All posts by Procurious HQ

Be a Procurement Polygon – Learning From All Sides

Procurement pros get to experience all sides of their organisation –  and that’s the key to learning!

learning styles

Megan Sunderland, Vice President Global Procurement / CPO of Beam Suntory, considers the opportunities enjoyed by procurement professionals, who have access to diverse elements of business to help boost learning, both inside and outside their organisations. 

Megan also identifies some of her organisation’s key competencies, lauds the value of having external career mentors, and explains why you need to first believe in yourself, before you can do the job properly. 

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  1. A Cheesemaker for King Island Dairies – This was fate given that my last name used to be Cheesman!
  2. Production Supervisor with Nestle Confectionery
  3. Food Technologist R&D with Nestle Foods

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish I’d always had the self confidence to know that you earn a  job because of who you are and the experiences that you have learnt along the way.  It’s important to listen to the role demands but also believe in yourself that you have the goods to make it successful.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

By highlighting the many facets to Procurement.

Every project is different; you get to touch and work with every part of not only your business, but also other vendor businesses. This provides great opportunities for learning and development. 

4. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Beam Suntory have identified 10 competencies that are important for procurement professionals.  Project management, analytics, results focus and professionalism are among the most critical. 

5. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

I have had various mentors throughout my career.  I still keep in touch with many of them and use their pieces of wisdom almost daily.  Having a mentor who is external to your organisation can provide alternate perspectives. 

This provides the ability for you to become objective and perhaps see things from an angle that you would have never considered otherwise.  To keep your eyes wide open and being able to stop, think and challenge is invaluable.

6. What are you looking for in high potential recruits for Beam Suntory?

Cultural fit is very important in every business. Specifically though, I look for a continuous improvement mindset and courageous behaviours. I like to see people who are not afraid to have the difficult conversations.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

The Five Hour Rule – Learning One Hour At A Time

Ditch the workload for the ‘Five Hour Rule’ and instead find innovative, alternate ways to enrich your mind and learn something new in just one hour per day.

five hour rule

Are you frantically working to the last minute of every day?  Do you measure your daily achievements on how much of your work-load you get through?

As your procurement career progresses do you feel your responsibilities mounting and any personal development goals being sidelined?

If the answer to any of those questions if yes then Procurious is here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. It’s time to adopt the ‘Five Hour Rule’.

What Is The Five Hour Rule?

The Five Hour Rule is a widely adopted practise which involves participants dedicating one hour of the working day to doing something entirely non-work-load-related.

Notable entrepreneurs, artists, business leaders, politicians, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, have endorsed the strategy. They believe that devoting just one hour of purposeful distraction to their day, each weekday, can pay huge dividends to their intelligence and business success.

Putting aside your daily routine can be a valuable technique for expanding your mind.

Let’s take a look at Benjamin Franklin. An apprentice from the age of 10, Franklin didn’t seem to be a gifted academic. However, he’s now one of the most recognisable names in history, famous for his inventions, writing, and entrepreneurial projects.

Franklin adopted the art of constant learning throughout his adult life. He took at least one hour out of his busy schedule every weekday to learn a new skill, read, write, set goals or experiment.

Constant learning is the key to success.

Top Tips for Sticking With It

  • Set aside the time. The same time each day can be a good approach.
  • Plan out the learning. Set some goals for what you want to learn, rather than just goals for what you want to accomplish.
  • Solve problems as they arise. Don’t sweep issues under the carpet that are hard to solve. Set aside time to address them before they grow into big problems.
  • Implement your learnings. Picked up something new? Implement it straight away.

How Should I Spend My Golden Hour?

This is one of those rare times when there is no right or wrong answer – so embrace it! Think of something you’ve always wanted to do, a topic you’re curious about or somewhere you’d like to go.

The more obscure the better. You’ll return to your desk with a fresher perspective and your mind enhanced with the new things you’ve learnt.

If you’re still lacking inspiration we’ve come up with a few ideas.

Do Something Active

Sign up to a gym class, go for a run, or walk to a park. If solitary exercise doesn’t appeal, join a sports club. Switching your mind off for an hour from your current workload gives you the chance to revisit it with a new perspective.

