Category Archives: Career Management

Time Poor at Work? There’s An App For That!

We’re all aware of the concept of ‘time poor’. At least in a work setting, there’s an app or two to help you out.

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Do you frequently feel like you’re short of time at work? Most people start the day with great intentions of how much they’re going to get done. But throw unexpected meetings, phone calls, e-mails and tasks into the mix, and all of a sudden time feels like it’s running out.

Happily, there’s a plethora of apps on the market that can actually bolster your efficiency levels at work. Everything from note-taking, file-sharing, to expense claims and networking can be easier with the help of an app.

And, of course, if you need an app to help with your procurement knowledge and networking, you can download the Procurious iOS app!

Dropbox

Digital storage and file sharing has been revolutionised by Dropbox. It has simplified the way people work together by allowing people to securely store and share files and collaborate on work, whether they’re working alongside each other or on other sides of the world.

Dropbox Business comes with as much storage as a company needs.

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool launched in August 2013. It helps teams communicate and carry out everyday activities like filling out expense reports or scheduling meetings.

As well as cutting down on inter-company e-mails, it also saves valuable time from switching around different applications to do everything you need to handle at work.

Locomote

Companies of all sizes use Locomote to simplify corporate travel and to save costs. Locomote enables organisations to ditch the long email threads and spreadsheets to authorise bookings and claim expenses on any device anywhere in the world.

Feedly

This app enables to you monitor content on industry websites using websites’ RSS feed. The site allows you to collate everything you need to be reading in one spot.

Google Drive/Google Apps

This is a safe place for all your files, photos and videos and include a suite of productivity tools utilised by executives around the world.

Asana

Team and task management tools such as Asana and Basecamp make it easier than ever to track who needs to handle what aspect of a project, and where each project is at. Give your team access and empower them to update the management tool at each stage of the project.

Evernote

A great place to capture what’s on your mind, whether that’s the minutes from a meeting, today’s ‘to do’ list and share your ideas on any device. Great for note-taking on your phone and then emailing to your PC.

Way We Do

This app helps businesses get teams to consistently and diligently follow procedures in their day to day workflow. The app allows you to organise one to 1,000 team members to create and use an operations manual, meaning you can make policies and procedures a daily routine.

LastPass

This is a great app to help you improve online security while also removing the hassle of remembering passwords. It allows you to create complex passwords that you don’t have to remember, with the app logging you in securely.

Buffer

The app that enables you to multi-stream content across social media. This is a great tool if you or your team needs to schedule company social media content for the month ahead.

Cozi

This app allows everyone in your team, or family perhaps, to access the shared calendar app. This means you can put appointments in the calendar that everyone can see, and you can see what others will be doing next Wednesday so you don’t double-book, for example.

Expensify

This app helps simplify your accounts by allowing you to import scanned receipts, which can be matched to expenses. This means you no longer have to manually type in expense details.

You can also import your cash, credit card and other billable expenses, or directly import your bank account details to manage your business and personal credit cards from your mobile device.

LinkedIn

A successful business owner needs to keep on top of your competition and networking. The LinkedIn app is a great way to do this.

You can network with people in your industry by connecting to other relevant people, businesses and groups.

BRiN

Created in collaboration with over 250 business experts around the world, this provides free business advice and access to a video and audio library covering 80 topics, with more updates to come.

This chat interface enables BRiN to understand and pinpoint your business problems and give you solutions and recommendations within micro-seconds.

Pocket Save

This app, previously known as Read It Later, allows you to ‘save’ an article or web page to read later. This means that next time you come across an article, video or link you really want to read, but you’re about to step into a meeting, you can save it to read later.

You can also save articles from your email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

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!

Working From Home – The Great Productivity Debate

Does working from home increase productivity at the expense of innovation? And does it suit you and your company? Join the debate!

working-remotely

Ten years ago, remote working or working from home would have been unthinkable for organisations. Advances in technology and connectivity have played a major part. But just as important has been changing attitudes to the concept of home working.

Gone (or perhaps going would be more accurate) are the days of the perception of home working as a way to skive off for a day. Earlier in my own career, people from my office who worked from home were viewed with suspicion.

The thoughts were that they would log on in the morning, go off to do other things, and return periodically to check e-mails to make it look as though they were busy.

