C3PO Teaches Us About Proper Communication

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Uncle Owen: “What I really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.”
C-3PO: “Vaporators? Sir, my first job was programming binary load lifters very similar to your vaporators in most respects.”
Uncle Owen: “Can you speak Bocce?”
C-3PO: “Of course I can, sir. It’s like a second language to me. I’m a-”
Uncle Owen: “Yeah, alright. Shut up. I’ll take this one.”

So Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens soon (or has opened – depending on where and when you are reading this!) and following my article about change management one of the drivers (or stoppers) of change is communication.

Tony Hadley sang that communication lets us down, and in procurement it’s so true. How many of us plan our communication strategies, what we are trying to do, how are we are trying to say it, who do we actually want to speak to?

This article then is designed to give you a road map and some pointers for planning and executing your communication activities. There is a lot of advice out there on the internet, and a quick analysis of them leads me to summarise them thusly;

A simple communication plan should cover the following:

  • Who do you want to communicate with?
  • What’s the purpose/objective?
  • What is the key message?
  • How will this be delivered?
  • Who will deliver it?
  • How often will this be delivered?
  • Specific content

Who (audience)

A good place to start is to define who it is you’re trying to communicate with. Is it a person or a whole department, a key internal stakeholder or external supplier? A good piece of advice that I received was, to consider who influences this person? It may be that if we couch what we are trying to say with an analogy of the persons mentor or influencer then we may be more impactful.

For example, if the individual likes Richard Branson, we may start our messaging (see below) with an analogy of something that he did or said and how it relates to our points. This will help identify your history with this person and therefore will start to influence the overall purpose and objective

Purpose

So what is this piece of communication trying to do? Is it for information, or trying to persuade? Is it simply just to change a perception of someone about you or the whole department? Are we trying to get someone to be influential on our behalf, or are we actually trying to influence them?

Key Message

What is the overview or key message that you want to leave the person being communicated to with? By focusing on the end result we can then shape the actual message to ensure we deliver it accordingly. For example, “We want the supplier to consider us a potential strategic partner” means that the messaging and the method need to be aligned, and it’s likely to be a campaign of communication rather than a one off.

How (Delivery)

So now we come to deployment, the “nitty gritty” of communication. Face to face, telephone or email (letters anyone?)? Well it depends on what the purpose is, and importantly how the person being communicated to wants to be communicated with. Finally you need to consider the how impactful of the method.

Lots have been written about Albert Mehrabian and his study into communication. Essentially what he said was we get most of our clues of the emotional intent behind people’s words from non-verbal sources. And when the two are in conflict, we believe the non-verbal every time.

When you write an email there is no emotional intent that is being able to be read (even with emoticons), it also becomes easier to ignore. Have we ever read an email that in a way that is different than the sender intended? Emails are an essential part of our communication, as we use them all the time, but they are flat pieces of communication, if we want to become more impactful using our tone of voice, and being aligned with our body language will do this in our communication and therefore we need to plan for delivery.

Who (Delivery)

So who is the right person to deliver the key messages? Here’s a thought – does it need to be you? This is where your earlier planning will come in. We may not have access to the person we are trying to communicate with, it may be that others have an easier time to get this persons time, or alrerady have a degree of influence? (see the first who).

Suppliers use this strategy to influence decision makers when they are not readily available to be influenced directly. They identify an internal person who could be utilised as an internal brand advocate.

Frequency

How often will you need to communicate with this person? Is this a campaign or a one off? This will link back to the purpose, if we are trying to turn a detractor into a supporter, its unlikely that we accomplish this with just one meeting. Its more likely to be a concerted campaign and the messages may well change as we move them along our supportive line. On the other hand, it could be just for information only.

Mind your language

Finally it’s critical to use the language of the person to whom you are communicating with. All the planning in the world will not overcome the basics of not being understood.

Consider where the individual works, how will they be able to understand our acronyms, short cuts or techno babble?

So we need to consider changing our language and speaking theirs.

Unless of course, you really do speak Bocce…..

Happy Christmas, and may the force be with you.

Behavioural Traits Boards are Demanding from Procurement Leaders

Uncovering the surprising truth about the behavioural traits Boards are demanding from Procurement Leaders.

