Category Archives: Career Management

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!

Hitting The 30-Something Ceiling

Do you feel like a Ferrari trapped in a retirement village? You might be experiencing the 30-Something Ceiling.

ferrari-testarossa-05 30-something ceiling

Are you having restless nights punctuated with vivid dreams where you’re yelling at your boss? Have you started updating your CV? Or created endless spreadsheets mapping out cash-flows for your start-up? Have you been brainstorming company names with your friends?

If you’ve found yourself doing any of the above recently, you may have hit the 30-Something Ceiling.

We’ve all heard of the glass ceiling, the 7-year itch, buyer’s remorse, and a whole lot of other terms explaining regret and impatience. However, I think I’m the first to coin the 30-Something Ceiling.

Hitting the Ceiling

How do I know about this? Well, I was thirty once! But more importantly, I’ve had a number of very impressive 30 somethings work for me over the years. Managing their expectations, and keeping them challenged and satisfied, has been an important part of my job.

Let’s look at the (very generic and fabricated) facts about being a professional in the 30+ age bracket.

Firstly, I remember my early 30s as being some the best years of my life (so far!). The world seems to be your oyster. At that stage of your career, you more than likely have 10 years’ experience, which could involve 3 or so different jobs, you may have completed your Masters.

You are at the top of your game, you know “stuff” and are earning good money. And – from all reports – you have been doing a great job.

You have the wind at your back. So why do your boss and HR just seem to be blowing hot air? You’re asking yourself:

  • Why aren’t they giving you more responsibility?
  • Why are they making these crazy decisions?
  • Why don’t they get you involved?

My theory on why the 30-Something Ceiling exists? Why do professionals at this critical stage of their career experience high levels of frustration?

Because you’re like Ferrari Testarossa that has to observe the 15 mph speed limit in the retirement village you’ve been housed in. You have the speed, the power and the looks to win the race, but everyone around you is yelling “slow down, take it easy”.

Getting ‘In the Loop’

The real frustration occurs because you are just one reporting line out of “the loop” – the information expressway in organisations where all the real information is being shared.

You might think your boss and those above you are incompetent, because you don’t have any frame of reference for why and how the decisions are being made.

And, of course, your boss doesn’t understand your frustration or confusion, because they are in the loop. Your boss understands the context. But they can’t share it because they have to toe the company line.

In addition to the frustration of being outside the corporate information flow, you also feel like your abilities are not recognised. Companies are notoriously bad at recognising talent in a way that employees value.  An email of thanks, extra training, promotion, money, fame – anything would help – but instead there is silence.

Yet they are very quick to appoint outsiders on more money, with more seniority, only to discover that you (the incumbent) are actually much better!

Surviving the Ride

I know you’re frustrated, but long ago I settled on the theory that one of the biggest requirements for getting promoted in business was actually just being there.

That’s right – tenacity, tenure, endurance. So, if you want to get to the top, you need to find strategies to survive the ride.

You might want to throw in the towel, and go to another company or your dream start up, but remember, the grass isn’t always greener.

So before you submit your CV to a new employer, or your business plan to the bank, you need to heed some words of warning.

Remember when you leave a company you are leaving all the value of the internal networks and personal brand equity you have built within that organisation.

This is one of the reasons I started my own company – the thought of building my corporate reputation from ground zero again was quite daunting. (Mind you, I was extremely naïve. Believe me, building your start-up’s reputation from ground zero is even more intimidating!)

Breaking Through the Ceiling

I’m going to encourage you to stay with your big corporate career job and suggest what you need to do:

  • Acknowledge – recognise that you have hit the 30 something ceiling
  • Explain – highlight your frustration to your boss and ask if you could be given a little more context on why decisions are being made.
  • Build – Get yourself on high profile, corporate projects in addition to your day job. This will allow you to use up all that brain power and speed so you’re less frustrated. This has the added benefit of you gaining more recognition throughout the company.
  • Develop – Ask your boss (and/or HR) to be transparent about your professional development plan. What are the roles they think you could be targeting, and when?
  • Network – Keep building your network. This will help you learn, get promoted, and share your frustrations with others in the same situation.
  • Dream – Keep dreaming about other jobs and your own start-up. Write plans and keep them in the bottom drawer as insurance!

