Category Archives: Career Management

Keep It Cool: Four Tips For Top Negotiators

If there’s no exchange, there is no negotiation. Great negotiators know that a willingness to compromise is often the only way to avoid a stalemate.

Negotiation is increasingly prevalent in our daily lives and is a necessary part of a wide range of professions. Given the nature of the globalized and fast-paced world in which we live, negotiating has become ubiquitous in every corporate role.

Due to the step-up in challenging objectives within organizations that wish to remain competitive, fast and sound decision-making, as well as conflict resolution through negotiation, have become more important than ever.

Tips for top negotiators

Do your homework

In order to ensure a successful agreement, the negotiator must possess in-depth knowledge of whatever is being negotiated. Moreover, they must study and understand the nature of the supplier (or client) they’re negotiating with, and have a firm grasp of key dates, financial targets and any negotiation restrictions.

The other person isn’t your enemy

Importantly, you should not see the person across the table as an adversary, but as another “player” who’s trying to solve a similar problem. A negotiation is not a competition where one wins and the other loses. Always seek a beneficial agreement where both parts secure a satisfactory degree of success, particularly if you want to have a healthy, ongoing relationship. Remember, negotiating is basically exchanging. If there’s no exchange, there is no negotiation. When one party makes a concession, the other will be expected to do so as well.

Be flexible

Flexibility is paramount in order to solve eventual stalemates, and it’s important that the professional in charge of negotiations knows for sure what they’re willing to give up. A refusal to shift can lead to a failure to reach an agreement, which won’t solve anything.

Be confident

If you can demonstrate that you’re 100% confident and knowledgeable about all aspects of the negotiation, the other party will tend to be more careful while making observations, raising objections and even proposing financial targets. Misunderstandings and ambiguities can negatively affect their credibility in the negotiation.

Ask questions

Think about what you need to ask the other party, how to ask for this information, and how you’re going to apply this information to benefit your cause. 

Four ways to gain an advantage in negotiations

  1. Always take the initiative

Commonly, the one who controls negotiations from the beginning tends to control the outcome. If you let the other party begin the negotiation, you may end up relinquishing control without realizing you’re doing so.

  1.  Formalise negotiations in writing

Many negotiators make the mistake of discussing the terms and conditions of an agreement or contract without committing themselves to a written document. Make sure you want away with a formal written agreement, recording all terms in detail.

  1. Keep it cool

Regardless of stress, agendas, egos, emotions or priorities, it’s important to remain calm and stay in control. Great negotiators know how to keep a level head and find solutions to sudden obstacles.

  1. Stay on your turf

Use the “home team advantage” by scheduling strategic negotiations at your company. Being on your own turf can give you an advantage as people are generally more at ease on familiar ground.

At the end of a successful negotiation, all participants should have a feeling of accomplishment (or at least that they’ve managed to break even). This will only occur if the negotiation has taken place in a transactional manner, that is, with compromises and achievements.

Three Risks Every Procurement Organisation Needs To Manage

Experts around the globe tracked the terrifying advance of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier this month, plotting and estimating the potential damage to life and property as the monster storms approached the U.S. mainland. Can the deployment of cognitive AI lead to more accurate predictions and better risk management?

IBM’s global supply chain has been acknowledged as one of the world’s most complex. With scale and complexity come increased risk, but the Global Procurement team has it covered with its award-winning risk program augmented by the remarkable abilities of the Watson Cognitive Platform.

Even Watson, however, appreciates some assistance when it comes to risk mitigation, which is why IBM has partnered with an e2e cloud risk service provider named Resilinc. With this new capability, the team provides a composite risk score for every one of IBM’s suppliers based on six risk dimensions – financial, location, recovery, operations, resiliency and sourcing.

The three overall risks that the team has built its mitigation strategy around are:

  1. Loss of supply continuity

The fallout from a supply continuity problem are well-known – missed deliveries, plummeting customer satisfaction and lost revenue. IBM’s risk program is therefore designed to protect supply continuity by monitoring and providing real-time alerts on man-made risks, natural forces or climatic threats, along with financial and economic risks.