Learn Something New

Try learning something new and totally unrelated to work. Read a book: an autobiography of someone you admire; 100 pages of that novel you keep meaning to finish; a political magazine; a non-fiction history book.

Challenge yourself to memorise every state in the USA, and when you’ve done that, every country in the world. Listen to a podcast about a topic which interests you, watch a documentary. Take an online language course or have a piano lesson.

Take Up a Hobby

Why not start writing a blog or a book? Buy an art tutorial book and learn to paint from scratch. Do a floristry class or a photography course. Start cooking or baking.

Volunteer to teach disadvantaged students, join a charity and start doing activist work. Find a debating society and argue with others over things you care about.

Visit Somewhere Different

Go somewhere close to your workplace that you’ve been meaning to go, a coffee shop, a restaurant a gallery, a museum, a shop-  explore the area.

Use the time to think about something – anything other than work. Don’t force yourself to focus on your immediate goals or to- do list. It’s not productive.

The Eureka Moment

Is all of this sounding a little too romanticised and self indulgent?  The truth is, you never know when and where you might have that life-changing “Eureka moment”.

Slogging away, hunched over your computer screen isn’t necessarily conducive to coming up with a career-changing, innovative idea.

Author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Elizabeth Gilbert, was struggling with a failed draft of her memoir, so took up gardening to clear her head.

There, pulling up tomato vines, she suddenly realised how to fix her book. She washed her hands, returned to her desk, and within three months, she had completed the final version of her book, Committed. It subsequently spent over a year at the top of the New York Times’ non-fiction best sellers list.

Pick something that interests, excites or motivates you and immerse yourself in it.

You could also adopt the five hour rule to help with your professional development. As part of your hour, take part in the Procuruous Career Boot Camp.

You’ll spend your time listening to podcasts from our expert coaches, reading articles from global thought leaders, and join in on discussions with over 17,000 fellow procurement and supply chain professionals.

You never know where it might lead you!

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

It’s The Final Countdown: Introducing Week 3’s Career Coaches

We’re into the final week, the home stretch. But there are still five top coaches waiting for you in Week 3.

personal-trainer final countdown

We’ve sprinted, sweated, shouted and stretched our way through two weeks of Career Boot Camp. Our limbs may be aching, our cheeks might be red, but it’s all been worth it, as we start to see the career plans of 17,000+ procurement professionals taking shape.

The Procurious community has trained hard so far, but now is not the time to get complacent. To reap the benefits from Boot Camp it’s important to commit to all fifteen days in order to emerge with a fully toned skill set.

Ready for the Final Push

Let’s make the final push a big one and end Career Boot Camp on the highest high.

Coming up in Week 3 are podcasts from Procurious’ General Manager, the CEO of London’s leading women’s health club, and the founder of a first of its kind, online assessment tool which identifies organisational Game Changers.

These coaches will be addressing the importance of achieving a work/life balance, why you should be sharpening up your social media profile and how to be a game-changer.

DAY 11 – Monday 3rd October

nathan-ott‘Change the Game: Make a Disproportionate Difference’ – Nathan Ott, Co-creator of the Game Changer Index for Identifying High Potential Employees

Preferred Post-Work-Out Snack: Rare steak

It’s crucial for organisations to focus on the impact and contribution that their individual employees make. Nathan Ott asserts that every team member should aspire to being a game-changer in their own right and why it’s wrong to focus entirely on the spotlight-stealers.

As CEO and Co-Founder of the Game Changer Index and director at eg.1, Nathan works across all practice areas balancing his time between the needs of clients, the development of the team, and the growth and direction of eg.1.

In his podcast, Nathan will explain how to capitalise on your individual strengths, and, as a leader, how to value the unique potential of every individual.

DAY 12 – Tuesday 4th October

chris-sawchuk‘How to be the Most Valuable Player: Build Your Personal Scorecard’ – Chris Sawchuk, Principal & Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group

Favourite Team Sport: Dodge-ball

Earning “most valuable player” status at your organisation takes time, diligence and focus. Chris Sawchuk shares the playbook in Day 12’s podcast with some top tips on building your personal scorecard.