If you feel like I’m trying to encourage you to stay where you are and make it work, you’re right.  But just in case, you may like to read my article about quitting your job in style.

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!

Great Mentors – You’ve Got a Procurement Friend in Me

Needing a confidence boost? Finding great mentors who support you and bolster your self-belief is the shortcut to success. 

business mentors

Jean-Yves Rotté-Geoffroy, Global SVP Procurement and Chief Procurement Officer at GlaxoSmithKline, praises the supportive mentors he’s had throughout his career.

Jean-Yves divulges what he looks for in his new hires, which key skills are critical for the procurement function and asks professionals to craft their own career path instead of blindly following career advice.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  1. Navy Officer in French Polynesia
  2. Analyst at the Société Générale in Frankfurt
  3. Global Purchasing Manager at Procter & Gamble in Brussels

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

Don’t listen too much to career advice, follow your own path,

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

Business acumen, data and analytical skills are the most critical in my opinion.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

I received thorough, effective mentoring from my first P&G boss and from our Global Vice President at P&G.  This was a confidence booster at a formative stage and helped me believe I could always raise the bar.

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

It takes drive and agility to bring into this great pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare company the challenges and changes needed to increase supplier contribution, with a view to serving better our patients, consumers and shareholders. A great mission!

We are looking for individuals who possess these qualities and are up for the challenge.

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!

Are You Your Stakeholders’ MVP? Be a Procurement Star

Our sports team in the big final. Our procurement team in the big negotiation. We all dream of being the MVP for our team in the big moments.

chris-sawchuk mvp

To be the MVP of our team. Oh, how we dream of this reality. An aspiration many of us have had and hold onto throughout our lives…and our careers. 

This term, typically reserved for the sporting type, is now being applied to all types of teams including business teams. I can certainly discuss and dialogue about the attributes and success factors of being the MVP of your team.

However, in this blog, I am going to focus on being the MVP to your stakeholder – the business, function or partner that you should be focusing on to enable and ensure their success. 

In the world of procurement, this has not always been easy.  We have been characterised too often as gatekeepers and administrators by these same stakeholders, and not as the value business partners or MVP’s we aspire to be. 

So, what needs to change? 

Be the ‘Trusted Advisor’

In 2014, The Hackett Group highlighted 5 characteristics of world-class procurement organisations. After studying these organisations, we found that they were unique in that they were able to establish a more trusted and advisor-like relationship with the stakeholders they supported. 

We termed this as being a “trusted business advisor”.  Shortly after we released our research, organisations were asking how they could become a trusted business advisor and where could they get trained. 

I scratched my head as I pondered.  Being a “trusted business advisor” was not something you as an individual determined. It was your stakeholder who bestowed this designation upon you.  We also realised that there was no guarantee of success.

Pull the Needs, Don’t Push the Services 

In 2015, we added “being a trusted business advisor” to the listing of priorities in our annual and global procurement key issues study. Lo and behold, procurement leaders around the world selected it as their number one priority as individuals and functions. 

In 2016, we asked these leaders their opinion of what it takes to achieve this status.  First and foremost, they highlighted the need to deliver on the basics – cost, delivery and quality.  This made a lot of sense to us as it was foundational. 

Similarly, everyone you meet does not immediately become your best friend, or even your friend.  Those designations are earned over time through many interactions, but the chemistry needs to be there as well. 

They also highlighted the need to be agile and not being a “hammer looking for a nail”.  Trusted business advisors need to create more of a “pull” model for their services and less of a “push” model. The best create a portfolio of services based on the needs of their stakeholders, even if it not part of the standard procurement portfolio of services. 

Just Do It – Be the MVP

If it will make the stakeholder successful (and is a logical extension to your standard services), just do it.

There are quite a few real life examples, but one that illustrates this best is a global process manufacturer that had extended its well-established six sigma capabilities to its internal stakeholders. Their aim was to improve the efficiency of their processes uncovered in various category management activities. 