Nothing illustrates the disruptive potential of a risk event so much as the recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. To demonstrate how Watson can augment risk-management ahead of hurricanes and other crises, the team at IBM shared with Procurious the ways in which Watson’s cognitive capabilities were used to track and provide unique insight into Hurricane Patricia back in 2015 – an approach which contributed to IBM picking up a major award for Risk Management at Procurement Leader’s World Procurement Awards.

Using feeds including The Weather Company and the US Navy Weather database, Watson tracked the storm’s velocity, size, category, intensity and simulated scenarios of possible storm tracks. Interestingly, Watson also engaged in “social listening”, picking up local sentiment by tracking Twitter and other social media platforms. At the same time, Watson alerted IBM about every 1st and 2nd-tier supplier in the storms’ possible tracks.

Once the Risk and Supply Assurance teams had the earliest possible indication of Patricia’s potential impact, mitigation plans (such as closing at-risk plants) were readied for deployment. 

  1. Reputational damage

 IBM’s Conflict Minerals Team must be very well-travelled. From Dubai to China, Indonesia to Vietnam, they’ve conducted on-site visits with smelters and refiners to an impressive 10 levels deep in the supply chain, working with them to certify that they are using minerals controlled by responsible sources.

Every supplier must sign the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) code of conduct, which IBM has adapted as the single code across its supply base. It establishes standards regarding safe working conditions, fair and dignified treatment of workers, and environmentally responsible and ethical operations. To this end, IBM has conducted +2000 3rd-party audits across 34 countries. 

  1. Regulatory noncompliance 

Although noncompliance isn’t as exciting as a hurricane tearing through suppliers’ facilities, the impacts can still be dramatic. Noncompliance can result in fines and penalties, product impoundment, revenue reversal and adverse press.

IBM’s Global Procurement Environmental Compliance team ensures all products comply with environmental directives, laws, regulations and standards; made incredibly complex by the global nature of the organisation. The team tracks changes in regulations, such as eco-design or restrictions of certain chemicals, then determines if the change will affect IBM products and plots a path to compliance accordingly.

Risk and Reward

IBM Global Procurement’s efforts in risk mitigation were recently celebrated at Procurement Leader’s World Procurement Awards, where the team won a major award for Risk Mitigation, and a second award for its transformation program.

Procurious is working with our Knowledge Partner, IBM, over the next 12 months to promote cognitive procurement to our global community. To learn more about IBM Global Procurement, click here.

Your Procurement Career Upgrade: Download Complete!

Career Boot Camp 2017: That’s a wrap! 5 global CPOs, 5 FREE procurement podcasts – available NOW! 

Career Boot Camp 2017 is done and dusted!  Sign up here (It’s FREE!) to access all five podcasts. 

Procurious promised we would upgrade your career.

We pledged that we would transform your procurement future.

We swore our five, global CPOs would prepare you for workplace 4.0.

But we never said it would be easy!

Last week, Procurious and Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain presented Career Boot Camp 2017.  If you joined us, we hope you’re feeling inspired and motivated to make you procurement dreams come true! Now’s the time to take you career to hand; using the tips, guidance and insights provided by our podcast speakers, you’re equipped to take the procurement world by storm. It’s going to be a long journey but we’re right here with you, every step of the way!

Want to catch up on any missed episodes, recap on your favourites or get stuck in to heaps of related content? Look no further.

Over 5000 procurement pros took part in Career Boot Camp.  Were you one of them?

I couldn’t make it, can I still take part?

Want to learn how to “fail forward”, why you should be locking up your data scientists or the reason Co-op’s CPO won’t be showing you her cake recipe?  

Great news! You might be a little late to the party but that means you can access the whole series in one fell swoop. Whether you want to listen on the go, from your sofa or during your lunchbreak, in one day, one week, or one month, Career Boot Camp 2017 is ready and waiting for you to listen at your leisure!

Anyone and everyone is welcome to partake in Career Boot Camp and it’s totally, 100 per cent free.

How do I join?

If you’re already a member of Procurious simply head over to our eLearning area to access the full series of Career Boot Camp 2017.

Not yet a member of Procurious? All you need to do is register here (it’s FREE!) and you’re good to go!

What can I expect?

Career Boot Camp 2017 was designed to help you transform your career and your future if, and only if, you’re ready and willing to upgrade! Our five CPOs provided inside information on what it’s like to work at their organisation, what they’re looking for in new hires and how they see the function progessing in the coming years.