Behavioural Traits

It’s a well-known fact that individuals with certain behaviours are better matched to certain jobs. For example, senior Sales Executives tend to be driven and goal orientated, whereas, in contrast, Chief Analysts have a high process orientation, like direction, and have great attention to detail.

But what about Procurement Leaders?

This year is my twelfth in the Procurement Executive Recruitment space, and one in which I was lucky enough to run numerous executive searches (alongside our Procurement Recruitment Practice Lead Craig Elvin) across the industry.

As part of our standard candidate assessment process, we require the hiring executive (typically a COO, CFO, HRD or MD) to fill out a behavioural job fit profile which helps both us and them build a picture of the ideal cultural behaviours they are looking for in the successful candidate.

We then take that behavioural profile and match it to our shortlist of candidates using our award winning executive intro® platform. What we’ve found is that when hires are made through this process, the candidate has a significantly higher chance of being a cultural fit within the organisation, and as a result have increased tenure and success.

This process has provided invaluable insight data throughout 2015 into the behavioural blueprint that senior executives are looking for right now from their procurement leaders – and the results are a little surprising.

The graph you see below is created from data gathered across a number of typical senior procurement hires e.g. (CPO, Head of Procurement, Procurement Director) we made this year, and combined into a single behavioural composite.

So here is what the ideal behavioural profile for a procurement leader looks like in 2015:

Behavioural Graph

What does the graph show?

The graph is split into four main areas and offsets what are seen as behavioural opposites. For instance a high red scale indicates someone is more dominant, whereas a low red scale would indicate someone is more accepting. So what can we learn from this?

  1. Boards are looking for goal-orientated risk takers (Red Bar)

This is our first interesting insight! The large red bar in the profile confirms businesses are now actively looking for procurement leaders who are forthright and able to challenge the status quo.

Traditionally risk adverse, the Procurement Leaders that are now most in demand are passionate about brands, competitive in negotiations and ultimately want to win in business. The overriding trend here is ambition and procurement candidates who match this profile will set challenging goals for themselves and their team, while encouraging healthy competition amongst staff and confront performance issues quickly.

  1. Boards want sociable & outgoing leaders (Green Bar)

Sociable and outgoing aren’t two words that necessarily meet the traditional procurement stereotype! As Procurious is proving though, that stereotype is changing. Procurement leaders need to be people-people, popular and likeable in order to effectively influence and partner with stakeholders to make informed business decisions. This is key to ensuring that their ambition and risk taking (explained above) is well received and helps them navigate through complex organisations.

Executives across all sectors consistently asked for procurement leaders with EQ (Emotional Intelligence) who can influence and build meaningful strategic alliances with external parties and manage a diverse and often international team to commercial success.

  1. Boards want driven, high urgency and high energy leaders (Blue Bar)

Boards now clearly want us to find Procurement Leaders who have pace, drive, adaptability, and can keep up with fast moving market trends. As with the red bar the blue bar here is very prominent and suggests that organisations are looking for procurement professionals who are both restless and energetic. Leaders with this profile will tend to seek and enjoy pressure, be decisive and get excited by opportunity. This excitement will transfer to their staff who will always feel part of a mission that is heading somewhere and be highly productive themselves.

  1. Boards want independent leaders (Yellow Bar)

The modern executive team wants to be challenged as they know it holds the key to progress. This goes someway to explaining why they want such assertive and independent procurement leaders.

Procurement leaders have the unique opportunity to work across the value chain and have to be self-reliant to be successful and add material value.

A strong procurement candidate with this profile has faced up to resistance, has made difficult decisions and has shown determination while remaining open to others’ ideas.

What Next?

So those are the 4 key behavioural traits the boards have been asking us to test for when hiring new procurement leaders. In my view it’s a subtle blend of these traits that leads to success in the eyes of the board. As you go through your own self-assessment and personal development I hope the above can help shape some of your learning.

On a final note, the other discipline that had a similar behavioural profile requested recently was Sales Directors – albeit the green bar is more pronounced in that case. In my opinion, this provides even more evidence that the type of person in demand across all commercial functions are becoming more similar than ever. If you would like to learn more about how both science and technology can be used to identify whether a candidate is suitable for a role then download our ebook.

Andrew MacAskill has spent the last decade researching, placing and networking with the smartest commercial leaders globally.  He is the author of a well-read leadership blog, regular speaker at conferences and industry events and strong advocate of EQ focused leadership.

