What is Bain's Rapid Framework?
The RAPID Framework is a Tool that helps Companies in their Decision-Making Processes by Defining and Delimiting the Main Roles involved.
- It was created (and registered) by Bain & Company.
To do so, it proposes that, in each Decision-Making Process there are (or should be) 5 key Roles.
Its name is an acronym for the Roles proposed:
5 Roles of RAPID Framework
- 1. Recommend: The Person or Group that suggests taking an Action.
- The Marketing or Industrial Chief, an Analyst, etc.
- 2. Agree: People who would be involved in this Action and therefore should Agree.
- Managers who would have to modify their Operations, Clients used to a Product…
- 3. Perform: Who would be in Charge of Implementing the Action.
- The Managers, Sales Directors, Programmers, Designers, etc.
- 4. Input: Who Provides the Information that is used to take the Decision.
- Analysts, Consultants, Experts, Researchers, etc.
- 5. Decision: The Person or Group responsible for the Final Decision.
- The CEO, Board of Directors, Top Managers, etc.
The RAPID Framework suggests that, by properly Delimiting and Defining these roles, Decision-Making processes deliver better results and hold everyone involved accountable.
Bain’s RAPID Framework.
Before we continue, we want to clarify one thing:
- When applying this tool, many professionals prefer to assign each Role to a single person.
However, we believe that this can sometimes be a mistake.
Because Decisions, Analyses, Implementations… Are rarely done by single persons.
- Important Decision are often taken by more than one Partner or Manager.
- Analyses are usually developed by more than one Analyst.
That is why we assume that these Roles can be assigned to more than one professional.
Now, let’s see these Roles in detail with one example:
- We’ll analyze Blue Origin‘s decision of taking Jeff Bezos on the First Flight.
- It is a very important Decision. Let’s analyze it.
* As you can guess, we have had to imagine How this Decision-Making Process happened.
- We have no Confidential Information about one of the most powerful person in the World.
Recommend - RAPID Framework First Role
The person making a Recommendation has the most open Role of all:
- It can be an Analyst that has seen a Potential Improvement.
- It can be a Manager.
- It can be a Line Operator (in automobile companies this is quite normal).
We don’t know whose idea it was.
But, we’re sure that, when Blue Origin was designing its promotion campaign, the Managers were wondering:
- Don’t you think people will be afraid?
And, one person suggested (maybe, Bezos himself):
- Jeff should be on the first flight so everyone will trust the safety of our ships.
Agree - RAPID Framework Second Role
The “Agree” Role is hold by the Professionals affected by the proposed Action:
- If a proposed Action would affect the final Product, the Client should Agree.
- If a Company is thinking about implementing “Just in Time”, Suppliers should Agree.
- If a CEO wants to change How Managers report him/her, they should Agree.
The Person who should accept the idea of sending Bezos into Space is himself:
- Jeff Bezos.
The Board of Directors, Shareholders, etc… Could be very excited about the idea…
… But, if Bezos did not agree, this Action could never be implemented.
* Well… It would have been fun to see the Board of Directors chasing Bezos with duct tape to send him into Space against his will.
- Just kidding.
Perform - RAPID Framework Third Role
Who would have to work to Implement the Action? The ones that hold the “Perform” Role:
- If you want to create a New Site, the Programmers would hold the “Perform” Role.
- If you want to modify How Accountability is done, Accountants are the “Performers”.
- If you want to create a New Menu, The Chefs hold the “Perform” Role.
When Blue Origin was Deciding whether or not sending Jeff bezos into Space…
Who had to work on the Risks, Potential Failures…?
Who had to guarantee that Bezos would come back alive?
- The Blue Origin Senior Engineer was the one who held the “Perform” Role.
Input - RAPID Framework Fourth Role
The “Input” Role tends to be somewhere between the “Perform” and the “Decide” Roles:
- It Analyzes data from the “Performance” Role and processes it.
- It takes into account external factors, not just the “Performance” point of view.
- It processes the Information to be understandable by the Decision-Maker.
We assume that there were some Analysts at Blue Origin who:
- Talked with the Engineers.
- Assessed the Probability of Success and the Media Impact.
- Pondered the Pros and Cons from a Marketing Point of View.
Then, they Presented all the information to the Decision-Makers.
- In a language they could understand.
Those in charge of doing this, had the “Input” Role.
Decision - RAPID Framework Fifth Role
This role is not always played by a CEO. It can be an average Manager or a Team Leader:
- It must be a person (or group) with authority to Decide.