While it absolutely wasn’t the case (the people needed an extremely good reason to be doing it), it might have come from a desire for parity, and knowing that the opportunity could be theirs too.

Seeing the Benefits

But as time has moved on so have attitudes. People are more receptive to the benefits of working from home.

Australian bank, ANZ, polled their employees, and 81 per cent of them stated that they believed that the quality of their work should be measured by what they do, rather than where they do it.

Last year, a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics found that one in seven people in the UK worked from home. In the USA, 67 per cent of employers were allowing occasional remote working by 2014, up from 50 per cent in 2008.

Companies have woken up to the fact that not only can they offer a better work-life balance to employees, but they can offer a more attractive package to retain their best employees. This is on top of the financial benefits that they can realise too.

Sun Microsystems’ telecommuting programme was saving them $64 million in real estate costs and $2.5 million on electricity each year. Additionally, employees were saving an average of over $2000 each on commuting costs.

Productivity vs. Innovation?

It came as a surprise to many, then, when Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer banned the company’s 12,000 employees from remote working. While agreeing that productivity was higher when people were at home, she argued that innovation and collaboration were suffering from people working separately.

Yahoo stood by their decision, and another big name, HP, followed suit soon after. However, more recently, both organisations have softened their stance.

In some industries or organisations, the concept of home working or telecommuting is considerably easier. In industries requiring more face-to-face interaction, or physical presence, things will, of course, be more difficult.

Ultimately, it’s going to hinge on how a job is performed, and whether there is even scope for remote working.

The Great Productivity Debate

But how much of a difference does working from home make on productivity? Speaking from personal experience, I would say that I’m probably more productive working at home than I was working in an office full time.

However, working from home suits both my job – a role that can be done from anywhere with a power socket and decent wifi – and me personally.

And that’s what I believe the productivity debate boils down to. Some roles don’t suit working from home. And plenty people will admit they couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to, work from home.

Some people are more productive when they can get their head down in isolation. Others are more productive when they have other people, and the buzz of an office, around them. And there are people who thrive in both settings.

The ideal situation would be where organisations are in a position to offer both home and office working. Knowing that working from home is an option may be enough for some people when the occasion arises that they need that flexibility.

Making it Work – And Maintaining Your Sanity

Even if you thrive on working from home, you need to plan your tactics in order to make the set-up work. After two and a half years working from home, here are some of my tips to help you stay sane!

  • Plan Your Tasks

Start the day with two to-do lists. One will be tasks you can do on your own, the other tasks you need you colleagues for. Doing this will allow you to line up your next task if you can’t get hold of people on the phone.

  • It’s Still a Work Day

Don’t get distracted, treat your day as if you were in the office. Take breaks and get up from your desk, but remember, you’re working in your house, not doing the housework.

  • Get the Tools

At Procurious, we use Slack and Skype to communicate, Google Drive to share documents, and a good, old-fashioned phone call (at least one a day in my case), to stay in touch. It’s allowed me to continue working remotely, while still feeling like part of the team.

  • Find a Third Place

You’ll inevitably need a chance of scenery at some point. Find somewhere local where you can work. It might be a coffee shop, or a library, but it’s going to help you stop staring at the same four walls.

  • Breathe the Fresh Air

Get out the house once a day, whether it’s a walk before or after work, or running an errand at lunch. Plan some exercise into your day too. You’re going to be less active when you don’t have to leave your house to go to the office.

  • Meet the Team

You might be a remote worker, but you still need to meet your team. Getting into the office once in a while will help you stay up to date and connected.

If you want to work from home, make sure you sell the how as much as the why. With all the tools on offer, there’s no reason that communication should be what’s stopping you.

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!

There’s More to Public Sector Procurement Than Red Tape

Public sector procurement frequently evokes the image of red tape, governance, and over-the-top bureaucracy. The truth is something else entirely.

red tape public sector

This article was written by Kate Brown, Head of Procurement for the Eastern Shire Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)

It’s that time of year again when the new students are heading off to University. And as usual, perennial favourites such as IT, law and sociology remain the courses in most demand for another year.

Sadly it would seem that procurement hasn’t made the top 10 most popular courses list again. I would imagine it would struggle to make the top 20. So what needs to be done to raise procurement’s profile and help attract new, exciting talent to our profession?

