a single minister.”

However, and based on an article by Dave Majumdar in the Flightglobal website (Canada releases industry questionnaire on CF-18 Hornet replacement), regardless of what option the government chooses – individual secretariats or single agency – success with complex capital projects will remain an elusive quest.

F35 replacements

As outlined in his above assessment regarding the utilization of a questionnaire to “support a rigorous examination of available fighter aircraft options,” Akrouche sees little difference in the viability of the current process and the one that was originally used to select the ill-fated F-35’s as a replacement for Canada’s aging CF-18 Hornets.

So here is the $9 billion dollar – well make that $17 billion, or should it be $40 to $60 billion – question; why does the government keep making the same mistake by following the lead of third party firms?

What are your thoughts?


Government’s proposed changes to procurement show that they are in the right room but haven’t turned the lights on . . . yet! by Jon Hansen

“What makes what you do so exciting Andy is that you not only see the process beyond the actual procurement but that you have also created a model that incorporates the relationship factor into the buying equation itself. In essence you have created a methodology that goes beyond experience or gut feel (things that while important are not scalable and often leads to charges of favoritism), that identifies and weighs the importance of key relationship characteristics up front thus ensuring ongoing and long-term initiative success.”

Click to check out Andy's Relational Contracting Intelligence Blog

Andy Akrouche

I made the above statement during an interview with Andy Akrouche regarding his soon to be published book “Relationships First: The new relationship paradigm in contract management.” More specifically his emphasis on sourcing relationships as opposed to sourcing deals.

The timing for the interview was fortuitous in that it was scheduled well before the news broke that the government was “mulling” the viability of a new procurement agency for the expressed purposes of procuring “ships, planes, trucks, and all the other extraordinarily expensive and frequently controversial gear required by a modern military.” Especially since the shipbuilding contract referenced in the newspaper that was awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Seaspan Marine appeared typical of contracts he discussed in his book.

Recognizing that I could utilize this news to better understand Akrouche’s model in the context of a real-world present day challenge, I obviously could not resist asking him what all of this meant in terms of the government’s contemplation of two possible options.

For those of you who may not yet be familiar with the recent developments, the article published in the Ottawa Citizen stated that the government is looking to either; a) roll out individual “secretariats” for each successive military procurement, as was done in the fall of 2011 for the Royal Canadian Navy’s new fleet of warships or b) consolidate an estimated 10,000 bureaucrats from three federal departments – Defence, Public Works, and Industry Canada – into a “single huge new agency, under the aegis of a single minister.”

However, when I asked Akrouche the million dollar question – which option do you think is the best, his answer was unique and quite enlightening.

“Well I will tell you,” started Akrouche whose authoritative manner reflects the experience of someone who over the past 25 years has held senior positions with some of the planets largest IT and electronic publishing organizations, “either option has a degree of logic to it.” While the government’s thinking clearly shows that “they are in the right room,” he continued, it also “highlights the fact that they have not yet turned on the light in a manner of speaking.”

“Right room” . . . “haven’t turned on the lights?” I have to admit that he got both my attention and interest.

“The biggest problem with both considerations” Akrouche explained, “is that they do not go far enough in that they do not put into place a framework for managing the post-acquisition relationship. It is like giving someone a new car without any gas in it. It will look good while promising you a good ride but in reality won’t get you out of the parking lot.”

This is an important disconnect according to Akrouche, because awarding the business is not the same as realizing (or managing) the desired outcome.

So how do you manage to achieve the “desired outcome?”

Referencing Akrouche’s in the room with the lights off analogy, here is what he had to say:

Both of the options presented in the Citizen article propose an approach that continues to disconnect the procurement of a long-term business relationship from the very operational or fulfillment considerations that are essential to achieving sustainable success. With complex procurement these considerations include factors such as the impact on our economy as a whole, foreign policy as well as other strategic national objectives. Specifically, it is not just about building a ship or buying fighter jets. It is about meeting the seemingly disparate yet undeniably interconnected interests of different stakeholders simultaneously and consistently. In their efforts to address these relational challenges the government is in the right room from the standpoint of acknowledging that there is a problem. The light will come on so to speak when they realize that the framework or model for managing the relationships between these various stakeholders must be incorporated into the process at some point. Ideally this relationship model would be introduced as part of the initial procurement process. However, and as demonstrated by past successes, the model’s introduction can be facilitated by a willing group of stakeholders at any point in time.

The fact is that until a viable relationship model is put into place success, as demonstrated by the secretariat framework that was established for the current shipbuilding initiative, will continue to be an elusive quest in terms of realization. These very sentiments were expressed in an Atlantic Business Magazine article by Jon Tattrie which was published under the heading “Ships will start here (eventually).” Tattrie deftly pointed to the fact that for Irving, the biggest challenge in the wake of the $25-billion contract win is “managing expectations.” Unfortunately you cannot manage stakeholder expectations from the confines of the individual silos associated with the project-oriented approach that is commensurate with the present TBS approval process.

Taking into account the above, I would be in favor of individual secretariats as opposed to a consolidated centralized organization under the following guidelines:

  • Each individual secretariat would include representatives from all stakeholders to ensure that collective interests are understood and properly managed on an ongoing basis
  • There would be a defined focus on specific types of procurement
  • The creation of a built-in flexibility to adapt to yet unseen changes in areas such as market conditions or stakeholder capabilities to ensure that the end result represents the best outcome
  • Finally, and similar to the U.S. Veteran’s Health Administration’s VISN structure, each secretariat would be held accountable for achieving the expected outcome. Of course to hold them accountable they must be given the tools to effectively manage the stakeholder relationships associated with complex acquisitions.

While each of the above guidelines is important the ability to adapt to unforeseen changes is particularly critical. You cannot put yourself in the position to identify let alone respond to the inevitable changes that will occur over the life of a contract if you source long-term relationships with a project mentality. The reason for this is fairly obvious . . . past experience is no guarantee for future success. Nor can you adequately address future or unanticipated contract/relationship risks through the typical financial inducements or increased oversight of a project-centric approach that ends with the procurement itself.

This is why we have to start sourcing relationships as opposed to transactions or deals.