Chris has nearly 20 years’ supply management experience, working directly with Fortune 500 and mid-sized firms around the globe. He has even been recognised by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine as one of its “Pros to Know.”

Learn, from Chris, what it takes to become a trusted advisor, execute with agility, and make an invaluable contribution to your business. Chris also addresses the importance of maintaining a happy workforce in order to increase the levels of productivity.

DAY 13 – Wednesday 5th October

kate-percival‘Fit for Business, Fit for Life: Regain Your Work/Life Balance’ – Kate Percival, CEO, Grace Belgravia – London’s leading Women’s Health and Wellness Entrepeneur

Proudest Career Coach Moment: Motivating hundreds of procurement pros to work-out together and re-shape their future career plans.

With the new demands facing procurement professionals who are now on the go 24/7, how can you create the right work/life balance for yourself? Kate Percival has been CEO of Grace, London’s leading health, well-being and lifestyle club for women, since 2012.

She completed her masters thesis on the convergence of medicine and the global spa industry, which provided the basis of her business plan. Grace is a space that is a sanctuary for women, supporting them in health and well-being as well as in mind and soul.

Kate will offer her guidance on how to stay focused and energised to trigger greater success in the workplace.

DAY 14 – Thursday 6th October

carin-warner‘Brand You: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch’ – Carin Warner, Founder, Warner Communications – Strategist for 30 under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

Post Workout Cool-Down Routine: Stretch it out. Have a hot stone massage followed by an ice bath. Enjoy a green smoothie.

What’s your personal brand, and do you really need one to advance in procurement?

Carin Warner believes the answer is a resounding yes! Carin’s podcast draws on her 20 + years of experience working with blue-chip clients on brand positioning and national recognition.

Today, she concentrates her expertise on brand image development, corporate communications, crisis communications and leading Warner Communications forward with a passion for creativity and desire for excellence.

On Day 14 of Career Boot Camp, Carin will delve into why procurement and supply chain professionals need to take control of their own personal branding to set themselves up for long-term success.

She’ll teach you to share what you know, share what you’ve learned and inform your peers and supervisors about all of the innovative things that you’re doing.

DAY 15 – Friday 7th October

lisa-maloneGet involved. Get ahead. Social media as Your Career Secret Weapon’ – Lisa Malone, GM Europe, Procurious – The World’s First Online Procurement Network

Advice for the final week of Career Boot Camp: This is the final hurdle so we need to see one last push to the end!

If you’re rolling out the same, old excuse that you’re “simply too busy” to fully capitalise on social media, Lisa Malone’s podcast is the one for you!

Lisa will convince you that just 15, well-spent minutes a day on social media is all you need to advance your career.

Having spent eight years working with professional services businesses to develop and lead communications strategy, refresh brand image and lead teams, Lisa knows a thing or two about branding.

She is a convert to the power of social media having spent the last two years as Procurious’ General Manager. She now works with commercial leaders to leverage this trend to amplify and affect change.

Lisa will explain the importance of building your personal brand, getting connected, key social media skills you should have mastered and how to implement a daily habit.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Teamwork is Procurement Dreamwork

Divide the task and multiply the success – why teamwork is just as critical for procurement success as individual brilliance.

teamwork

Sue Steele, Senior Vice President Global Supply Management for Jacobs, asserts the value of collaboration and teamwork for procurement success.

Sue also reveals what skills she looks for when hiring at Jacobs, discusses the critical importance of mentoring, and outlines the key skills procurement professionals need.

1. What were your first 3 jobs

  1. Student Activities Advisor at Auburn University
  2. Energy Conservation Consultant at Florida Power & Light (FPL)-Miami, Florida
  3. Power Services Representative-FPL, Miami, Florida

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish I’d known that teamwork and collaboration are just as important as individual performance.

3. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Systems Savvy
  • Cost Leadership.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

Mentors are absolutely critical for career success. Throughout my career I have benefited from mentoring by executives, career coaches and peer to peer mentors.