We all need to do our bit to help raise the profile of our profession. It’s not uncommon for those at graduate entry level to come for an interview with us with little understanding of what the role of a procurement officer actually entails.

So clearly there’s a job to be done to help educate school leavers and graduates as to what a career in procurement has to offer – beyond buying things and saving money. As we all know, it’s a challenging and varied career and CPOs are increasingly becoming important members of most boardrooms.

Challenging the Public Perceptions

In the public sector, we have a reasonable pool of procurement talent available. However, attracting new and experienced professionals from outside of our sector has always been a challenge. It’s fair to say that in our experience, we see limited movement from private to public sector or vice versa.

There’s always been the perception that the public sector is less challenging, but far too bureaucratic. The Government’s continuing spending squeeze isn’t helping things either. Many candidates are keen to avoid the public sector altogether because of fears over long-term job security.

However, the public sector has a lot to offer both those starting out in their procurement careers, and experienced practitioners alike.

For example, as a professional buying organisation for the public sector, we work with and provide national solutions for a wide variety of customers. These include local and central government, schools, universities, hospitals and charities, through to unique organisations such as the House of Commons and the Royal Opera House.

Our procurement officers procure a vast range of goods and services. From asbestos removal services to biomass, from catering equipment to domiciliary care, from training services to wheeled bins, and everything in between. So it’s a diverse and challenging environment in which to work and requires a whole raft of commercial skills.

Of course, salaries are always going to be part of the debate for anyone considering taking a role in procurement, but there are obvious advantages here too.

As you would expect, everything in the public sector is transparent. There’s a published salary for each pay grade, and a clear pathway for moving up the career ladder. And flexible working is offered to allow for a better work-life balance.

Growth and Success

In a bid to attract graduates to ESPO and grow our own talent we launched our graduate recruitment scheme in 1984.

Each year we take three or four individuals on to our graduate programme to train to work as procurement officers. Each trainee is assigned to a team and is given a mentor to support their progress through the scheme.

Our graduates work with us full-time and one day per week they attend university to study for their MCIPS qualification. This training is funded by us and our graduates are also given time to study and sit for their exams. We currently employ 30 of our past graduates and five current trainees. This makes up a total of 74 per cent of our procurement staff.

I am a graduate of the scheme and worked my way up to my current position as head of procurement. Our first ever trainee is now our head of catalogue and supply chain, so we’ve both proved that career progression within the public sector is possible.

Hope for the Future

There are many advantages to working in public sector procurement. It can be an attractive place for people to come and learn the trade, receive the support they need to further their training, and enjoy a diverse and challenging career.

Business and management was the most popular university course chosen this year. Surely there’s hope that procurement’s popularity will start to rise in future.

Clearly its profile needs a shake up and regardless of whether you choose to be in public or a private sector organisation with the right focus and enthusiasm, both paths will offer a challenging and rewarding career for those starting their working life.

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!

How To Win The Web – Spin a Kick-Ass Personal Brand That Will Get You Noticed

Think you don’t need to worry about how your personal brand appears online? Think again!

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There’s no escaping your online personal brand. Whether you like it or not, all your social media accounts are a direct reflection of you – and your organisation. The content you share, or lack thereof, will be under scrutiny from colleagues, employers, employees, suppliers and influencers.

It’s crucial to take ownership of your online presence by defining your own brand. Take charge of what your profile says about you and reap the professional benefits!

Why Does My Personal Brand Matter So Much?

Online connections are the new business currency.  We all prefer to do business with people that we like and deem trustworthy. In developing a stellar personal brand and building your network, you invite connections to get to know you, observe your integrity and build trust before you’ve even met them in person.

As a prospective employee you can bet that your interviewer/future employer will have already scoured your LinkedIn, Twitter and any other accounts they can access. All of these give an insight into who you are both personally and professionally. Make sure you stand out for the right reasons.

It’s just as important to have a killer online profile as a manager. People want to work for bosses who are well connected, and therefore influential. If your profile is underdeveloped, you appear ‘un-connected’ and risk deterring the best talent. People aspire to work for great bosses that can help grow their careers and they will make the first assessment of this by your online brand.

As a procurement professional, the impetus to have a strong online brand is even more important. Before any business development meeting or negotiation, you can be sure your supply-side counterpart will have looked at your profile, seeking information on what matters to you and your experience.