More and more procurement professionals are opting to develop their key skills and gain knowledge through eLearning and other online channels. In a fast-paced, technology driven world, innovation, agility and forward planning are essential if procurement professionals are to succeed and be future leaders.

Need a little more persuasion. Click below to listen exclusively to Day 1 of Career Boot Camp in FULL.

Ramsay Chu, Rio Tinto CPO, How to Fail Forward:

“The best skiers have fallen many times. No one is an Olympic caliber downhill skier from the outset. It’s not a natural or innate talent that anyone’s born with. They get better by learning, pushing themselves to the limits, oftentimes falling, picking themselves up, and moving on.

“I think the fear of failure oftentimes casts a very long shadow, and potentially impairs our ability to really think big.”

Best of the Career Boot Camp Blog

Once you’ve had your fill of our five podcasts you might like to do a little wider reading. There’s heaps of great. related conten in our blog at the moment. Here are some of the highlights.

  • The Biggest Mistake Leaders Make On Their Way To The Top By Tania Seary, Founder Procurious – Procurement leaders, listen up! We hate to break it to you, but life’s not fair. And neither is your procurement career!
  • Personal Development: You Da Brand! By Matthew Friend, Associate Director Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain – So you’ve decided you need to take your procurement career to hand by proactively managing your personal development? Here’s how to set yourself up for success.
  • 5 Global CPOs Answer Your Top Five Procurement Questions By Procurious HQ – How did the CPOs at Barclays, Vodafone, The Co-operative group, AstraZeneca and Rio Tinto fair when we put them to the test in a round of quick-fire questions?

Gain instant access to the full series of Career Boot Camp 2017 when you sign up to Procurious. 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen now!

Barclays CPO: You’re In The Driver’s Seat, So Take The Wheel!

Don’t just come along for the procurement ride! If you want to make it big as a CPO, you’ve got to get in the driver’s seat and take the wheel!

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)  

What are today’s CPOs looking out for in the high performing procurement leaders of tomorrow?

Accepting change is good. But it’s even better if you can embrace it and drive it!

Barclays CPO, Al Williams, is certainly looking for more in his hires than a simple willingness to tolerate change. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ve got to take the wheel and drive the agenda!

On the fifth and final day of Career Boot Camp, Al discusses how procurement can generate value, how the function should be positioned within an organisation and how he encourages his hires to think about positive change.

And, if you’re in the market for some new shining stars, find out what you can do to make procurement a preferred and enticing destination for the next generation of professionals!

Five days, five CPOs, five fifteen-minute podcasts to help you upgrade your procurement career. 

Featuring tips and guidance from the best in the business, each of our  CPOs will dedicate their week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

On Day 5 of Career Boot Camp we hear from Managing Director and CPO Barclays Al Williams.

Need a little convinving before you sign up? Check out our teaser trailer below to hear what Al had to say in reponse to our quick-fire questions.

Grabbing The Wheel

What attributes is Al Williams looking for in high performing procurement leaders?

“We’ve been building out a new leadership team in our procurement organization so I’ve had an opportunity to interview and select people, both with internal, internal within the organization and external. And some of the things I’m looking for, in addition to what I just talked about around innovation and problem solving and that kind of thing, is their ability and their willingness to embrace change. Not just manage it and tolerate it but they actually drive it, right?

“I want leaders who are in the driver’s seat, sort of pushing the agenda, and not just along for the ride, and certainly not those that feel like they’re victims and end up kind of victims as a part of a larger process. Deriving, embracing and driving change. I would also say a collaborative approach is very important and it’s collaborative in two dimension from both inside the organisations and outside the organization and in the market.

“It’s very important that we’re not the land of no, especially at a leadership level.  I think people want to be a part of an organisation like that, that’s a problem solving and collaborative team.”

What’s Procurement’s Position?

How should procurement functions position themselves within larger organisations? It’s a question that all senior procurement leaders are asking themselves. For Al, the answer is three-fold.

“One is we need to make sure that we’re positioning procurement as a strategic, value-adding player in the business, and not transactional. If we act transactional, and behave transactional that’s how the business will treat us, and that’s how we’ll be perceived by the business.