Working Capital: The Role of Procurement

Procurement has a central role to play in the effective management of working capital, enabling investment, growth and supply chain efficiency.

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This article has been written by Neil Ross, Regional Manager, EMEA Trade Credit.

Working capital is the fuel behind any successful mid-market organisation, representing the amount of cash available at any one time. If managed effectively, it ensures the business is able to invest in new products and services, optimising its existing operations, while also shoring up against future risks. Failure to maintain control of working capital will inevitably force companies to rely on borrowing, often through expensive bank finance, putting further pressure on the business.

There are three primary factors dictating working capital – Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) and Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO). Essentially, if DSO and DIO are too high and DPO is too low, then companies will encounter cash flow issues. Simple economics mean money will be going out of the business faster than it is coming in, so striking the right balance between these three factors is imperative.

The Role of Procurement

Responsibility for the day-to-day management of working capital ultimately sits with the treasurer, whose role it is to ensure the company has the necessary funds to operate and meet its objectives for the months and years ahead. But the treasurer cannot work alone. He or she must collaborate closely with numerous departments across the business to ensure working capital is maximised. The procurement team forms a crucial part of this network.

As the primary interface between a business and its supply chain, procurement can make or break an organisation’s working capital strategy. Procurement has numerous factors to consider within its remit, not least management of cost vs. value from suppliers. However, a fixation on costs alone can be a mistake, masking other factors which can also seriously impact working capital.

For example, high logistics and warehousing costs can make working with a particular supplier unviable. Similarly, the ease of doing business with suppliers is a prime consideration – if their contractual terms or the process of purchasing are overly complex, this will eat up hours of administration time that could be better used elsewhere.

Favourable Payment Terms?

But perhaps the most important working capital consideration for procurement is the ability to negotiate favourable payment terms with suppliers, ensuring that money isn’t leaving the company bank account until it absolutely has to.

Extending payment terms is a popular method used by large and increasingly by mid-market companies to maximise their working capital and cash flow. Research by YouGov on behalf of PrimeRevenue and AIG[1] found that over three quarters of supplier businesses have been asked to accept longer payment terms, potentially holding up over £29bn.

A smart move by buyers you might think? Well not necessarily, when you consider the impact this could be having on the supply chain. YouGov’s research found that these longer payment terms are affecting suppliers’ cash flow (55 per cent), leading to additional administration (33 per cent) and putting a strain on client relationships (29 per cent).

The knock on effects can be huge, forcing suppliers to borrow money at a high cost, or to cut costs in production and investment. These issues ultimately drive up prices or impact quality, potentially reducing efficiency and sales, while increasing risk all along the chain.

Supply Chain Finance

Procurement professionals are now waking up to this dichotomy and looking at a more holistic solution to the problem. This means building greater collaboration with suppliers, fostering mutually beneficial relationships, and minimising the risk for the supply chain in the long term.

One key aspect to this more holistic approach is supply chain finance, a financing tool that enables businesses to offer their suppliers early payment, while retaining their own longer payment terms. This is possible through third party financing based on the credit rating of the larger buyer organisation.

Until recently, supply chain finance platforms have been limited to supporting the largest, investment grade businesses. However, innovative online and credit insurance backed solutions mean that it is now an option for thousands of mid-market, non-investment grade companies. This can offer a working capital ‘win-win’, while also helping to streamline processes for all involved.

With the economy on strong footing, many businesses are in growth mode, with ambitious plans for investment and expansion. But these plans won’t be possible without a comprehensive and strategic approach to working capital management. Procurement has a central role in making that happen. The tools and technology now available mean it has never been easier to optimise working capital, across both individual businesses and the broader supply chain.

Supply Chain Finance from PrimeRevenue and AIG frees up significant funding for mid-market (£100m+ turnover), non-investment grade companies and their suppliers, providing low cost access to working capital on both sides of the transaction. More information can be found here.

[1] AIG and PrimeRevenue research carried out by YouGov. Total sample size was 250 adults with responsibility for invoicing and payment terms within businesses which provide goods and services to large organisations (with revenues of £100m or more).

Businesses were asked how much of their revenue is currently tied up in invoices with payment terms longer than the standard. If these results were replicated across all businesses in the UK which provide goods or services to large organisations they suggest that around £29 billion is tied up in this way.