Though six sigma is not a standard procurement service, this organisation was able to establish itself as a centre of process improvement capability for the enterprise. They not only extended their procurement service portfolio, but also strengthened their stakeholder relationships.      

Being a trusted business advisor is not an end goal, but an enabler.  An enabler that once you are in a trusted advisory relationship, you now have the permission as well as the expectation that you will provide value to enable the success of your stakeholder. 

In other words, be their MVP.  

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!

5 Skills CPOs Want in Modern Procurement Professionals

You might have all the technical skills you need to progress in procurement. But technical skills alone aren’t enough to succeed anymore.

5 skills

Technical skills are no longer the priority for recruiters searching for procurement talent. During my recent conversations with some of the region’s leading CPOs and their teams, I’ve noticed that organisations are not placing much weight on whether a potential hire can run a sourcing event or use procurement-related software.

“Hard skills” such as these are measurable, quantifiable and (most importantly), they can be trained at any stage. CPOs are now looking for something else entirely.

We live and work in an exciting time for procurement. Transformation is now business-as-usual, with the pace of change accelerating in step with the increase in global uncertainty.

As a consequence, modern CPOs are now looking beyond hard skills for essential attributes that will stand their new hires in good stead in a rapidly changing environment.

Below I’ve listed the top five skills (or attributes) that I believe procurement professionals need today, whether they’re entry-level hires or experienced senior practitioners.

  1. Learning Agility

5-skills-1Think about what procurement used to be like 10, or even 20, years ago, and you’ll immediately understand the importance of learning agility. The profession is in a constant state of evolution, reinventing itself regularly to meet changing business needs. And procurement professionals need to be able to learn and change with it, or risk being left behind.

It’s easy to identify team members who lack learning agility. They’re the ones most unwilling to embrace change, and fight against learning to use a new system or process.

Agile learners are not only willing and resilient, but are excited at the prospect of picking up a new skill.

  1. Cultural Awareness

5-skills-2With the steady increase in offshoring and international sourcing, it’s vital that you are able to work confidently across cultural barriers. This means making the effort to understand the different communication and negotiation styles of the cultures you are dealing with.

Recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always appropriate. A communication style that’s well-received in one part of the world may inadvertently cause offence in another.

Cultural awareness is also required in the microcosm of the procurement team, as diversity is increasingly recognised as one of the driving forces of innovation.

  1. Information Management

5-skills-3Is there such as thing as too much information? In my opinion, no, but you have to know how to manage it and make it work for you. The key is to separate the important ideas from the background noise to avoid feeling like you’re drowning in data.

Ask yourself if you really have time to read that new report or listen to that podcast. Are they relevant to your organisation’s business priorities? Will they help you do your job better?

Technology can be used to make the flow of data manageable, without missing out on anything important. We now have sophisticated procurement software that can be configured to generate only the most relevant data and convert information into digestible formats.

How you use your data is also important. Rather than simply sharing facts and figures, add the human element by using the data to tell a story.

  1. Social Media Savviness

5-skills-4Savvy users of social media employ platforms such as Procurious, LinkedIn and Twitter to grow their networks, share their successes and boost their careers.

Written communication skills have made a real comeback. Confident writers are growing their online influence with well-crafted, succinct posts that fulfil their purpose, while giving value to the reader.

These days, if you’re not on social media, you’re invisible. This doesn’t mean you should just create a Twitter profile and do nothing with it. You need to stay front-of-mind by getting into the habit of creating regular and worthwhile posts.

  1. Creative Thinking

5-skills-5You want to be the person at your company who is known for their creativity and lateral thinking. There’s usually at least one in every team – someone who others turn to who can look at a problem from a unique angle and find an unexpected solution.

In my opinion, creative thinking is a habit rather than an attribute. Just ask parents who have helped their kids make things for school projects – when you are able to think creatively, what was once a cardboard box could be a rocket ship, submarine or racing car.

It’s simply a matter of looking at an everyday object (or business challenge) with an open and creative mindset.