Where Do I Start?

If you know that your online presence could do with a bit of a revamp but aren’t sure where to begin, it’s self-auditing time!

Spend some time considering how you come across as a person. Are you consistent and authentic across different profiles? Would your network be interested in the things you are saying or sharing? What could you change to get yourself noticed by the right people?

Top Tips For Building Your Brand

Once your initial self-audit is complete, there are some key things to remember as you work on expanding your online presence.

1. Leverage Your Key Influencers

To be noticed online, you need a large network of followers. In the early stages of brand development, building an audience is easier said than done, no matter how brilliant your content is.

A more efficient approach is to leverage key influencers in your industry. Promote and share their work, cite them in tweets and reference them in your content to gain access to their audiences and encourage them to, eventually, return the favour. It takes time and commitment but your efforts will be noticed – just one retweet can make a big difference to your social media clout.

2. Don’t Be a Social Media Robot

You’re a real person so don’t shy away from showcasing the more interesting sides of your personality. If we were all to manage our online accounts with a strictly formal and robotic approach, the social media sphere would be a colourless and dreary place to hang out.

It’s the unique quirks of your personality that people are interested in so it’s unsurprising that the most individual posts with eye-catching photos on Procurious or Twitter are the ones which earn the most likes, shares and retweets.

3. Connect, connect, connect

Building a network is a never ending task so make it part of your daily routine.  Invite friends, colleagues and other connections you meet through events to join you.

On Procurious, we strongly recommend connecting with any and all of the members across our 140+ countries who interest you – perhaps they work in the same industry; manage the same category or perhaps you’d just like to know more about procurement practices in Fiji!

4. Don’t fool yourself – Worlds collide!

Particularly when it comes to Twitter, I’m often asked about whether it’s better to maintain separate personal and professional accounts, or opt for a single social media profile.

In my view, aside from the time management benefits of having just one account to feed, your personal brand is the sum of everything you do – or that is said about you – online.

Trust grows from authenticity. So regardless of how you structure your profiles online, both personal and professional will reflect your overall brand.

If in doubt when posting online, follow this checklist:

  • Does this add to the conversation?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes here? 
  • Does it make sense, would you really talk like that?
  • Would I care if my boss or, more importantly, my mum, read this?

5. Lose the Mask

 Unless you’re batman, you don’t want to keep your identity an online secret. Make yourself searchable on social media by using your full name and your current role. Add up to date photographs so people can put a face to a name.

And make sure your Twitter handle (or gmail account) isn’t some obscure, irrelevant gabble from your teenage years!

Who’s Getting It Right?

If you’re still in need of some further inspiration, look no further than Marie Forleo, entrepreneur, writer and creator of a socially conscious digital empire, enjoyed by millions. Whilst you don’t have to develop your online presence on quite such a large scale, Marie’s website might inspire and motivate you to better your brand!

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!   

Network Your Face Off

Don’t underestimate the importance of your network to your career. It could make the difference in landing your dream job.

network

The importance of networking in procurement, be it face-to-face or on social media, can’t be overstated. Apart from getting your name and personal brand out there, there is also a wealth of information waiting for you when you interact with other procurement professionals.

During Procurious Career Boot Camp, we’ve had Career Coaches and high-profile CPOs sharing their thoughts on the importance of networking for a full career.

Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse and The Daily Muse, began a piece for the Harvard Business Blog Network with this sage advice: “Network Your Face Off.”

The truth and value of this statement cannot be underestimated.  Here are 7 reasons why networking is essential and why connections matter.

1. The larger the network the larger the salary

A recent study of 6,000 executives in over 3,000 firms found that the more connections an employee has, the greater their salary.

Specifically, the study found that a 50 per cent increase in network size accompanies a 3.8 per cent increase in salary with respect to the average.

2. Networks beget jobs

survey conducted by The Adler Group found that 46 per cent of active candidates and 49 per cent of passive candidates found employment thanks to networking.

Similarly, a study conducted by Banque de France and the University of Toulouse noted that half of all jobs in the United States are filled through personal contacts.

ABC News cites an even higher number – according to ABC News, 80 per cent of jobs are landed through networking.

3. Wider networks can lead to better paid jobs

Research conducted by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist David Wiczer, found that employees who found jobs through individuals within their network got paid, on average, 6 per cent more than employees who found their jobs through direct contact with a firm.