Can Procurement Set an Example on KPIs?

Metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Performance Management – whatever your organisation calls them, it’s almost certain that your procurement team are both measuring and being measured on performance. But are organisations measuring the right areas?

Metrics

Every week in the procurement and supply chain news, we read reports and headlines focusing on savings and supply chain practices, often highlighting the work organisations are doing to measure these performance areas.

Knowing which elements to measure is tricky, as no two sources will agree on what the ‘best’ metrics are to use. A quick Google search for ‘Procurement KPIs’ comes up with over 400,000 results, with a variety of links to organisations, articles and journals with different views on what constitutes ‘best practice’.

What is clear is from what we read, see and encounter in organisations is that there is a huge volume of resources (time, people, money) being devoted to managing these metrics, but frequently the data produced is poor or the metrics themselves are flawed from the outset.

Defining a Purpose

Anyone in procurement will be able to tell you that the purpose of KPIs is to measure internal and supplier performance across a number of areas. Most of these elements stem from the classic concepts of cost, quality and service. Each indicator focuses on a specific aspect of a contract, has defined what success and failure look like, and should service an organisational need or requirement.

The ‘SMART’ acronym (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) is frequently used in conjunction with the creation of KPIs. Following these steps, the theory is that the KPIs will be both useful and successful and, what’s more, encourage behaviours that drive value.

The Reality

Far too often, however, KPIs in organisations fall short of this. Sometimes it’s because they are poorly defined, other times that they are unrealistic, and frequently that they are measuring the wrong thing entirely. From a procurement point of view, this generally means the focus is on savings and little else.

Externally, suppliers can be given huge lists of KPIs that they are expected to report on as part of their contract. This in turn makes meeting and reporting on KPIs onerous, putting the supplier off focusing on them, and potentially driving behaviours that are carried out to ‘tick off’ the KPIs in order to get paid.

Measuring Intangibles

But examples of good practice are out there. When Ben & Jerry sold their ice-cream brand to Unilever, they were eager for their brand to continue to be associated with the environmental and social activities for which they had gained a great reputation for. This involved the creation of “Social Metrics” – aimed at measuring the social and environmental performance of the brand under Unilever’s auspices.

A difficult task, but one that the organisations stuck with, ultimately creating the concept of “multicapitalism”, a performance accounting system measuring economic, social, and environmental impacts in an integrated way. So far it has been a success, and is setting the bar high for the use of metrics.

This is a good example of performance metrics being used to measure an area that often has intangible outputs.

Taking the Lead

So how can procurement take the lead on creating metrics and measuring performance? If procurement departments are keen to be measured on more than savings, then the organisations need to get their own house in order and create better KPIs for their suppliers.

A recent discussion on Procurious asked about other KPIs to use beyond tracking savings for high value projects. One key point made was to workshop metrics with internal customers to increase engagement. This holds true for suppliers too, and should help to ensure that the right areas of the contract are being measured.

We are not saying that savings trackers should be dropped, but procurement needs to focus on other value areas with suppliers. Once the profession leads by example and stops putting such a high importance on savings externally, the chances are good that this will also happen internally.

Is your organisation setting a good example on KPIs? Tell us what you think and get involved with our discussions.

We’ve scoured the headlines this week and picked out the main ones for you to digest with your morning coffee.

Nations Sign Historic Climate Agreement

  • The COP 21 event in Paris drew to a close last week, with nearly 200 countries signing a new agreement to reduce global emissions
  • The agreement sets a new goal for all countries to collectively reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century
  • The deal includes provision for rich countries agreed to raise $100bn (£66bn) a year by 2020 to help poor countries transform their economies and reduce emissions
  • The deal has been hailed as a significant step in the right direction by global leaders and environmental campaigners

Read more at The Guardian

Jaguar Land Rover Sees Resurgence

  • Jaguar Land Rover reported its best ever November sales, with volumes up by 27 per cent on the same period last year
  • The UK has taken over from China as JLR’s main market, with sales up 70 per cent, but also partly due to the slowdown in China’s economy
  • The high sales in Europe and North America have helped to offset the slower Chinese market, which had been responsible for a weak start to the 2015/16 financial year
  • The organisation is expanding production facilities into Slovakia, with the new plant expected to open in 2018 in order to help meet increasing demand