Wrapping it up

Recruiters can screen for these five essential attributes by asking evidence-based behavioural questions. For example, you could ask the candidate to describe a time when they demonstrated cultural awareness during a difficult negotiation. Or how they’ve solved a business challenge using creative thinking.

Personally, I don’t believe any of these skills belong to the “you either have it or you don’t” category. Learning agility, cultural awareness, information management, social media savviness and creative thinking can all be developed through intelligent coaching and networking with the right people.

It’s all about getting into the right habits that will enable you to thrive in 21st century procurement and build your future career.

Keith Bird is Managing Director of The Faculty Management Consultants, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s leading Procurement advisors.

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!

The Mindset Shift That Will Help You Change The Game

You’ve got a great idea. You’ve built it and grown it. But have you got the understanding of what’s required to make a game changing impact?

nathan-ott game

You’re ambitious, you’ve got several years experience working in procurement, you’ve got some great ideas, and you want to make your mark by changing the game in your team or organisation.

But, transformational change is not easy. And your past performance, or new idea, does not necessarily mean you’ll be successful in leading a project and changing the game.

But you don’t need to lead the project to be able to change the game. Everybody, regardless of their role or level, can make a game-changing contribution.

Here some tips to help you develop a game-changing approach. They will ensure you start to build game-changing teams and ensure you are making a positive impact in your role.

1. Understand how you make an impact

In order to make a lasting impact in your organisation you need to understand how you contribute. People tend to make their contribution in three key ways:

  • Through ideas
  • Through tasks
  • Through people

2. What is the value?

It is also important to consider what your employer values as well as any other key stakeholders:

  • How will your idea support your employer?
  • What tasks are you working on that will support your employer in achieving objectives?
  • How can you get the best from people to achieve objectives?

3. Focus on strengths

Get familiar with your strengths. We all have something to offer, but that offering is different to everyone else, as we are all individuals.

Are you in a role that fits your strengths and allows you to do what you do well? This is really important because working in a role that plays to your strengths will help you make a meaningful contribution.

4. Make your strategic impact

Successful transformational change does not just hinge on the idea generator. Everyone who is in a position to help contribute to the end game has an important role to play in changing the game. This may include everyone from the Receptionist to the Finance Director.

Where do you fit in? How is this aligned to the organisation’s strategy? How will you personally contribute to the vision, mission and objectives?

5. Build strong relationships

Life is about relationships, and the workplace is no different. By taking the time to get to know other people, build alliances, understand what they can contribute and how they make an impact, you will be far more likely to be able to bring in the right people when required to transform the future. Others can make or break a game-changing idea.

Now is the time to shift from focusing on what you have done in the past and start looking at how you can work with others to make your game-changing contribution.

Remember, not everyone is a Game Changer but everyone can make a game-changing contribution.

To hear more from Nathan listen to his podcast.

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!

Only 24 Hours in a Day – Manage Your Time Wisely

Time. The one thing we could all do with more of, but relentlessly slips past. Are you spending your day wisely?

time-managementTick, tock, tick, tock. The seconds tick past, even while you’re reading this article on using your day efficiently. Have you allowed for some personal development in your day? Or are there more important things you need to be doing?

There are 24 hours in a day, but it never seems to be enough for busy people. To achieve what we want to in a day, we have to become better at managing our time. It is possible to find more time in a day, or even in an hour, if you put in place some simple strategies.

Here are 7 tips for getting more done in your working day.

  1. Work to your full potential

Do you notice how you accomplish more in a few days before you’re due to head off on annual leave than what you do in the weeks prior?

This is because you’re driven to complete the tasks in time. You’re fully engaged and focused on the tasks at hand. Putting the same energy into your work every day will achieve a major boost to your productivity.

To do this, forget time-wasting activities like checking your emails and social media accounts constantly throughout the day. Turn off your phone, where possible. Scheduling large chunks of the day to the major tasks you have to complete and eliminating distractions will enable you to fully concentrate on the job at hand.

You’re more likely to finish the work in far less time than it usually takes.