4. Networks provide security

People who are well-connected are more likely to stay in their jobs longer and have shorter periods of unemployment than people who are not well-connected.

5. Networks bring opportunities

The opportunities networks can bring include: partnerships, invitations to events, introductions, and invitations to give talks and presentations.

In short networks bring opportunities that benefit and feed your career, professional development, and personal interests.

6. Networks make you smarter

Knowing what is happening in your field and industry is vital.  When you have a strong network you are more likely to be “in the know” than those who do not have a strong and active network.

7. Networks make you happy

Minshew writes: “Networks are powerful, and when done right leave you surrounded by a core of individuals who are all rooting for your success and happy to help you.”  So true.

Networking is essential.  Get out there and build your network.

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!

Myth or Reality? Minding the Talent Gap

Is the procurement talent gap a real concern? Or is it a false perception thanks to a talent shortage instead?

minding the gap

David Lyon, Head of Procurement at Cancer Research is quick to dismiss the idea of a procurement talent gap. He explains why the real problem is a lack of depth, and what we should be doing to address this.

David also highlights the importance of keeping millennials engaged and excited, what he’s learnt about the benefits of good project management and why aptitude and attitude go hand in hand.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?  

I started out as an assistant merchandiser at a Hong-Kong-based clothing manufacturer before acting more formally as the in-house, UK-based representative for the same company within the, as was, Burton Group.

I subsequently moved into the sourcing of clothing and textiles, where I predominantly sourced for womenswear at a major UK-based manufacturer. 

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

Firstly, I wish I’d known the value of having a clear direction and plan from the outset.

Secondly, the vital importance that good project management plays in bringing an organisation onside, when conducting any complex activity involving more than one person. 

Even in a senior leadership position, I find myself looking back to effective planning as critical in charting the course of procurement’s development in the organisation.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials? 

The best way to retain millennials is by providing them with constant exposure to new experiences.  Millennials typically want to grow and learn in short bursts. They rely on technology for the operational basics, which would have traditionally been developed over a longer period.  

Millennials expect to access information in a user-friendly format, at their fingertips, and a dynamic and fun working environment.  Without these factors, retention will become increasingly difficult for organisations that want to have the best talent. 

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

There is not so much a talent gap as a talent shortage. We have a number of really skilled procurement professionals in many organisations. However, we lack the depth in these areas, which means that there feels to be a gap between where we are now and where we want to be. 

We need to continue to promote and advertise the function to attract some of the right skill sets from other functions.

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

Both. Attitude is important with regards to the way employers go about what they do. Aptitude is needed in order to be able to deal with difficult circumstances.

I believe technical knowledge to be of lesser importance. I can buy those skills in as necessary, or train or develop, which is often a great investment in induction and personal development when we have a new hire.

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!

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch: 60 Seconds For Success

You’ve got 60 seconds to sell your personal brand – go! Not ready? Then you need to perfect your Elevator Pitch.

carin-warner elevator pitch

Apple, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Nike. These are some of the most valuable and recognisable brands of 2016 – and they get that value from how they are perceived by their customers.

Just as a well-defined brand is extremely important to a company’s value, so too is a personal brand equally important to your individual success. When people can appreciate and understand your brand, they’re going to understand and value you more. Ultimately, your value will rise in the company’s perception.

In order to accomplish this, procurement and supply chain professionals need to take control of their own personal branding, to set themselves up for success as thought leaders in the industry, and establish a clear trajectory up that career ladder.

In order to establish a powerful brand, you will need to tell your story in a way that creates a memorable and emotional connection with them.

Telling Your Story: The Elevator Pitch

Your personal branding starts with being able to clearly articulate your story in a way that’s differentiated, believable and meaningful. We call that the ‘Elevator Pitch’.

At Warner Communications, we use an elevator pitch often when we’re working to build a reputation and a story for an organisation that we represent. It’s the one-minute speech that enables you to tell the world who you are and what you do.

Before preparing your elevator pitch, ask yourself:

  • What are the key things that you want the world to know about your brand?
  • What are the most important and memorable things that you want your current or future employer to know?
  • And what do you want people to know about you to expand your influence amongst your current and future network?