Read more at Forbes

Twitter fined in Turkey

  • Turkey’s communications technologies authority, the BTK, has fined Twitter 150,000 lira ($51,000.) for not removing content it says is “terrorist propaganda”
  • Although there were no further details on the content in question, it is not the first time Twitter has fallen foul of the Turkish Government
  • In the past, the site has been temporarily banned after failing to remove content following requests, although this is the first time a fine has been levied

Read more at Reuters

Tokyo Police to Launch “Drone Squad”

  • Police in Tokyo are to launch a specialist squad tasked with locating and, if necessary, capturing drones in the city
  • The squad has been set up following a number of incidents involving drones in the city, including a drone landing on the roof of the Prime Minister’s office carrying radioactive material in April
  • The police will use drones themselves to track down possible threats and nuisances, and will patrol high-profile buildings in Tokyo
  • The police drones will be equipped with nets in order to bring down other drones if required

Read more at the BBC

Catalytics – The Next Generation of Procurement

Catalytics® is a business concept that powers Proxima’s new suite of procurement services, delivering triple bottom line outcomes: people, profit and planet.

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45 per cent of consumers have revealed that they would stop spending with a company whose supplier practices are called into question. With so much at stake, Proxima the procurement services provider, today announces the launch of Catalytics®, a refreshing approach to managing a complex network of suppliers. 

Working with leading minds in business and academia Proxima has constructed a framework for Catalytics® built on five pillars – Strategy, Structure, Mastery, Culture and Enablers. The Catalytics® framework changes the conventional approach to managing supplier relationships, moving away from the heavy focus on financial metrics and instead focussing more on long-term value-creation.

Risk in the Supply Chain

Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall, Executive Vice President, Commercial Director at Proxima, comments: “Wider forces such as risk, innovation and sustainability critically influence the success or demise of businesses today. Seemingly indestructible brands have shown themselves extremely vulnerable in recent years.”

“Following horse meat scandals, uncapped oil-wells and garment factory disasters; even major European car manufacturers can witness their reputation and finances holed by the risks buried in the chain of command or hidden in the supply chain.”

The reliance on external suppliers for goods and services shows no sign of slowing down. Additional research conducted by Proxima found that the average FTSE 350 organisation spent 69.9 per cent of its revenue with outside agencies, and only 12.9 per cent spent on the in-house workforce in salaries and benefits.

Further, 46 per cent of risk managers in global businesses say supply chain failure is their number one risk. A Catalytics® approach will help to mitigate against supply led risks and, conversely, help businesses drive more value out of their supplier relationships.

 Triple Bottom Line

Catalytics® allows businesses to rethink how they manage complex supply chains in line with Triple Bottom Line (TBL) outcomes – looking beyond the transactions of buying goods or services.

With almost 70 per cent of operational activity performed by suppliers, businesses stand to receive significant benefits from taking a more strategic approach to their supplier ecosystems. 

Catalytics® accepts that companies today cannot isolate themselves from financial, operational and reputational risks in their extended supply ecosystem, and that those same suppliers are a valuable source of competitive advantage.

Cooper-Bagnall concludes, “Organisations must look beyond profit to evaluate their performance and direct their operations. Long-term value creation – for shareholders and other stakeholders – requires leaders to deliver on triple bottom line outcomes: people, profit and planet. Failure to align operations with the principles of TBL outcomes can have serious effects on brand reputation and market position. Thinking differently about supplier ecosystems will allow business leaders to reshape their entire business to meet the new realities of modern business.”

For more information about Proxima’s Catalytics® framework, visit www.proximagroup.com/what-is-catalytics  

Procurious Big Ideas Keynote #3 – How Procurement is Elevating its role

Looking to the future in the Big Ideas Summit third keynote was Chris Sawchuk, Principle and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group.

Chris spoke about organisational agility and the need for organisations to adapt and move quickly in a constantly-changing business environment.

From a procurement standpoint, Chris argued that it means learning from the likes of UBER and being more customer centric and delivering value beyond cost savings, while being more active in promoting itself as a function.

Watch the full keynote here.

See all the keynotes and panel discussions from the Big Ideas Summit, plus Big Ideas from our 40+ Influencers.