  1. Complete your most important task first

Sounds simple but we can easily fall into the trap of putting off the most crucial task of the entire day. As more emails, phone messages and issues crop up, it becomes even more difficult to tackle that important task.

Instead, make it your top priority. Put it first and complete it. That way, you’ll accomplish an important task each and every day. You’ll never have an unproductive day again.

  1. Plan your work

Keep a diary or to-do list, either on paper or in digital form such as an app, which allows you to map out your work day.

Prioritise your tasks for the day and schedule the time it will take you to complete them. Schedule in a time slot to get on top of your emails and messages and stick to it. Disconnect from emails and phone calls at all other times.

This way, you won’t be letting emails and phone calls cut into the time you’ve allocated for the work that you want to complete. Keep your to-do list up-to-date – cross off your tasks as you complete them and add new tasks as they arise. You’ll be able to see progress in your productivity and remain organised.

  1. Delegate

Delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness. The reality is that one person cannot achieve everything. Consider where you can use your employees’ capabilities and skills to your advantage. Delegate more and you’ll be able to focus your attention on other important goals.

  1. Leave time for yourself

You’ll be far more effective in your work if you also schedule in time for yourself on a regular basis – whether it’s going out for coffee or lunch or ensuring that you get to an exercise class or another personal commitment.

Block out that personal time as if it were a business appointment. The productivity of your business depends on it.

  1. Have an accountability buddy

Someone you check in with who is able to ask the hard questions on whether you’re meeting your own targets can be hugely useful. This could be an executive coach or someone you work with, for example.

  1. Use a time tracking tool

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re swamped with work. Consider using a time tracking tool, which can ensure you know exactly how long you spend on a task.

Check out Toggl, for example. But don’t fall victim to irony in this respect and spend too much time marking how long you’re spending on things. It’s a guide, not a military operation.

7 Quotes to Inspire Procurement Teamwork Success

You can have individual stars, but to get the most of your procurement team, you need to inspire a team mentality.

inspire-teamwork

It’s Career Boot Camp time at Procurious! Expanding your knowledge and testing your abilities can be draining, and you will get tired. But don’t get discouraged.

Here are seven tips for building top-notch procurement teams, inspired from leaders throughout history.  I hope they inspire you to reach your goals!

  1. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Managers must not only possess skills in managing individuals, they must be able to build and inspire high-performing teams.

Emphasising a shared goal empowers a team. If you’re a manager looking to create a strong team through a common goal, here are a few tips on how you can build, lead and take care of a team to maximise performance.

  1. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Organisations who promote employee engagement boast a 27 per cent higher operating margin than competitors who have less-engaged employees, according to a study by Towers Watson.

So how can you achieve these results? By implementing peer to peer learning, ‘About me’ introductions and constructive competition, you can lead your team to success.

  1. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan

In sports, it is a proven fact that even the most talented team members can lead an organisation to ruin if they don’t get along with their teammates.

Even when a team’s superstars perform well individually, that doesn’t automatically equal success. Having talented employees will get you nowhere without the teamwork to back it up.

  1. “When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself.” – Tibetan Proverb

You want to help inspire teamwork within your organisation, but where do you start? In order to spark innovation within others, you must spark innovation in yourself. It is only through self-reflection and collaboration that you will be able to work in concert with your teammates.

Take some time for and learn about how opening your mind, allowing for incubation, testing boundaries, and other mental exercises can lead to successful teamwork.

  1. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

Unfortunately, many organisations focus on results and neglect the interpersonal relationships on their team. When people operate as individuals, a “quick to point the finger” attitude can undermine results.

In order to get on the path towards high performance and successful collaboration, you need to have a basic understanding of what is working, what is not, and how you can turn it around and become a successful team.

  1. “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” – Casey Stengel

The most critical element for creating positive group dynamics is trust. It doesn’t matter how good the players are, if they don’t trust each other they will not produce at the highest level.

Is trust part of your organisation’s dynamic? Discover the five actions high-trust team members take that increase group cohesiveness and squash existing conflicts according to Covey and Link.