5. What does it take to work at Jacobs? What are you looking for when you hire talent?

Jacobs is a technology, engineering, and construction firm so skills in those fields are preferable. We also look for experience with our clients or competitors in the Engineering & Construction industry.

Leadership, teamwork, good communication skills and innovation are other qualities we rate most highly. 

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Innovate & Create Your Way To A Better Procurement Future

Why should the ability to create novel solutions for issues be second nature to procurement teams in the coming years?

create

Donna Trowbridge is an accomplished Sourcing Manager with more than seventeen years of international experience. She has been the Group Head of Procurement at DBS bank for the past three years.

In our sixty-second-interview she explains why it is so important to approach problem solving with creativity, using the wealth of resources at our disposable within supply chains. Experimentation and adaptation are critical skills for the procurement industry.

Donna offers some great tips on recruiting, and draws on her experiences of living in Asia and working with millennials to offer some valuable insights.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

My first ever job during the school holidays was as a caller in a bingo hall. I used to call out numbers for the customers to mark off their cards.

My career after graduation started with Honda. I initially applied for a quality assurance roll on the manufacturing line at Honda. They decided I would be best suited to procurement. 

At first I was a little shocked I would be paid to shop just shows – how little I knew! looking back it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

After 6 years in direct procurement at Honda, I wanted to explore more of the indirect procurement and so moved to a role at Barclays Bank in London as Head of Corporate Real Estate Procurement.

This was the start of a very long and fulfilling career in Financial Services Procurement, which has also facilitated me living in Singapore for the last 10 years.

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

When we recruit, we are more often than not drawn to people who are very similar to ourselves. I struggled with this in the first few years of my career.

Now I realise that team diversity in skill and style is key to success, my aim in recruitment is to hire people that are better than me, and not be afraid of that.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

A lot has been said I think a little unfairly about millennials: lazy, unable to focus, need instant gratification, to name a few. The “blame” if any of these things are true is with the manager of the millennial not the entire generation.

Millennials are attached to things they are passionate about. Interestingly for me on a recent recruitment drive, I found all of the Millennials interviewed had a genuine passion for social responsibility.

This one for procurement is easy. We all have CSR but with the help of our millennials we have taken it a step further and we help social enterprises who are customers of our bank in all of their negotiation needs. Millennials are providing their unique skills to help a social cause which provides a very important feel-good factor.

Retain is another matter. Employers should provide the tools and training millennials are accustomed to as a bare minimum. They also need to be constantly challenged and given opportunities to grow.

However, nowadays, a job or company for life doesn’t exist. If you can get 5 good years before they move on, then I think that’s ok. We just need to have a strong pipeline of talent to step up to roles as people leave.

4. Does the procurement talent gap exist? Or is it just as perception problem?

Its 100 per cent perception. Especially for me living in Asia, as the population of Asia is in the billions, and it’s normal for graduates to have masters degrees. How can we then say there is a talent gap?

The problem is in fact caused by CPOs who create the gap by being so specific about the experience they require. I recruit on skills not experience.

I work in a bank with one of the best teams I have ever managed. In my team I have a dentist, a soap opera star, a bank manager, and a person who used to buy chicken for subway. Diversity for me is definitely key.

5. What’s more important for your hires – attitude or aptitude?

100 per cent attitude. Everything else can be taught.  After all, we buy things, not build space rockets.

6. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Business aptitude. We must talk to the business on their terms, not ours, and understand the problems they have, and help to solve them.

A mindset of innovation – always thinking how to create novel ways of solving problems by leveraging the huge resources we have in our supply chain. Not being afraid of failure, learning to experiment and change and adapt ideas, and an understanding of data are also important.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Is the Age of the Tech Unicorn at an End?

Once, every tech start-up wanted to be a unicorn? But could the age of the unicorn be at an end? And what will replace them?

unicorn

For the past few years, much of the talk for new technology start-ups has been about achieving the moniker of a ‘unicorn’. Many have tried, plenty have failed, but there are as many that have succeeded.

However, as many people warned, the constant rise of the ‘unicorn’ was always going to come to an end. And even some of the big name unicorns from the past few years have lost this particular title.