“Second is of course making sure that we align to the key business metrics or the key business outcomes that are important to the overall business strategy. And that would include things like financial metrics. That may be, if you’re a public company, [understand] what are the key things that are important to drive profitability and align determined outcomes to those. I would say the same thing from a risk perspective as well, aligning to the organisational risk tolerance, risk temperament and any metrics that are associated with that. So that’s an important positioning.”

And thirdly?

“Procurement used to be consultative, it needs to be in a position of influence, it needs to be helping the business, it needs to be sharing perspective, market knowledge, helping shape strategy, at least from a spin perspective for the business. When I talk about helping the business, a good example is policy compliance. We tend to have to be the communicator of, and sometimes the police of, certain policies in our businesses.

“I think it’s very important that procurement is positioned as ‘Hey, we’re here to help you be compliant to the policies and to help sort of maneuver you through the mirage of steps and checks that need to happen'”.

Listen to Al’s full podcast when you sign up to Procurious. Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen to Al’s podcast in full.

Let Them Eat Cake With Co-op CPO

“Procurement talks too much about procurement. You don’t tell them what the recipe is. You just show them what the cake is going to look like!” 

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Rigid processes can inhibit procurement’s ability to advance efficiently but there are ways to prevent them from getting in your way.  Fabienne Lesbros, CPO The Co-operative Group,  has some welcome advice on the subject, advising procurement pros to quit with the procurement jargon and cut to the chase!

And, if you’ve ever assumed that today’s CPO’s followed a clear and well-crafted career plan, think again! Fabienne explains how her ascent to the top went a little differently in today’s Career Boot Camp podcast!

Five days, five CPOs, five fifteen-minute podcasts to help you upgrade your procurement career. 

Featuring tips and guidance from the best in the business, each of our  CPOs will dedicate their week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

On Day 4 of Career Boot Camp we hear from The Co-operative Group’s CPO, Fabienne Lesbros.

Need a little convinving before you sign up? Check out our teaser trailer below to hear what Fabienne had to say in reponse to our quick-fire questions.

Let Them Eat Cake!

We were interested to find out how Fabienne manages the restrictions of rigid processes. How can procurement pros prevent them from getting in the way and slowing the team’s agility?

“I would say think about the process that you use normally, what’s your best-in-class way of doing it? And then think about, Well actually what do I need? What’s the 80:20? What makes sense from a commercial point of view and what would make sense in that business particular case?  Cut to the chase, and get to the same results, because I’ve seen too many times teams taking months. They could have done it in two weeks. So it’s doing this 80:20 pragmatism. And also never talking to a budget-holder about the process, because that is the best way to set him off!

“A salesperson doesnt tell you his sales technique he just sells you the stuff. Procurement talks too much about procurement; you have to give them the cake. You don’t tell them what the recipe is. You just show them what the cake is going to look like!”

Losing the procurement jargon!

Continuous development is key for procurement professionals. What key skills does Fabienne recommend procurement focus on to help the function’s evolution?

“I think the technical skills are a given. But I think what’s missing a lot of the time with procurement people is the communication skill. People do not know not understand that they shouldn’t be talking about procurement, number one!

“Bring it back to a business conversation. No one really understands what procurement does. We are already in the position where it’s tougher, so you have to really work on that. You cannot wing it in meetings.

“I see too many people coming in, they haven’t prepared, they start to mumble and that’s it – you’ve lost your audience. You have to be precise, relevant, prepared and you have to add value.

So ask yourself, “Does this conversation add value? What do I want from it? What do I want that stakeholders should get from it as well?

“I think  procurement professionals don’t communicate well enough and this is why they don’t sell themselves enough either, because we do not sell ourselves or sell our successes in the same way that sales or marketing would. It’s very natural to them, they don’t even realise they’re doing it. But everybody knows about their existence in the company. No one ever knows about the system in procurement, because no one knows how to communicate it properly.

In short, Fabienne advises that we quit with all the procurement jargon. “That is where you lose your audience totally, because they won’t understand it.”

Listen to Fabienne’s full podcast when you sign up to Procurious. Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen to Fabienne’s podcast in full.

Crank It Up A Notch With AstraZeneca’s CPO

You don’t always have to reach for the stars in procurement! Sometimes it’s ok to crank it up one notch at a time. AstraZeneca CPO, Dapo Ajayi, explains why. 