Like this? Join Procurious for FREE and meet like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Marketing Procurement – The Most Popular Concepts

Darren Woolley, CEO and founder of marketing consultancy TrinityP3, freely admits that 15 years ago he had no idea what marketing procurement was. Now, curator of a renowned blog on the subject, he is here with a great offer for Procurious members.

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When I started TrinityP3 Marketing Management Consultants in January 2000 I had never heard of marketing procurement and only had the most peripheral understanding of the procurement function. What led me to starting my own marketing procurement consultancy 15 years ago was a Bachelor of Applied Science degree, five years in medical research and then 15 years as a copywriter and then a Creative Director in advertising agencies.

So I guess, as I have since discovered, probably the typical career path into procurement, meaning typically atypical.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

In April 2006 I started a blog as part of our website. Mostly the posts were opinion pieces based on observations about the industry. If you look back to those days, the articles were short, not particularly in-depth or, for that matter, insightful. It was also irregular and inconsistent. But it was nine years ago. If you are interested, check out the early posts on the TrinityP3 blog here.

Around this time was also when we discovered the marketing procurement function within some of our larger multinational clients. It was interesting to meet people whose job it was to identify ways to ‘assist in managing the marketing process for greater efficiency and effectiveness’.

I use that phrase as it is how we describe what we do at TrinityP3 and what we have found the best marketing procurement people do within their own organisations. It is also why we call ourselves Marketing Management Consultants and not Marketing Procurement.

Strength to Strength

In 2011 we noticed a growing interest in the content on the blog and so made a strategic business commitment to make the blog the centrepiece of our content marketing efforts. This included making sure we regularly published, in fact three times every week, all year round. Okay, we take a week or two off for the holidays.

Within a year the number of people visiting the blog increased 300 per cent and today there is more than 12,000 people reading the blog every week and they come from every continent, except Antarctica of course.

In the early days I was writing most of the posts, but quickly the TrinityP3 consultants began to offer posts on their core competencies such as media, agency remuneration, roster management, digital and data and production. And such is the reputation of the blog, we also have an increasing number of industry thought leaders offered guest posts.

In 2012, we noticed that some articles were getting a much higher readership, sharing on social media and comments. When we looked at the topics that were the most popular, they reflected the issues that were either high profile news or trend in the industry or offered a significant insights or a fresh perspective to common issues. In amongst these were gems on pitches, pitch practice, agency remuneration, including value based, incentive and performance based, scope of work, billable hours and so much more.

Into Print

We decided to capture these popular posts by publishing it as a book. In paperback and e-book, it provided particularly popular. So the following year we did the same. And this year we have done it again. The Top 50 Marketing Management Posts of the Year captures the best and most popular.

But don’t take my word for it. Here is what some of the industry leaders think of the Top 50 Marketing Management Books of the Year:

“Darren Woolley’s Top 50 Marketing Management Post of the Year is a remarkable mosaic of must-read articles and expert opinions that will open your mind, offer new perspectives and challenge you in the process.” – Bruno Gralpois, Author of “Agency Mania” and Co-Founder and Principal, Agency Mania Solutions

“Trinity P3’s Top 50 Marketing Management Posts is a wonderful collection of well-written, insightful blog posts by Darren, his team, and guest writers. They deal head-on with some of the most timely and on point challenges in the industry. Whether you’re a client leader, an agency leader, or industry consultant, this book is a “must read”. – Debra Giampoli, Director, Global Strategic Agency Relations, Mondelez International

“The posts by Darren Woolley and the TrinityP3 team are critical insight. First of all, they provide a glimpse from a unique place in the world — Asia – and yet are truly universal. The collection of top posts gives professionals in our industry fantastic “food for thought” as we go about our hectic lives. He and the team are truly well respected experts and their intelligence is world class.” Sopan Shah, VP Procurement, InterContinental Hotels Group

Exclusive Offer

If you want to lay your hands on this highly-regarded book, follow this link and a free copy is yours when you use the code: Procurious15 (only open to Procurious members).

Happy reading!

Darren Woolley is a scientist by training and a former creative director of JWT. Woolley is the CEO and founder of marketing consultancy TrinityP3.

TrinityP3 is a marketing management consultancy. We challenge our clients, and ourselves, to continuously evolve in thought and approach.