- If it is a Group of people, they all should be treated as a Single Role.
- He / She (or they) will be responsible for the consequences of the Action.
Even if Jeff Bezos was happy to be the first person to go into Space with Blue Origin‘s New Shepard…
We’re sure that it had to be approved by a Board of Directors.
They had to evaluate the odds of a Fatal Disaster and decide accordingly.
Think about this:
- What if He had died?
- What would have happened to the Project? (nothing good).
- What would have happened to Amazon?
- How would the company have dealt with his death “live”?
This Decision had consequences that transcended Bezos and, therefore, he was not the ideal person to make the final Decision.
Now we will give you Real Examples that help you understand this Tool much better and Why it is important:
- Examples from our own Professional Experience.
Bain's RAPID Framework Examples
We have chosen 2 examples where, the definition of these Roles helped us decide whether to invest in certain companies or not.
* Remember: We work in Venture Capital investing in Companies, Restructuring them and, sometimes, selling them.
Let’s see what we can learn:
Steel Company - Bain's RAPID Framework example
Some years ago, somebody offered us a New Project.
The Project was about a company that developed Corrugated Steel bars.
- See the image above.
Everything seemed interesting:
- A relatively young company went bankrupt because of the Real Estate Crisis.
- The Machinery was New.
- The Facilities were also New.
Someone had just finished the Factory and went bankrupt.
Also, the Bankruptcy Administrator was willing to sell us the Business for a “good price”.
The Roles were:
- Recommendation: Our Business friend who suggested the operation to us.
- Agree: The Bankruptcy Administrator.
- Perform: Our Restructuring Team.
- Input: Me (Engineer with 2 MSc and an MBA).
- Agree: The CEO of the Investment Company.
* I was the head of the Restructuring Team, but in this situation I played the “Input” Role
- The Restructuring Team and Me started to analyze the Company.
Everything seemed fine but, we found 2 important Issues:
- The machinery had practically not come into operation in 2 years.
- Most of the former workers had already a Job in other Companies.
And, last but not least, the Corrugated Steel Sector was devastated.
- Much more than the Real Estate Market.
These Operations are interesting in case you can quickly buy the Company as soon as it files for Bankruptcy.
But, after 2 years, with all the former employees missing…
- It was the perfect recipe for a disaster.
This Conclusion was done by the Input and Performance Roles.
- We advised the CEO against this Investment.
Finally, we didn’t acquired the Company.
Mobile Phone Company - Bain's RAPID Framework example
Seven years ago, a small telephone Company came to us and asked our Advice to Restructure its Operations.
It’s numbers were a mess…
However, we Started to Analyze its Sector, and got very Surprised.
The Upside Potential was amazing.
Until that moment, we had no previous experience in that Sector.
- We tend to focus on Industrial Projects.
Then, we got interested in acquiring the Company.
The Roles were:
- Recommend: The Financial Analyst.
- Agree: The owners of the Telephone Company.
- Perform: The Restructuring Team.
- Input: The Manager of an IT Company we owned (he advice us).
- Decision: The CEO of the Investment Company.
We established a fair Price with the owners of the Telephone Company and everything seemed to be fine.
But, the CEO, with all the information in front of him, opposed to the Operation.
- Because he didn’t feel like the Market was going into the right direction.
- Even if, at that moment, there were no signs of Market Saturation.
Finally, although everything seemed to fit perfectly, we didn’t acquired the Company.
What happened to the Company?
Few years later, the Company definitely went bankrupt.
The Market became saturated of Small telephone Companies, valuations decreased and it could no longer refinance its Debt.
- Banks were no longer confident in their ability to repay it.
The CEO proved to be right.
- That is why he was the CEO: Experience, Vision… and “Business Feeling”.
The RAPID Framework is a Tool that helps Companies in their Decision-Making Processes by Defining and Delimiting the Main Roles involved in those Decisions.
To do so, it proposes that, in each Decision Making Process there are (or should be) 5 key Roles:
- Recommend: The Person or Group that suggests taking an Action.
- Agree: People who would be involved in this Action and therefore should Agree.
- Perform: Who would be in Charge of Implementing the Action.
- Input: Who Provides the Information that would be used to take the Decision.
- Decision: Person or Group responsible for the Final Decision.
By properly Delimiting and Defining these roles, Decision-Making processes deliver better results and hold everyone involved accountable.