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

We’d never say it’s a bad thing for procurement pros to forever shoot for the stars. Especially when it comes to innovating with suppliers. But don’t be underestimating those smaller successes and achievements!

Dapo Ajayi, CPO AstraZeneca wants to remind you that it’s ok to crank things up one notch at a time! Smaller ideas carry a lot of weight through building trust, improving collaboration and creating opportunities for greater change further down the line.

In her Career Boot Camp podcast, Dapo also discusses what business acumen means to her in the context of procurement, how to better align procurement with business stakeholders and offers guidance on how to become a CPO.

Five days, five CPOs, five fifteen-minute podcasts to help you upgrade your procurement career. 

Featuring tips and guidance from the best in the business, each of our  CPOs will dedicate their week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

On Day 3 of Career Boot Camp we turn our attentions to AstraZeneca’s CPO, Dapo Ajayi.

Need a little convinving before you sign up? Check out our teaser trailer below to hear what Dapo had to say in reponse to our quick-fire questions.

Crank It Up, One Notch At A Time

It’s understandable that procurement pros would want to impart huge change in their organisations. But to achieve big, you sometimes have to be realistic and start small, allowing the more subtle changes you make to accumulate into something bigger.

“I don’t want to leave listeners with the view that innovation and new ideas is about the big, massive opportunity in change,” says Dapo.  “I think that you can be just as successful in terms of bringing in some of the smaller ideas, the smaller innovations, that maybe just move the organisation a notch as opposed to the big-step change. I think both have a place in the modern corporate environment.

“Sometimes the small steps are the way in which you build the trust and you begin to build the relationship as collaboration, of idea generation, which maybe then lead to the bigger idea, the bigger opportunity further down the line.”

What Does Business Acumen Mean For Procurement Pros?

“Business acumen is the way in which an individual approaches their role. They view themselves as leaders, leaders of the business, and don’t just see themselves as an enabling function that’s just there to meet the needs of a particular set of stakeholders. They feel ownership for the business agenda.”

For Dapo, business acumen is very much about  understanding the core of the business, and its priorities. “What’s really important for me,  in terms of procurement professionals, are those  who are agile enough to consider how their procurement agenda is relevant to the business agenda. Those who can translate “procurement speak” to business-relevant language. That, to me, is business acumen.

“It may be that talking about the unit price saving is not going to engage a stakeholder, but talking about how you can simplify or reduce the lead time will.  This, at the end of the day, might also result in a price reduction or a savings in procurement speak. It achieves all the objectives. But it’s just not the place to start!”

“The other thing, for me, is individuals who demonstrate an enterprise mindset. I feel that procurement is uniquely placed to be able to make connections. Quite often, you can see individual business units and individual functions, trying to solve a problem.

“In procurement, you suddenly find that, actually, you’re not on their own. There are multiple parts of the business all trying to address the same challenge. Elevating that to maybe an enterprise challenge and enterprise issue and looking at an enterprise solution as opposed to just a solution to a function A or function B I think is really important.”

Listen to Dapo’s full podcast when you sign up to Procurious. Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen to Dapo’s podcast in full.

Rio Tinto CPO: How To Fail Forward In Procurement

“No one is an Olympic caliber downhill skier from the outset!” Ramsay Chu, CPO Rio Tinto. That’s why procurement pros have to learn to Fail Forward! 

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)  

What better way to advance your procurement career than gaining inside information from the very best in the business.

If you only knew your CPO’s top priorities, what they’re looking for in new hires or how they see the procurement function evolving, you’d be perfectly placed to dazzle them with your foresight and intuition. Sound appealing, if not a little far fetched?

It shouldn’t do because Career Boot Camp 2017 launches today and promises to deliver with insights into all of the above.

Five days, five CPOs, five fifteen-minute podcasts to help you upgrade your procurement career. 

Featuring tips and guidance from the best in the business, each of our  CPOs will dedicate their week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

There are a hundred and one reasons to tune in each day this week week but Rio Tinto CPO Ramsay Chu’s podcast is as good as any.

Need a little convinving before you sign up? Check out our teaser trailer below to hear what Ramsay had to say in reponse to our quick-fire questions.

Why Should Procurement Pros Fail-Forward?