  1. “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock

Many departments only pay lip service to teamwork. Members may casually talk to each other at the printer or over lunch, but their day-to-day work is mostly done on an individual basis.

When people work together toward a common goal, they put aside their issues and focus on completing the task at hand to the best of their abilities.

If you’re looking to build a sense of teamwork among your team, you should start by defining and understanding the benefits of teamwork.

Do you practice teamwork? Please share your comments below! In need of some additional inspiration? Check out these 7 inspiration quotes to get you through your procurement woes.

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!

Boost Your Procurement Career – Volunteer!

Want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? Why not exercise your procurement skills by helping out a local charity?

class-hand volunteer

The charity sector is on the look-out for volunteers. Donating your skills and time is a great way to boost your career prospects, whether you intend to remain in the private sector or take a challenging role in a charity.

Not to mention the impact you can have and of course the feel-good factor!

Benefits of Adding Volunteer Work to Your CV

Volunteering has a wealth of benefits for your career, and personal satisfaction. Here are just a few of them:

Learn valuable skills and gain experience

Charities have different priorities, with issues and concerns that may be considered lower priority for the private sector. Increasingly we are seeing more media coverage and public scrutiny on how charities are governed and how donations are being spent.

Charities often lack the experience, skills and time to manage their procurement. This means they can’t ensure value for money, and hard-earned funds could be spent unnecessarily.

Most often this occurs where demand management has not been considered or a clear specification has not been defined and agreed by key stakeholders.

A Charity’s objective is to support their beneficiaries, rather than increasing profits for shareholders. The impact of good procurement is far greater than just a bottom-line improvement – it maximises results to benefit more in society.

Experiencing new ways of working with stakeholders, both internal and external, who have differing priorities, whilst delivering a strategy that is focused on maximum social impact can build upon and enhance your existing procurement and commercial skill set.

You’ll get valuable hands-on experience to help deliver the mission of an organisation and achieve their strategic objectives.

Be more confident in your knowledge

There is a real need within a lot of UK charities for procurement professionals, particularly those who understand the importance of having procurement at the heart of the organisation.

There are charities without any procurement specialists, no procurement strategy, no procurement policy and no understanding of the potential risks they are exposed to without having these in place.

The processes, rigor and governance from the private sector can be implemented and embraced within many charities. Working with a charity can give you renewed confidence in your abilities, to see how your skills are transferable and can be utilised.

Skills that will make a real difference to people’s lives, rather than just a bottom line. Importantly, best practice can also be taken back and experiencing a different type of Stakeholder management can be valuable learning.

Expand your network

It is a lesson we learn early that in business, it is not only our skills and knowledge but “the people we know” that can help us progress our careers. So expanding the network of people you connect and work with is instrumental in your next career move.

Many charities reach far and wide, having Trustees who are senior leaders within private organisations across a diverse set of industries and regions.

Working with charities puts you in a position to tap into this large, varied hugely influential network. Those with commercial experience are always needed across the sector. You might even become a trustee yourself.

Stand out from the crowd

Employers look for something that will make candidates stand out or give them the edge. Adding charity volunteering on your CV, with recommendations from trustees and stakeholders, will make you more attractive as a candidate.

In interviews you’ll also be able to draw on different experiences and challenges and share the tangible impact your role had.

Make a Difference

Procurement professionals are already making a difference with their volunteering efforts. We’ve had a great response, and a great example we can share (thought we’ve had to change the names…).

‘Joan’ worked for a big corporate specialising in procurement and chose to volunteer with a local hospice. The hospice wanted to fund a new therapy room.

Joan worked with them, assessing their spend data, including consolidating suppliers. So instead of further fundraising, in just 4 days, they were able to find some ‘quick wins’ through tactical procurement, to save money and fund the therapy room.

Joan made a big difference to the charity in a short time, learning herself how valuable her skills are and getting a great reference for the future.

Every person that takes a step towards volunteering makes a valuable contribution to our society. Join the 14.2million (NCVO 2016) who volunteered in 2015 and make your impact.

