Are you racing to figure how this year will be different from last year? How will you deliver more value with less? Where will your teams, departments and organizations discover hidden value? Hint: this value didn\u2019t suddenly appear last December.\n\nAs we race into a new year, optimism is high and pragmatism trails. The sexy, but untested, ideas always promise new and better outcomes. We could take that route, as many CIOs have in the past. Sometimes that strategy plays out well; yet often, outcomes prove less than ideal. There may be an alternative approach. That approach is to hire and measure learning intelligence.\n\nEmbracing the BRM movement\n\nYou\u2019ve undoubtedly heard that business relationship managers stimulate, surface, and shape demand. That\u2019s true\u2014they do. All BRMs do this to a degree, some better than others.\n\nStimulating demand generates interest and encourages engagement. Surfacing demand helps to identify demand that might not be needed today but will be tomorrow. Shaping demand adds the structure and forms required for value realization later. There\u2019s one critical element that\u2019s implicit in each of these foundational steps: learning intelligence.\n\nEffective BRMs must continue to learn. Learning agility\u2014the speed at which BRMs can flex, adapt, and acquire knowledge through experience, study, or self-teaching\u2014is the single biggest factor in determining BRM performance.\n\nLet\u2019s assume your business area is heavy into SharePoint. You have an open requisition for a new business relationship manager. It\u2019s logical and practical to ensure that the new business relationship manager has strong SharePoint experience. I agree. I\u2019d also ask, How long will that experience last? Are we good for six months, one year, maybe two? After the technology is less important and newer advancements have taken its place, how will discussions between providers and business partners stay productive? They won\u2019t.\n\nInnovative ideas must continually be introduced. In Learning Intelligence, I outlined The Four Dimension of Learning Intelligence.\n\nHire not based on what was done yesterday; hire based on what will be created tomorrow.\n\nAnswer questions before hiring\n\nOnboarding new team members is an exciting time. The new hire is full of energy in anticipation of a new assignment, and the organization is eager to have the role add value.\n\nOnboarding isn\u2019t the time to define the BRM role within your organization. Ask these questions first.\n\nValue realization is attainable when the roles and responsibilities are defined with the necessary organizational buy-in. Start this process before the new hire is wondering where the coffee machine is located.\n\nThe purple squirrel with pink socks\n\nA red, gray, or black squirrel you may have seen. Purple squirrels are rare. We need a BRM with specific provider experience, e.g., infrastructure or operations. However, we need to add pink socks to this squirrel, because the BRM must also understand the business-partner side of the equation, e.g., biotech or energy. \u00a0Often, once you spot a purple one, you think, \u201cYes, we\u2019ve found it,\u201d only to discover the squirrel has gone to a competitor that moved faster in the hiring process.\n\nThe formal business relationship manager title is optional. Formalities, however, do help solidify the role when communicating it to business partners. Lock in talent with formal role descriptions. There are many BRM models. Similar to organizational models, they work successfully when given the right organizational environment. Business relationship management is a discipline, an organizational role, and a model for organizational change. Be intentional in the capability your organization desires to mature.\n\nWhat business relationship managers know today improves effectiveness, but it\u2019s what they must learn tomorrow that will distinguish the most impactful BRMs.