If you have read my previous blog “Procurement is it time for a re-brand?” you will appreciate the debate that has plagued the procurement community for numerous years. For people who know me, I have always advocated in the need to put the POWER into Procurement. I thought I would have a little bit of fun ( although with some serious underlying benefits) by delivering a blog on Putting the P back into procurement.
If you are as passionate ( 1st P meaning ardent, enthusiastic, heartfelt, energetic) like me about procurement take a few minutes to think about what attributes are aligned to your values, reflects your motivations, in a profession that is far reaching, in constant change and can deliver huge value/benefits for your organisation.
Below is a small list of the P’s that put the Power into procurement. Lets get started with some examples from the list of how the P enables our procurement profession;
Proactive (definitions: Pre-emptive, active, hands-on, upbeat)
Does procurement in your organisation have insight and presents ideas and innovation to stakeholders before they know about it? How good do you know the market place, suppliers and your business goals and strategies? Procurement teams that have the “Trusted advisor status” are leading the way by managing the incipient demand of their stakeholders. It is like being an evidenced based fortune teller!
Professional (definitions: expert , proficient, specialised and qualified, certified)
How many in your procurement team understand and are qualified and certified in procurement? How many are imposters?
Lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, designers are just some examples of industries that have rigorous qualifications and certification. Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers” highlighted that mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice.
When stakeholders impromptu come for advice you know they think of you as an expert.
Principled (definitions: ethics, integrity, morals, values)
Peter Drucker the management guru coined the phrase “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Teams that are not principled lack trust. I have had the pleasure of taking over a team that had no organisational trust. It felt at times you were walking in quicksand but like every journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Ethical and transparent procurement is a prerequisite for the procurement profession and without it you will not be able to deliver the basics let alone corporate value.
Planned (definitions: strategic, organised, frame, premeditated)
The edited version of the 6Ps of planning is; Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. This is something that all teams not only procurement should aspire too. There is much hype about agile and scrum but this is still a methodology that speeds up the planning function. My wife has an adage that I have adopted ” A dream is a goal with a timeline (deadline). Setting goals is key to any success.
Persuasive (definitions: Influencer, negotiator, diplomat)
To me persuasion is one of the key attributes for the Procurement profession. Procurement usually sits in some form of shared service , support capacity for most organisations. A key part of the role is to support the business decisions through 3rd party sourcing and engagement. How would you influence an executive if they disagreed with you about changing strategic suppliers when you know well inclusive of evidential data that they are the market leaders from quality, time and price?
So focus I have left for last is one of the top concerns for most Executive (including CPOs) are people. People can be defined as a community or group and in this form we can all attribute the word Team. The great philosopher Aristotle first coined the phrase ” the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. In a changing world, the war on talent and capability has increased. Employing the right people with the right attitude and the right capabilities are key for most roles within an organisation. Attitude and open mindset are my key takeaways from managing teams since the age of 24. I also have a saying that if you are playing for Manchester United your transfer fee will be higher than playing for Auckland City – so how can we build a team like Man United in our profession? Have you ever been in a high performing team that has “Collaborative Confidence” everyone knows each others roles, the energy is fast pace with lots of customer delivery, satisfaction and fun.
Training and skills are essential so aligning to a global standard such as CIPS with its ethics exams and code of conduct enable people to feel confident, both from an individual, employer customer and supplier perspective.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog , along with a few smiles I am sure there are some useful takeaways
Please let me know your feedback and/or some ideas for areas you would like me to explore more deeply