A Game Changer is Born

Digital disruption is inevitable, it’s happening everywhere. But who are the disruptors and how do we ensure they are working for our organisations, changing our landscape and transforming the way we work?

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Leaders are crying out for people who have the ability to change their organisation’s landscape. These individuals are the people who have the ability to completely upend the way a particular organisation, market or industry works – they are the Game Changers.

Think about the likes of Uber, who reinvented the transportation business, and Instagram, who changed the nature of photography – we need the Game Changers to transform the way we do things.

These are two examples of the high level impact Game Changers can have, but not every organisation needs this level of change. The reality is Game Changers are out there changing things every day. Whether it be reinventing an administrative process or the way a department works, having Game Changers on board gives our businesses the opportunity to accelerate evolution at every level within its operation.

The DNA of a Game Changer

Our study, The DNA of a Game Changer, identifies the key traits of a Game Changer and delves a little deeper to investigate what these individuals need to deliver results. It gives us the code we need to identify the Game Changers and identifies the ten key behaviours of a Game Changer:

  • Big picture thinkers
  • Very strategic
  • High on vigour
  • Creative idea generators
  • Passionate about the idea
  • Ambitious, obsessive drive to succeed
  • Risk takers
  • Strong influencers of people (above and below)
  • Great at articulating a vision
  • Likeable

Game Changers exist at every level of our organisations – in fact, 84 per cent of leaders believe people can change the game in their company without having to be put in a senior management position. But do you know who your Game Changers are?

Now our study has identified the characteristics of Game Changers it is easier for us to develop a framework to recognise those within our organisations who have game-changing potential, and to better utilise their obsessive imagination, passion and drive.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, got it right when he said, “The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never ‘normal’.”

The leaders we surveyed echoed Branson’s comments saying they believe Game Changers are often considered disruptive by others.

Without the right business culture or management mindset these game-changing individuals will often leave organisations as a result of being stifled, get removed for being too disruptive, or simply become the “vanilla” and conform to the continuum of corporate complacency.

Ticking boxes

Game Changers don’t tick standard corporate boxes and they will certainly challenge the status quo, which often means managers find them difficult. We need to move away from this tick-box mentality and encourage our managers to take a risk and give Game Changers the freedom to fulfil their potential if we are to reap the benefits.

This is reflected in the process that needs to be implemented when recruiting Game Changers. Recruiting managers need to be able to take a different approach and have the freedom to take a risk. The standard “experience, qualification and skills” recruitment model won’t allow them to identify these characteristics within individuals, which means Game Changers could slip through the net.

This freedom to take risks doesn’t stop with the recruitment process. Managers need to adopt a different management style to allow game-changing individuals to achieve their potential. They need to become more open minded, be willing to listen to potential ideas and support them moving forward, all of this while creating a safe environment for these risks to be taken.

This is where the ‘safe to fail’ culture has its strongest benefit. A Game Changer needs to have the flexibility to challenge the status quo, explore new opportunities and be able to present them to the open ears of management.

The Conclusion

These Game Changers are out there, quite often they are in teams but without the right culture in place we are at risk of losing them. Now we know their “DNA”, it’s in our best interests to utilise these exceptional individuals and give them the freedom to grow and help improve our businesses.

We need to take a risk giving them freedom, that safe to fail culture and in return for our risk they’ll provide our organisations with fresh energy, new ideas and deliver growth and development.

eg.1 is a business insight and talent consultancy. We work globally with organisations when they want to scale, make a strategic step change or simply disrupt the status quo. Our methodology encompasses the acquisition of game changing people, teams and companies underpinned by bespoke market intelligence and talent frameworks.

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Procurement Career

Post your way to success!

2014-01-socialmedia-jobstage A while ago I posted about the career-limiting bear traps to avoid when using social media for business. It’s good to be conscious of those, but they shouldn’t scare anyone away from making the most of these great communication tools: the one bear trap I forgot to mention last time would be to ignore social media altogether.

But how are we supposed to use them for business? It’s clear enough how Facebook can keep us in touch with friends’ culinary exploits and their kids’ school projects, how Twitter can crowd-source a thousand puns and how LinkedIn can be invaluable when job-hunting – but none of that helps us in the day to day of doing the job you’re in.