Once you’ve defined what you want to convey, you can get to work on actually sharing your story, whether that’s at a networking event, on social media, or even in an elevator with your company’s CEO.

Adding Value to Your Brand – and Your Company

As procurement has become a mission critical part of the organisation, it’s important to take a step back and think about the value you add to your company. Whether that’s helping to increase revenue growth or helping the organisation accomplish their overall business goals.

Here are four ways you can add value to your personal brand while increasing prestige for your company as well:

1. Join Associations

Expand your network by joining relevant associations where you could be asked to be a part of a panel or even be invited as a keynote speaker. Not only will this help raise your personal profile, but it will advance your company’s profile in the industry too.

2. Build Your Social Presence

If you’re not an active member of social networks, you’re missing out on a critical opportunity to demonstrate the value of your brand. Joining networks like Procurious.com will allow you to showcase your knowledge and expertise on a broader scale and expand your community.

3. Share What You Know

Especially in this age of social media, share what you know and have learned with your colleagues, company and broader network. By informing your peers and supervisors about the things that you’re doing and thinking that are innovative, you’ll boost your value as an overall team player and leader within the company.

4. Become a Thought Leader

Start building your voice and reputation as a thought leader and subject matter expert in your company and in the industry as a whole. You can do this by writing articles or commentary for industry publications. Soon enough, you might become their expert, go-to resource that they turn to. It’s an opportunity to not only build your personal brand, but increase the perception and awareness of your company as well.

In short, take control of your personal branding! It’s going to help both you and your organisation reach a new level of achievement.

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!

Don’t Lose Career Direction – Get a Career Coach

Do you want a clarity and vision in your career? Do you have a life plan and a coach? Maybe it’s time to start looking for one.

coach

Without a clear vision and a plan to back it up, where are you going?

After coaching executives for the past 15 years, speaking nationally at conferences and authoring books, I have seen an incredible increase in employees hiring a life coach or strategist to enable them to become better versions of themselves both professionally and personally.

We are not taught at school vision creation, life and the wellness skills that are the foundation piece on which we can grow, evolve and flourish.

We tend to go into the work force, work hard for years and end up in places sometimes by chance. Or we follow a pathway and lose that connection to ourselves, and our why, and feel like we are on the treadmill of life.

Successful People

Successful athletes, business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs all have a great team around them in order to shine. They invest in their skills, gain support from their coaches and generally want to be their best both on and off the field.

The United Kingdom Coaching Strategy describes the role of the sports coach as one that “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours.”

Why Have a Coach?

When it comes time to build your personal brand, create a business plan, life strategy and gain clarity on what you really want to do moving forward a coach is a very powerful asset to have.  Just some of the benefits of working with are coach are:

  • Increase self confidence
  • Gain clarity on your direction and what is essential for you
  • Understand you own set of values as a decision making tool
  • Improve your time management
  • Better work life balance
  • Creation of boundaries
  • Improve communication skills
  • Have accountability to someone
  • Declutter your life and get rid of the drainers you have
  • Find the blind spots that may trip you up in the future
  • Create a proper life plan to avoid making wrong decisions
  • Find the shortcuts through using their expertise
  • Gain more insight into yourself
  • Work and conquer your limiting beliefs
  • Did I say clarity clarity clarity!
  • Simplify your thoughts and put into a plan of goals and actions for 1-5 years

Why I Personally Have a Coach

A coach should have a coach! It is a bit like being a personal trainer but not training yourself. I think it is essential that the coach be coached to stay sharp, up-skilled, and to really know and understand what it feels like to be coached.

Plus, we all need to grow, we all need to constantly learn and move with the times, so it is an investment for me that is critical for my own success.

I employ a coach for 6 months of the year, each and every year. It is a non negotiable for me as a business owner, wife and mother. The coach keeps me true to myself, never allowing me to lose the balance, give up what is important to me as I might get swept away in my career. They help with really identifying what is essential for my business to be a great success and really work for me.

I learn from my coach, my boundaries and comfort zones are explored and tested, and each year I want to grow both personally and professionally.

Without a coach, I know I would not be where I am today. And if I had tried to do it all on my own I wouldn’t have advanced so quickly. I am committed each day to growing and evolving and to being a better version of myself and the coach can assist with the tools, support and accountability that I need to be this person.

Also, it is incredible to have someone on my team that is 100 per cent behind me!