So, is the age of the unicorn at an end? And what is coming next to take their place?

Rise of the Unicorn

For those of you still unfamiliar with the term, a unicorn is a technology start-up company, which reaches a valuation of over $1 billion. The companies are characterised by rapid growth, and are generally privately funded, either through VC, or other routes.

The issue with unicorns, one that investors were aware of from the start, is that they are not profitable. Well, at least to begin with. Most unicorns aim to prove concept, and grow market share, before making any money.

Valuations tend to be based on future projections of worth, which is why truly defining a unicorn is tricky. Currently, the Wall Street Journal lists 155 unicorn firms, Fortune 174, and VentureBeat 229.

There are plenty of recognisable names on these lists. Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX and Dropbox, to name but a few. Many of these companies also appear on lists of organisations still considered to be disrupting their respective industries.

It’s probably easier to argue that companies like Facebook and SpaceX, unicorns of the past, have surpassed that title by being profitable in their own right. And profitability, after all, is surely the key.

Pop! Is that a Bubble Bursting?

When we first visited the topic of unicorn organisations a little under a year ago, we did highlight vulnerabilities in this set up. Venture capitalists and their investments are as much susceptible to market changes as any other business.

And given the global uncertainty that has been prevalent in 2016, many investors are looking for safer options. And this decrease in available funding has already seen a major impact amongst unicorns.

The pre-IPO investment firm Sharespost published an analysis in August that concluded that 30 per cent of all unicorns would lose their billion-dollar net worth. Some already have, and some have been pushed down that road in the past 9 months.

Big name companies like Theranos (once a unicorn, now subject of media interest for all the wrong reasons) and Evernote have already had valuations written down. Even Twitter and Uber have lost some of their valuation (though not enough to take them under the magic $1 billion mark).

Rise of the…Cockroach? Really?

Yes, really. Well, if you’re looking for a survivor, it’s well known that cockroaches could probably survive the apocalypse!

It might not be as glamorous a title, or an image, but the cockroaches are here to stay. Cockroach organisations differ from unicorns by having slow and steady growth, a closer eye on spending, and steady profits.

Cockroaches exist where funding doesn’t come as easily, but they can be smaller, more agile, and better prepared for uncertainty. And with smaller budgets, they are regarded as being more creative than their unicorn counterparts.

For investors, this represents a safer option, and a potentially better return in the long-run for them and their clients. While some unicorns will make it, and make it big for their investors, cockroaches are seen as a safer investment, something that is welcome in volatile markets.

Where will we be in another year? Who knows. We can’t predict which companies will still have their unicorn title, and which will be falling back. However, the chances are that the cockroaches are here to stay.

Cockroach or unicorn – which would you rather be involved with? Is the age of the unicorn really at an end? Let us know your thoughts below.

While you ponder that, here are this week’s procurement and supply chain headlines to keep you going.

Bangkok Fire Trucks Belatedly Enter Service

  • A fleet of 176 fire trucks are to finally enter service in Bangkok, a full 10 years after they were purchased.
  • The trucks have locked up in a warehouse for over a decade due to a prolonged legal dispute.
  • The Austrian-made trucks were locked up soon after delivery as part of a wider corruption scandal involving senior government ministers.
  • Due to their age, the trucks require extensive maintenance before they can be put to use.

Read more at The Nation

Self-Driving Delivery Boats to Ply Amsterdam’s Canals

  • The Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions plans to use the city’s extensive  canal network to trial a fleet of autonomous boats.
  • The floating robot vehicles will deliver goods and provide driverless transportation for people along the canal network.
  • The boats can also be linked together to provide on-demand bridges and stages.
  • Amsterdam’s research into robot canal boats parallels the proliferation of self-driving cars in the US and elsewhere.  

Read more at The Verge

Amazon Business Hires White House Procurement Head

  • Amazon has hired the former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Anne Rung, in a bid to increase its sales to government agencies.
  • The role, titled Global Leader of Public Sector Sales, will focus on helping Amazon win government purchasing contracts.
  • Rung will work closely with government buyers to purchase goods and services more efficiently.
  • In her Federal role, Rung reportedly saved taxpayers more than $2.1 billion in procurement spending by reducing duplication.