1. The Boundless Network

Anyone doing a job with an ounce of stimulation or challenge to it will face questions they can’t perfectly answer on a daily basis. What’s the best technique to manage that auction, who can supply the parts we’ll need in that new market we’ve entered, what’s the best training course for my new team member?

The web gifts you a boundless network of people who can – and overwhelmingly, want to – help. Place the question on a discussion board, detailed, intelligent answers often flood in from around the world; complete strangers happily take time to help you out. If the issue can’t be aired publicly, send a connection request to another customer of that supplier you’re evaluating, a CPO who does business in that country, and more often than not they’ll be happy to help.

We have access to huge amounts of data – and many videos of cats – via the Internet, which often turns out to be less helpful than one might hope (especially the cats). Being able to tap into real experience, however, is priceless.

2. Inspiration saves perspiration

Wondering how your colleague effortlessly develops brilliant strategies and is always ready with a great new idea? Well, it could be they’re just smarter than you, but maybe they’re keeping on top of the latest trends via blogs, Procurious and LinkedIn Pulse.

Social media are great tools to keep yourself up to date with the latest thinking. A quick scan of the latest articles, posts and discussions keeps you current and will often provide ideas you could use in your own role.

3. Colleagues might actually listen…

Comms professionals have long since known that the best way to get colleagues to read an announcement is often to get it covered in the press – for some reason we pay more attention to external sources than we do to those infernal internal memos. Most of us don’t have newspaper editors on speed-dial, but we can all now be our own publishers.

Post an article about an initiative you’re undertaking, file an update when you’ve completed a major achievement. It can be striking how others’ opinions of you can be moulded by the mood music you create through social media.

4. Check out the competition, keep close to suppliers

 At a previous company, we spotted that our main competitor’s Twitter account had been hacked and that over several weeks, they – a big company – didn’t even notice. We thought we should let them know, but the lawyers told us we couldn’t talk to anyone there directly – so in the end we helpfully mentioned it to a journalist who covered our sector, knowing the news would then soon reach them…

Anything that egregious is unusual, but it’s amazing what you can pick up about both your suppliers and your competitors. A worrying number of staff from Company X seem to be moving on – could it be unstable? People at Company Y keep asking about a new market – do they have plans you don’t know about? 

5. Amaze your colleagues and astound your friends

Social media is fundamentally meritocratic. Anyone can build a network, we’re all free to create content, and it’s then shared in the same style whoever we are. It gives you an opportunity to show yourself as a leader in your profession, to your peers, your colleagues – and, of course, your bosses.

For this reason, it’s especially important for procurement professionals. In a discipline where your company may not have any benchmark of how good you are, it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your abilities. As the saying goes, you don’t necessarily need to blow your own trumpet, but at least let people know you have one.

Stuart Brocklehurst is Chief Executive of Applegate Marketplace. His past roles have included Group Communications Director of Amadeus IT Group SA and Senior Vice President for External Relations at Visa International CEMEA.

What are the 7 Challenges Keeping PSCM Managers Up at Night?

As the modern procurement division advances to become a part of the whole organisation innovation process, so does the expectations around supply chain and procurement professionals’ performance.

overcoming-challenges

Having a deep understanding of the challenges facing executives who are ascending the procurement ladder is the first step to find strategies and inspiration to overcome them.

Research completed ahead of the Women in Procurement 2016 conference, with Purchasing and Supply Chain Managers from across a variety of sectors, has identified 7 main challenges the modern supply chain and procurement professional must break through in order to achieve the department expected results. Here is a list:

  1. Aligning procurement’s vision with the organisation’s strategy and communicating its value to the entire company
  2. Understanding how technology and processes support supplier relationships and how to lift enterprise innovation
  3. Identifying how to deliver more value to your organisation through strategic procurement
  4. Developing a winning strategy by creating a value oriented procurement department
  5. Inspiring leadership and building meaningful capabilities and skills for your team
  6. Developing the competencies to do business with international partners in challenging cultures
  7. Retaining your best talents

If some, or all of these challenges are keeping you up at night, then you are not alone.Purchasing and Supply Chain Managers managers across the country are looking for solutions to these issues right now.

The Women in Procurement 2016 conference is bringing together a panel of experts to give all in attendance some insights into how leading organisations are addressing these issues. To find out more, download a brochure here.