What’s Stopping You?

As we’ve seen during the Career Boot Camp, the value of coaching and mentoring in procurement is obvious. Our Career Coaches have talked about it, and our leading CPOs have highlighted the value in their 60 Second Interviews.

Just because you are progressing in your career, doesn’t mean you don’t need a coach or mentor. And it’s great to see that, in procurement, so many of our senior people have had great coaching and mentoring experience. And what’s more, they’re willing to be a mentor for someone else too.

As they say, the best in the world have a coach so why don’t you?  What is the cost of not having a coach come in and up-skill, support and open up your world?

Shannah Kennedy is a life coach and best-selling author, who has worked with a number of high profile global organisations. Find out more about Shannah’s work on her website, and check out her best-selling book, ‘The Life Plan’ here.

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!

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Career

We are obsessed by the prospect of achieving a healthy balance between work and life. But is balance what we should aim for?

healthy body healthy mind

The concept of ‘work-life balance’ frequently pops up in discussion at conferences, articles (here’s another one), and in the workplace.  Our insatiable curiosity on how to feel balanced is nothing new.

The philosophical notion of being the ‘ideal individual’ was discussed by Socrates and Plato, among other philosophers. However, given the self-help book market is still growing, is it that we are we not convinced, or not listening?

In lieu of reading your library catalogue of self-help books, here are some considerations about reaching a health trifecta of healthy body, healthy mind, and healthy career.

1. Balance is fleeting, not the goal

First things first – please forget about ‘work-life balance’.  The definition of balance involves evenness, which is not practical or realistic.

A healthy lifestyle is more like a Venn diagram crossbred with a bubble chart. All elements overlap and one will always take priority over the others. The objective shouldn’t be to balance, rather to maintain your desired outcomes, measured over a period of time determined by your circumstances.

For example, Australia’s Kim Brennan won the gold in the women’s single scull rowing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  She is also a practising lawyer and reportedly, due to training, had not seen her husband for over three months leading up to the gold-medal performance.

Her physical performance took priority over family and career – but measured over the course of four years she has maintained her lifestyle and a successful career.

We’re not all going to be gold medallists.  But we can focus on keeping momentum to maintain our desired outcomes for a healthy body, mind, and career.

2. Know your flow

‘Mindfulness’ is another buzzword doing the rounds sold to us as meditation apps and adult colouring books. Ultimately most of us do this without crayons or sitting in silence, and it’s by achieving flow.

Flow is getting into your zone before you swing the golf club, piping detailed icing decorations on a gingerbread house, and running 10k when you thought you ran 5k.  Flow is where you become fully immersed in an activity for intrinsic purposes.

Finding flow in our personal lives and in the workplace can play an important role is strengthening our mind and body and increasing productivity – whether that’s brain storming a procurement strategy, or knitting a Norwegian sweater.  Knowing what activity you do to achieve flow can make you more mindful about how you’re contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

Note that watching TV is not considered flow.  That’s just time-out, and we all need some of that too.

3. Take control

Most pop-psychology books are trying to promote changes in your life to better yourself.  The pursuit is never-ending if we’re not motivated to do something differently, or our current environment is not conducive of change.

Sometimes the healthiest thing to do is step away and make a conscious effort on controlling your own outcomes.

For example, having a successful career may mean postponing a catch-up with friends, and being mindful may mean trying meditation, instead of watching Law & Order repeats.

At worst you’ll be seen as anti-social for skipping team drinks and declaring that you’d prefer to go to the gym. If it’s what you want, is that so bad?

4. Prioritise. And wear socks

Finally, here’s a hot tip that has stuck with me for years and served well. When we’re faced with work, family, and staying healthy, sometimes we need to forget about the chores and just accept feeling the dirt on the floorboards.

But as we progress in our careers our salaries inevitably will increase and it may be more feasible to outsource the cleaning.  Alternatively…just wear socks.

Everyone’s measure to achieve healthy mind, body, and career is going to differ – so there’s no need to compare yourself and feel the need to run a marathon, study a PhD, or aspire to be CEO. Sometimes it’s as easy as leaving your desk to go for a walk at lunch.

As long as you’re in control, keeping the momentum, and satisfied overall – you’re doing fine.

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!