Read more at B2B eCommerce World 

30 Under 30 Programme Goes Global

  • ISM and THOMASNET.com’s 30 Under 30 Supply Stars programme has returned for its third year.
  • The programme celebrates the achievements of young professionals in Procurement and Supply chain, with the goal of attracting more Millennials into the profession.
  • This year, for the first time, the competition has expanded beyond the US to include nominations from around the world.
  • Judges are looking for multitalented professionals who are influencers and trailblazers in their organisations.

Read more and Nominate at THOMASNET.com

Cloud, Not Laughter, The Best Procurement Medicine

A spoonful of Cloud makes the medicine go down. Healthcare patients in England could benefit from a move to Cloud eSourcing.

laughter medicine

This article was written by Daniel Ball, Director at Wax Digital.

Healthcare organisations are under constant scrutiny to deliver high quality care to patients. In England, it’s The Care Quality Commission which regulates all health and social care services to ensure fundamental standards of quality and safety are met.

The findings of its reviews are published to the general public. This puts organisations not coming up to scratch at risk of suffering from a negative public reputation.

Improving Quality of Care

However, help is at hand from The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). The organisation works with healthcare organisations to identify areas where quality of care can be improved.

The HQIP is an independent organisation responsible for managing clinical audit contracts on behalf of NHS England. It was launched to promote quality in healthcare, and, in particular, to increase the impact that clinical audits can have on healthcare quality improvement.

Commissioning and managing clinical audits means having to source a range high quality external experts to carry them out. To do this, HQIP recognised that best practice procurement tendering processes were needed to to run an audit.

HQIP saw the value in moving to an eSourcing platform so that it could speed up the procurement process. It knew that if it was able to source experts quicker and do away with paper-based, manual tender processes, it could save itself valuable time and resources.

Moving to the Cloud

HQIP decided to go with Wax Digital’s cloud based web3 eSourcing. This allows the organisation to publish tenders electronically and make use of existing templates. It also enables suppliers to submit responses online.

The system also offers a mix of automated and manual scoring facilitates, with subsequent contract awards also taken care of electronically via web3.

Its project management function also allows HQIP to plan its eSourcing activities so that all relevant information is stored in one central place, which can be easily accessed by system users.

Judith Hughes, interim Head of Procurement at HQIP said: “As we’d aimed for, Wax Digital web3 has greatly improved our processes. Moving away from paper-based tendering has significantly reduced the time it takes to review and award teams for projects.

“It has also helped further ensure our quality guidelines are upheld and we now have a much more efficient way of engaging with our suppliers and them with us.”

An increasing number of healthcare organisations can benefit from the speed and efficiencies offer by cloud-based software. Innovation starts within the supply chain. By rolling out eSourcing technology, HQIP enjoys a more efficient supply chain for audit management. This in turn can aid healthcare organisations meet required care standards, and improve the quality of service for patients.

Big Ideas Summit 2016: Big Idea #15 – Thinking the Unthinkable

Modern leaders, in the C-suite and in Government, aren’t equipped to deal with unthinkable events due to a lack of skills, or sense of denial.

At the Big Ideas Summit 2016, we challenged our thought leaders to share their Big Ideas for the future of procurement.

From ideas that have the potential to change the very nature of the procurement profession, to ones that got the assembled minds thinking about the profession’s impact outside of the organisation, the response we received was amazing.

Managing Unthinkable Events

Nik Gowing, visiting professor at King’s College, London, says that we are seeing a very human sensation of feeling “overwhelmed”. This is happening to executive level leaders in both the public and corporate sectors.

Building on his ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ study, Nik argues that leaders aren’t equipped to deal with ‘unthinkable’ events, either through a lack of appropriate skills, or through denial, or wilful blindness.

Catch up with all the delegates’ Big Ideas from the 2016 Summit at the Procurious Learning Hub.

Want to find out more about Big Ideas 2016? And maybe what we have planned for 2017? You can visit our dedicated website!