Are you a procurement professional? If you would like to volunteer your time to help charities and boost your career prospects, then please share your CV with Novo-K.

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!

Unlock Success By Unleashing Your Procurement Mojo

Don’t be defined by other people’s perceptions of you. Tap into your personal mojo to hit the heights in your career.

sigi-osagie mojo

It’s sad, but true, that many people leave their career growth at the mercy of their employers or bosses. People who take ownership of their career destiny are much more likely to attain success. Because once you reach out for your mojo, it reaches out for you too.

Your mojo doesn’t care whether you work in Procurement, Finance or the local convenience store. It simply wants to be unleashed and manifested in your success.

Mojo – The Fire in Your Belly

Unleashing your procurement mojo is as much about your personal mojo as it is about the procurement work you do. It all starts with you, and the fire of the human spirit in your belly.

Immeasurable capabilities abound in the human spirit. The same spirit that brought us the steam engine, penicillin and the internet. The same spirit embodied in Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Adele, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Ellen MacArthur. That same spirit resides in YOU.

Look how far you’ve come, how many obstacles you’ve overcome, and how many mountains you’ve climbed, to get to this point in your career. And you have the potential for greater successes.

Achieving Extraordinary Things

Whatever your story, whatever your background, you have the capacity to achieve extraordinary things, because you were born with your mojo in you.

Your mojo is your personal gift of inner success, of being the best you can be. But you must unwrap that gift to manifest it in reality.

Passion is a key aspect of manifesting your mojo. When we have passion for our work, it rarely feels like “work”. Do you feel the power of your passion in the work you’re doing? If not, you should ask yourself why.

And don’t wait for things to change, change things yourself. Perhaps your perspectives, your thought processes, your attitude to the job. Or, maybe, even changing jobs and moving to something that gets your juices flowing.

Passion is the critical fuel that’ll sustain you on your career journey, especially in challenging times. And just because things may not sometimes feel like they’re progressing ‘to-plan’ doesn’t mean that things aren’t progressing.

There are always two plans unfolding and spurring you towards your mojo – your plan and a slicker, more intelligent version written by life. When both are congruent is when we feel the ‘flow’ in our work.

Do You Know What You Want?

You’ll only ever have a good chance of attaining this through your personal effectiveness. Being effective in how you go about your work and career development, and making the most of your critical resources, e.g., your time, your thoughts and imagination, and your money.

Career success may be truly important to you, but you invest no time and money on your career development. Yet you always watch your favourite TV programme, or you find time for 5-a-side football every week. Hmmm…

Some people spend more money on their satellite TV or clothes shopping each year than they do on their career development. Would YOU class this as being effective?

Personal effectiveness means doing the right things to get what you want. But do you know what you want? What are your career goals? If you have none, then you’re not targeting any particular outcomes. That’s like being on a journey without a destination.

Your goals are the North Star of your career journey. They give you focus on your aspirations, whether it’s to get a promotion in 2 years, to become a director in 1 year, to become CPO in 5 years or to set up your own business in 6 months.

A Route-Map to Success

Having a goal without a plan to achieve it sounds delusional. Planning is how you get from A to B. Or how you achieve “X” outcome or result, whether it’s the Panama Canal expansion project or your loft conversion project. It’s the same with your career.

Your career plan is a rough draft of your route-map to success. So stay flexible to recognise when life is giving you a better scheme of stepping-stones, especially when they’re disguised as challenges, which demand perseverance and self-belief.

Challenges often entail stretching yourself and learning something new, which is how we grow.

Whether we’re dealing with a disguised opportunity or a pre-defined career move, action is what counts. Take action to achieve what you want. Don’t wait for things to happen; make them happen. Start today – do something specific that will propel you powerfully towards your career goals.

Intentional action is part of self-leadership and taking responsibility. You are the CEO of “My Career, Inc.”.

Don’t wait for your boss or employer to craft your career destiny. There’s only one person who can unleash your procurement mojo – guess who that is!

Have faith in yourself. And don’t let anyone stop you. Not even yourself.

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!