As a CPO, it’s crucial to foster an entrepreneurial spirit within your procurement team, no matter how large the organisation. Ramsay explained to us that this happens when businesses create a safe environment for their employees to be creative.

” While that seems really abstract, I think a much simpler way to do it would be to create an environment where we can allow team members the emotional safety to speak up, develop the courage to share an idea that may not be part of the norm, and, more importantly, allow them to feel comfortable to fail.

“Trying and failing is really at the core of entrepreneurship.

“We think about some of the most transformative evolutions that any of us have personally experienced in our professional or personal careers. I can tell you that it’s almost always fraught with a history of failure and that failure is at the core of developing the entrepreneurial spirit.

“To use a more personal ideology, I think it would be very much akin to skiing. The best skiers have fallen many times. No one is an Olympic caliber downhill skier from the outset. It’s not a natural or innate talent that anyone’s born with. They get better by learning, pushing themselves to the limits, oftentimes falling, picking themselves up, and moving on.

“I think the fear of failure oftentimes casts a very long shadow, and potentially impairs our ability to really think big.”

Tech skills? Pfft! We can teach that stuff!

We were also eager to pick Ramsay’s brains on the procurement talent Rio Tinto is snapping up.  As the procurement function evolves, new skillsets are required.

Ramsay acknowledged that skillsets have historically been centered around supply chain, finance, operations or engineering, all, as he describes them “technical dicisplines.”

“What we’re trying to do [at Rio Tinto]  is find people that absolutely have what I would consider more specific experience in some of the more intellectual or emotional disciplines, in the form of either liberal arts or communications. Ultimately, it’s the ability to solve problems that I think will help and drive transformation within a company. It all comes down to having the capability to engage, to understand, collaborate, more importantly, to influence.

“We’ve had some great success with people that are creative writers, a couple of people with philosophy majors, and even a couple of communications experts. We have to be focused now on behaviors, and ultimately we can teach them those technical skills. It’s very likely and possible that we can take a philosophy major and teach them supply chain. It sometimes is harder to teach somebody that’s been rooted in the engineering discipline to think differently, so to speak, or create a different behavior.”

Listen to Ramsay’s full podcast when you sign up to Procurious. Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen to Ramsay’s podcast in full.

The BIGGEST Mistake Leaders Make On Their Way To The Top

Procurement leaders, listen up! We hate to break it to you, but life’s not fair. And neither is your procurement career! 

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)

How many times have you been told about someone’s promotion and thought “how did they get that job? I would have been great for that!” Rejected and demotivated, you head home, resolute to move companies. You pour a tall glass of wine and start polishing your resume.

I’ve worked with hundreds of CEOs, CFOs and CPOs. I’ve seen people rise to the top, sink hard and fast to the bottom and flounder somewhere in between – never quite gaining the momentum required to propel an upward trajectory on their career.

From my experience, the biggest mistake people make in their quest for the c-suite is believing that the promotion process is fair.

Life’s not fair, and neither is your career…

You can do all the right things but it doesn’t mean you are going to land yourself the next big job. Corporations are complex and corporate politics are tricky, which means you’ll never really see the full picture.

You might be a rock star employee who delivered on all your KPIs, participated in “extra curricular” activities, and can boast a strong and supportive network (you even know the CEO!) but it doesn’t mean you’ll be offered your dream role.

So why do highly qualified candidates miss out on the top roles? There are a million and one reasons and you may never know the real answer. Some of the reasons for rejection will be about you, others will be about the company.

Here’s a handful of reasons why you may be blindsided:

Things that are not about you

  1. A change in strategy direction (ie. they put in a marketing person because they want “customer focus” or an IT person because they want a “technology focus”)
  2. The leadership team has changed and you are perceived as being part of the “old regime”
  3. They want to find a leadership role for another high potential employee and this is the best opportunity at that time
  4. There is a bias in the selection process. Even though companies are becoming increasingly aware of unconscious bias, it still may exist. Thirty years ago my husband participated in a leadership conference for 23 participants, 21 of whom were first-born sons, 1 female and 1 other male…which was my husband! Alternatively there may be a conscious bias to improve the diversity of the leadership team.