If you like this (and you haven’t done so already) join Procurious for free today. Get connected with over 16,000 like-minded procurement professionals from across the world.

Fools Rush In – Take the Time To Be Cautious

Being cautious doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious. It’s not always a good idea to throw caution to the procurement wind.

be cautious

Miguel Caulliez, Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia, explains why it doesn’t always pay to make spur-of-the-moment, opportunistic decisions as far as your career is concerned. We should be cautious and take the time to assess what is right.

Miguel, who has worked for Nokia since 2010, values innovation and diversity in the talent he employs and lauds the benefits of having solid career mentors.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  • Financial Analyst at Auchan
  • Category Manager at GE
  • E-Business Leader at GE

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I think it’s important to try to not be too opportunistic. Take the time to be cautious when choosing which industry you want to work in. Changing function is a challenge, but changing industry could be an even bigger, and unwelcome, challenge.

3. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Procurement pros need to be curious and have a willingness to disrupt. They should also fully understand what innovation means and be able to work innovatively.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career? 

Mentors have been essential throughout my career. I could not and would not have achieved what I have done without, particularly two of, my mentors.

5. What does it take to work at Nokia? What are you looking for when you hire talent?

 Opportunities are unlimited at Nokia, so I am always looking for talent who can find their own way and work independently.

I see it as my responsibility to give a framework to my teams, but I very much appreciate the diversity in opinions, backgrounds and methods.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

All Hard Work and No Networking Equals Incomplete Career

All the hard work in the world won’t compensate for a lack of networking skills. It’s your network that’s going to take you to the top.

hard-work

Johanne Rossi, CPO at Caltex, and The Faculty’s ‘CPO of the Year’ for 2016, asserts the importance of procurement professionals honing their networking skills as a career-boosting priority.

She also discusses her approach to motivating and retaining employees, lists the key skills procurement professionals require and explains why the perception of procurement as an “un-sexy” profession is responsible for the talent gap.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  • Management Consultant with Accenture in France, UK and the USA
  • Head of eSourcing with CPGmarket (consortium between Nestle, Danone and SAP)  in Germany and Switzerland
  • Supply Chain Lead with Nestle in Australia and South Africa

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

One thing? There are so many things I wish I knew about myself, about others and about the corporate world. The ride would have been so much smoother and quicker!

One thing that really stands out for me is the realisation that working very hard is only going to get you so far. Networking and influencing is the true currency for career success.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

Millennials or not, my main focus is people. Most of the people I work with are millennials anyway!

I try to work with the following ideals in mind:

  • Inspire people to come to work and have fun.
  • Care about people: listen to who they are and let them focus on what they love, are good at or have an interest in.
  • Embrace and share with employees the fact that I am vulnerable and a bit crazy.
  • Share with my employees my vision, which has to be ambitious, aligned to the corporate vision and make them proud to be part of the team.
  • Recognise accomplishments and praise people in front of others.
  • Develop people and keep them excited.
  • Don’t tolerate poor performance.
  • Don’t treat everyone equally, encourage and recognise the top performers.
  • Focus on people and relationships, not process and rules.

4. Does the procurement talent gap exist? Or is it just a perception problem?

The gap may lie in the fact that Procurement is not yet viewed as the sexy profession it actually is, and as such the most talented people are not coming to us in spades.

Having said that, things are changing. More and more incredibly well-rounded and brilliant people are joining the Procurement ranks. This is super exciting to watch!

Procurement is an amazing way to solve business issues, get leadership visibility and learn new skills while making a difference to organisations.

5. What’s more important for your hires – attitude or aptitude?

Definitely mindset. We need people with a growth mindset, who “embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others”[1].

6. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

I feel procurement professionals need to be well-rounded with the following competencies:

  • Influencing and communicating well.
  • Facilitating and working cross-functionally.
  • Seeking results and being accountable.
  • Building relationships.
  • Solving problems and thinking strategically.
  • Managing total value chain costs, being analytical and understanding risks.
  • Being humble, innovative and ethical.
  • Being agile and handling complexity and ambiguity.

[1] Source: Taken from Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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