Forget Money – Health is Wealth

Don’t get hung up on material wealth, and don’t allow your working life to take over. Your health is the best investment you can make.

kate-percival health

There is so much pressure on us all to be able to juggle so many things in our lives and sail through it all, without batting an eyelid.

The complexities of who we are, how we maintain authenticity in the workplace, our sense of responsibility – these pressures manifest in stress, pressure, no time for our families and friends, let alone ourselves, no head space, no space to breath.

The net result of which is – yes – poor health, and a really compromised quality of life, regardless of how glamorous it might appear to everyone else.

However, the world is changing. Our values are changing.  We are questioning the pursuit of money, financial and business success. We know they do not necessarily bring happiness or good health.

Give Up The Guilt!

I tell women every day to take some me time.  Give up the guilt! It’s the wrong attitude to see spending an hour on yourself as pampering.

If we don’t start to look after ourselves, put that hour and a half of “me time” as a business meeting, cut down on the wine, eat healthily, and get our hearts beating, then our bodies will give out as well as our minds.

Exercise is linked to lower rates of cancer. It even helps in treating depression. Emerging studies show that exercising 3 times a week in your older years can cut the risk of Alzheimers by as much as 40 per cent.

For me the big game changers are all within our control. So many women say to me “I just don’t have the time…”. We do – we just have to be as determined about making it as we are in making the deal, making the business succeed, making our families happy.

Let’s look at some hard facts:

  • If you are getting less than 6 hours sleep a night you increase your chances of a heart attack by 60 per cent.
  • Sugar is the new cocaine. It is a killer, it causes cancer, obesity, diabetes. The World Health Organisation estimate that in the UK, 36 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women will be obese by 2030. That’s a 10 per cent rise in the incidence of obesity in under 2 decades.
  • Put down the electric gadgets. Kindles, iPads, iPhones, TVs all use blue light that messes with our circadian rhythms and our eyesight.

We have to be very tough on ourselves, to be disciplined, to give ourselves “me time”, because if we don’t, the consequences are devastating.

Fight or Flight

The body is programmed to react to life-threatening stress with a “fight-or-flight” response.

In this state, the brain triggers a cascade of chemicals and hormones that speed the heart rate, quicken breathing, increase blood pressure, and boost the amount of energy (sugar) supplied to muscles.

Unfortunately, the body does a poor job of discriminating between grave, imminent dangers, and less momentous, ongoing sources of stress, such as financial difficulties, job strain, and even worries about potential problems that haven’t yet arisen. When the fight-or-flight response is chronically in the “on” position, the body suffers.

We have known since the 1950s that job strain can cause cardiac problems.

Type A personalities (these are people who are more ambitious, impatient, and have an exaggerated commitment to work) had a 2 fold increased risk of developing coronary artery disease compared to those of a more relaxed personality type.

Arianna Huffington pointed out in her book ‘Thrive’ that women in highly stressful jobs had a 40 per cent increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks. The pathophysiology behind this thought to be that stress may aggravate inflammation in coronary arteries, leading to blood clots that can trigger a heart attack.

Stress also makes it harder to practice heart-healthy habits, such as exercise, a good diet, not smoking, and adequate sleep. It’s hard to tell what proportion of heart attack risk is due to psychological stress as opposed to, say, smoking or lack of exercise.

And some women may be predisposed (genetically or from early life experience) to react less effectively than others to stressors.

Creating Healthy Habits

So what can you do to make sure you foster good habits, and take care of your health?

  • Foster mutually supportive relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
  • Get regular exercise. It’s good for the heart, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves sleep.
  • Limit intrusions (such as work-related e-mails) on your life outside of work.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, or visualisation.
  • Eat healthily – no processed food, reduce sugar, bad fats and generally eat less.
  • Do things that make you laugh or smile – get those endorphins flowing
  • Affirmations (they work!) – be positive, enjoy life and live a happy healthy one.

Try to bring back your work-life balance. We all need to get the balance right, and be strong in the conviction that there is another way of working. It’s not about giving up on your dreams, just managing your life better to ensure you’re around long enough to enjoy them!

Remember, we can have it all. We just can’t have it all of the time!

Kate Percival is London’s Leading Women’s Health and Wellness Entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and CEO at Grace Belgravia, London’s leading health, wellbeing and lifestyle club offering a fully-integrated service for members.

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!