Getting it. GRAPA Style.

datePosted on 08:19, September 2nd, 2010 by grapa

I recently had one of those “million dollar moments”. You know, when something happens that just makes you feel good about yourself. A moment that validates all the work, pain, and struggle that we go through and sometimes question; is it worth it? What happened?  Simple. We were putting on a Revenue Assurance training event for an incumbent wire line telco in South America.

The team was great. We had internal audit, fraud, revenue assurance billing, marketing, corporate sales and even some IT people in the room. After three days of training, the Revenue Assurance manager was called to the CFO’s office to report on how the training was going. Half-way through the meeting, the CFO told our Revenue Assurance Manager – “Now you finally get it, you finally understand exactly what I have been expecting from your team.”

I think this is the reason that GRAPA exists, and the reason I travel around the world 45 weeks of the year is to help revenue assurance managers create that “meeting of the minds”, the “now you get it” moment that empowers revenue assurance  teams and raises their status in their organizations.

It never ceases to amaze me how simple, and yet how difficult it is to get to that point of clarity for most CFOs and their Revenue Assurance Managers. However, that changes when we get these people in the room together, and have them develop a “shared perspective” of the problem. In this case, the Revenue Assurance Manager had been a GRAPA member for years. Her entire team works with copies of the Revenue Assurance Handbook, and the Revenue Assurance Standards manual and they have been working hard to follow the standards and principles as outlined.

The CFO got excited and took notice when our Revenue Assurance  Manager started talking about  the application of the GRAPA principles of:

  • Prioritization (Address the largest risks first, and protect the largest revenue streams first.)
    •    Rationalization (making sure that the revenue assurance develops solutions that return a profit to the company;  don’t spend more on the recovery than the size of the loss ),
    •   Consensus (make sure that solutions are team-building, not people antagonizing.)
    And getting the revenue assurance team to respond to management’s appetite for risk as the key determinant of focus and level of effort.

What is it about GRAPA training events that make the creation of these moments possible? Every principle  we teach and explain is laid out in the GRAPA literature. But for many people, seeing it in writing is just different than experiencing it first hand. I think there are several things that make GRAPA training events so powerful. (And they are powerful. Members come away from these events empowered, mobilized, inspired and invigorated to a degree they didn’t believe possible).

If you don’t believe, take a look at the testimonials posted on the Revenue Assurance Academy site and see what people have to say.  The testimonials listed are only a sample of what we receive. If that doesn’t impress you, look at the pictures of the alumnus that we take at the end of each event (also posted on the website). Read some of the blogs and other sources of information about these events or check out the list of certified members who have gone through a complete curriculum successfully.

The evidence is clear; GRAPA events are powerful on the personal, professional and organizational levels. What is it about these events that make them so different? Why do most people find that GRAPA training is not just the “same old thing”? I think there are several reasons.

1.    Our Training Events are Interactive – they encourage active participation by students. The first thing that people notice about a GRAPA training event is that the students work. A GRAPA event is not entertainment. They are serious training events. Students are engaged and involved and participate in the process.

2.    Learning for peers and associates – Because of this interactivity, people who attend a GRAPA event (whether it is an internal company sponsored event, or an external public event) hear what other people are experiencing. It is not just about what the teachers know. You learn from and about each other. Many people come to me after a class and say how great it is to learn about other people’s experiences and perspectives.

3.    Consensus Building – at least in the case of our on-site events. GRAPA events help Revenue Assurance, Internal Audit and Fraud teams develop a sense of consensus and shared responsibility for the problems within their organizations. GRAPA training gives revenue assurance teams credibility and it opens doors and changes the attitudes of operational groups that might have resisted in the past.

4.    Clarification and Simplification – GRAPA training, when presented in our intense, structured format, helps people clarify their thinking, set better priorities and simplify their approach.

5.    Structure and Direction – GRAPA training really helps provide people with a sense of structure. They understand how they can better organize what they do.
6.    Completeness and Thoroughness – GRAPA training provides a 360 degree view of the problems that revenue assurance teams face. It shows people all the angles, and helps them figure out how to approach complex situations.

7.    Testing – GRAPA testing provides the best benefit of any. GRAPA testing allows students to see that they have mastered the concepts, and allows them to see how well they stack up against the hundreds of other revenue assurance professionals around the world who have taken the tests.

8.    You are not alone – Without question, the number one response I get from students is that it feels so good for them to discover all the challenging, confusing, contradictory things they are doing are not unique. In fact, most revenue assurance professionals are going through the same things, every day.

9.    We are doing it right!!! – The other consistent feedback, especially from Revenue Assurance Managers, is when someone realizes that most of the things they have been doing are exactly the right things to do. When you are as isolated as most revenue assurance teams are, it is hard to get verification that you are doing things the right way.

10.    Where can we improve – And finally, revenue assurance people get a greatly expanded view of the different things they could be doing. Opportunities for the expansion of scope and the improvement of relationships, based upon the experiences of other revenue assurance professionals are a huge boost to their morale and their effectiveness.

I know it seems like a lot, but believe me, GRAPA events are intense, and so many people have already benefited. For me, the greatest gratification comes when I hear directly from the CFOs. They report that after GRAPA training their revenue assurance people deliver more value in less time, with less political strife than ever before, and that is what it is really all about.

If you’ve already been to a GRAPA event, and would like to add your own comments, feel free. Our Linkedin group (over 1000 members strong), is a place where GRAPA members share a wide variety of perspectives and issues. And if you’d like to check out the standards, or how revenue assurance professionals are making things happen in their organizations, check our blogs, the regional Facebook Fan Pages, the websites, or maybe even come to one of our training events. I look forward to seeing you there.

ntil next time, this is Rob Mattison saying…be safe….

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