Things that are about you

  1. You’re not perceived as having the right level of experience (whether you do or not is irrelevant)
  2. You’re not promoting yourself enough. This doesn’t necessarily require an elaborate self-promotion campaign.It can also simply mean delivering on the basics. For example, one CFO told me he went into his internal HR system and some candidates didn’t even have their CV up to date, or a photo on fil That will make it unlikely for you to be selected. If you only do ONE thing as a result of reading this….PLEASE update your in-house profile!
  3. You’ve upset someone along the line. In hindsight, the inappropriate comment at an important executive meeting or the impromptu performance at the Christmas party may have been a career-limiting move. I actually know someone who slid down the boardroom table at a Friday night drinks, which may (or may not) have been forgotten, except that his belt buckle engraved a huge scratch from one end to the other – which was all too apparent to the Directors on Monday morning.
  4. Of course, the obvious: you just aren’t qualifi­­­­ed for the role!

It’s a long way to the top

As the famous ACDC lyrics go, “it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll” – tenacity is key. Wait patiently, which is not my strong suit, ­­­ for “your time”.

There is a direct correlation between how quickly you bounce back from a career disappointment and how quickly you get promoted. If you’re going to thrive, you need to take a long-term view on your career and build up your career resiliency.

I’ve seen this time and time again. One of my favourite examples was a mentor of mine who was at one point in a heated competition with one of her peers for the CPO role. Unfortunately she missed out, but quickly changed her perspective, becoming the trusted 2IC to her former peer, now boss.

Within twelve months she was headhunted to become the CPO of an even larger organisation! And guess who one of her biggest fans was? Yep!The very same person she had been competing with just a year ago; former peer and now boss,the CPO. How circumstances change!

Remember your career is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need to build career resiliency. In the long run, your endurance will pay dividends and chances are, you’ll land the dream job when you least expect it.

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)

 

Personal Development: You Da Brand!

So you’ve decided you need to take your procurement career to hand by proactively managing your personal development? Here’s how to set yourself up for success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)

What are the attributes of top talent within procurement?

Are there any common themes among successful leaders?

Where should I focus to ensure my career continues to progress?

These are but a few of the many questions you’ll have asked at different stages in your career.  But I’d like to make the assumption that a focus on personal development is the area that suffers above all else. Workload, pressures of a role, delivery objectives and even personal life challenges  means we are constantly investing in the here and now, and not on our longer-term aspirations.

Personal development is a topic we are enormously passionate about at Michael Page. Not just for our own employees, but also through the conversations we have with candidates and clients every day. A lack of development is often cited as a main reason to change roles, with development and progression opportunities both being a compelling sell for a new employer.

It’s a wonderful thing to be inspired to take control of your career development. But it’s also easier said than done, particularly when it comes to kickstarting your journey. Here are my four key building blocks to help you set yourself up for great success!

1. What does good look like?

When thinking about your own personal development, a great place to start is to gain an appreciation of what good looks like, think of someone you have worked with that has stood out from the crowd and use that as your inspiration.

2. Using failure to progress

The starting point for me when thinking about individual procurement and supply chain leaders who stand out from the crowd is often bravery. Having the confidence and foresight to try something different. This approach requires a corporate culture and environment that encourages ideas and isn’t restrictive. On a personal level, having a growth mindset is critical for framing outcomes as a development of one’s own capability. Failure should help move you forward as much as success would.

3. Nature or nurture?

One of the questions you should ask yourself is how much your culture, environment and leader, enables you to show this type of bravery. The strongest leaders will encourage you to think differently, whilst also allowing a sufficient degree of autonomy to do so. More importantly, they’ll provide cover for you internally should things not work out as desired. It is important to work for these types of individuals for your own growth and development as a leader but the type of organisation you’re in is also critical. It needs to be one that has a clear focus on development and a path for progression.

4. You’re the brand!

Think of yourself as a product. You can only take a highly effective product so far without the right marketing and brand behind it. Equally, a product with strong marketing backing and investment that doesn’t deliver what the customer wants will ultimately fail. As an individual, you have to develop your procurement toolkit, your softer skills and general competence. But you also have to build a strong personal brand. Think about the CPO’s that you aspire to be like.  Your reasons are informed through a mix of their achievements and career highlights, but also the personal brand that they have created.

Be bold, be forward thinking and creative, find an environment that enables you to do these things. Above all, live your own personal values and beliefs then create a personal brand that is true to who you want to aspire to be.

Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain have partnered with Procurious to bring you a series of podcasts from some of procurement’s leading lights.

Throughout this podcast series, five global CPOs will talk about their career journeys and the skills required to become tomorrow’s CPO. We hope this will provide you with the chance to reflect and positively affect your own development and longer-term career aspirations.

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)

5 Global CPOs Answer Your Top 5 Procurement Questions

How did the CPOs at Barclays, Vodafone, The Co-operative group, AstraZeneca and Rio Tinto fare when we put them to the test in a round of quick-fire questions?

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)

Wouldn’t you like to know how the best in the business feel about the value in professional certifications? Or maybe you’re keen to hear their take on the biggest mistakes made by procurement pros?

There’s just one week to go until we launch Career Boot Camp 2017, sponsored by Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain and we can’t wait for you to hear all five podcasts!

Featuring tips, insights and guidance from the best in the business, each of our five  CPOs will dedicate next week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

Can’t wait that long? We thought we’d give you an exclusive sneak peak of what’s to come. 

We put each of our five speakers to the test with a round of quick-fire questions. Listen below to hear what they each had to say on the value of formal procurement certifications, the biggest mistakes procurement pros make and how to stand out from the crowd!

Day One: Ramsay Chu CPO Rio Tinto

There’s no question that Rio Tinto’s Ramsay Chu is passionate about procurement. He’s watched the profession evolve from a function that simply “saves money” to one that can transform and have a “scale impact” on the business: touching every employee in the organisation.

In his Career Boot Camp podcast Ramsay discloses what new skills he’s looking for in his hires and explains why technical skills are often of lesser importance.

And, if you’ve ever felt like a failure in your procurement career, Ramsay has some important words of comfort. Find out why failure is at the core of entrepreneurial spirit and how you can turn it to your advantage by “failing forward.” As he puts it “No one is an Olympic caliber downhill skier from the outset!”

Day Two: Ninian Wilson Global Supply Chain Director & CEO Vodafone Procurement

Vodafone CPO, Ninian Wilson, is a man with a lot on his plate. He manages a colossal spend of €22bn and oversees 1100 employees. But that’s not stopped his determination to innovate with new companies, new products and new services.

In his Career Boot Camp podcast Ninian explains why he strives so hard to foster this culture of innovation at Vodafone.

And if you’re wondering what Ninian is searching for in his new hires, it’s the “data rockstars!”

Ninian Wilson’s podcast will be available on Procurious from 5th September.

Day Three: Dapo Ajayi CPO AstraZeneca

It’s not a bad thing to forever shoot for the stars when it comes to innovating with your suppliers. But don’t be underestimating those smaller successes and achievements!

Dapo Ajayi is keen to remind procurement pros that the smaller ideas and innovations carry a lot of weight; building trust, improving collaboration and creating opportunities for greater change further down the line.

She also discusses what business acumen means to her in the context of procurement, how to better align procurement with business stakeholders and offers guidance on how to become a CPO

Dapo Ajayi’s podcast will be available on Procurious from 6th September.

Day Four: Fabienne Lesbros CPO Co-operative Group

Rigid processes can inhibit procurement’s ability to advance efficiently but there are ways to prevent them from getting in your way. Fabienne Lesbros has some welcome advice on the subject as she advises that procurement pros present the cake, rather than describe the recipe!

She also describes her vision for the future of procurement, the importance of continuous development and why we must resist using procurement jargon!

And, if you’ve ever assumed that today’s CPO’s followed a clear and well-crafted career plan, think again! Fabienne explains how her ascent to the top went a little differently!

Fabiene Lesbros’ podcast will be available on Procurious from 7th September.

Day Five: Al Williams Managing Director & CPO, Barclays

What are today’s CPOs looking out for in the high performing procurement leaders of tomorrow? For Barclays CPO, Al Williams, it’s all about embracing change. But he isn’t just looking for procurement pros that are simply able to tolerate, or adapt to, big changes. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ve got to take the wheel and drive the agenda!

Al also discusses how procurement can generate value, how the function should be positioned within an organisation and how he encourages his hires to think about positive change.

And, if you’re in the market for some new shining stars, find out what you can do to make procurement a preferred and enticing destination for the next generation of professionals!

Al Williams’ podcast will be available on Procurious from 8th September.

Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!)