Are you heeding good career advice to continue your upward trajectory, or worn-out myths that will grind your career to a halt? Here are the most common myths that may prove a hindrance.
When it comes to career advice, some of the most successful people say you can never get enough of it. But what about if the advice you’re given is not quite right? Or worse, what about if it actually sabotages your career? A lot has changed in the world of work, but sometimes the career advice of yesteryear just doesn’t change with the times. Here are the most common career success myths, and how they might actually be sabotaging your success:
Myth 1: Long hours is the only way to the top
We’ve all heard the old adage before: the quickest way to the top is to arrive before your boss, and leave after her. Employers want face time warriors, we’re told. The best employees are always working, always available, and always on.
So it’s fair to say that long hours will not lead you to the top, but it may lead you out the door.
Myth 2: Dress for success
The notion of ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ seems to have been passed down the generations, and still echoes around many offices today. But will this get you the promotion you’ve got your eye on?
Secondly, the very best workplaces know to value someone’s performance over superficial considerations such as how they dress or look. So as much as it’s important to make an effort, trying to be the best dressed in your office is simply not that important.
Myth 3: You should leave if you get a bad performance review
For anyone who has ever received a bad performance review (which at some point, is most of us!), it can be a soul-crushing and highly embarrassing feeling. So awful is it that most of us will believe that there’s no coming back, and that we should immediately update our resumes and start hitting the job market. But should we?
Companies are increasingly waking up to the fact that annual performance appraisals aren’t as effective as many originally thought they were. In fact, BBC Worklife goes as far as to say that they are pointless for most people. Increasingly, businesses are realising that they are not the be all and end all of performance, and looking at other factors instead.
That being said, a bad performance review can still hurt. But instead of rage quitting, try to focus on what you can do to improve. Steering yourself out of a bad situation can show your boss that you’re in possession of the most important quality any employee could have: resilience.
Myth 4: Your IQ is more important than your EQ
Are you one of those people who rolls their eyes at all of our peers because you know you’re just so much smarter than all of them? At school, it’s the most intelligent people who succeed, but in work, it can be a different matter entirely.
In the workplace, a high IQ can mean that you’ll succeed at certain jobs and be valued for your skills. But if your IQ Is high but your EQ is lacking, you’ll likely be sidelined to roles as an individual contributor, as leadership and management require a healthy dose of EQ.
Your EQ, far more than your IQ, will determine whether or not you’re promoted, and will help immensely throughout your career, assisting you to build relationships and influence others.
When it comes to career advice, not every piece of advice is created equal. Don’t let these career myths stand in the way of your success.
Are there any other career myths that you’ve felt have held you back? Let us know in the comments below.
How do you make a serious impact with your personal brand? Here’s five essential things you need to be doing.
Recently, a journalist on LinkedIn asked ‘Who is making waves in procurement and supply chain?’ and we were so incredibly chuffed that a number of our incredible members tagged Procurious! We loved the compliment, but it really got us thinking – how is it that someone can make an impact in this industry that we love so much? And what tactics/techniques can we all use to help amplify our own personal brand and increase our chances of being successful?
If you’re a procurement professional, here are five things you can do to help boost your personal brand and get noticed by those who matter.
1. Have a killer profile picture
If you’re using professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn or Procurious, you may very well meet someone online before you do so in person. This means that you’ll want to put your best digital face forward. But what should this look like?
Firstly, you’ll need to select (or take) a photo of you that looks professional. In order for it to be so, make sure that it’s taken in soft, natural light – bright lights aren’t that flattering, no matter how good looking you might be! Beyond this, make sure that you’re the only one in the photo, and that you’re wearing what you would wear to work to amplify your professionalism (or even better, dress for the job you want, not the one you have!).
When taking your photo, make sure that your face takes up the majority of the frame, and choose the right expression (a smile usually works well!). In order to look as professional as possible, make sure that you have someone else take the photo and avoid any distracting backgrounds.
When it comes to marketing yourself – which, in essence, is what personal branding is all about – there’s nothing better than creating content. But do you need to be a design extraordinaire or trained journalist to do this? Absolutely not! There’s lots of different ways you can share your valued opinion and expertise online.
One way is simply asking questions and commenting on discussions and blogs, which you can do easily online, including right here on Procurious.
And there are multiple other ways, as well. If you’re wanting to share your expertise with others, you can volunteer to appear on an industry podcast, create a vlog (which are becoming increasingly popular on LinkedIn and other online platforms), or write long-form content, which you can post on your LinkedIn profile or alternatively, volunteer to guest blog on other industry sites.
3. Regularly put yourself out there (including at events)
When it comes to influence and personal branding, a lot of it comes down to presence. Are they aware of the impacting you’re making? Are you getting noticed? Do people remember you and will they think of you next time?
Developing and nurturing a personal brand is a lot like trying to get a new job. You might get lucky the first time you try, but more than likely, you’ll have to keep trying and trying to get where you need to be. Your personal brand is no different. Whether you’re publishing thought leadership content, participating in discussions or speaking on panels, you’ll need to do so regularly so you’re more likely to be noticed – and remembered.
A great way to continually put yourself out there is to attend industry events and conferences, many of which are currently happening online. Check out the ones Procurious are currently hosting.
4. Create a standalone website
When it comes to personal branding, authenticity is important. But appearing authoritative is just as important, and one way to do so is through a standalone website about you, personally. The website can feature your blog, conferences you’ve spoken at, and any other awards or accolades you’ve received. A great example of a personal branding website within our industry is that of Sheri Hinish, Supply Chain Queen. Procurious founder, Tania Seary, also has her own excellent personal website.
Not sure how to create a website? It’s easy, requires no coding skills and can be completed in just a few hours. Try creating one with Wix or Squarespace.
5. Be a little controversial
You may not find this advice in many other personal branding articles, but here at Procurious we know it to be true: you can put yourself out there regularly, but if you’re saying that same thing as everyone else you won’t get noticed. You’ve got to say something unique.
You’ve got to say something different. And oftentimes, different means controversial.
As we all know though, we have professional reputations to maintain, and controversial need not be too controversial, especially if what you want to say is a little negative. But at the same time, it’s only be challenging the status quo and daring to say things that others may not that you’ll stoke discussion, and get noticed.
Your personal brand, just like your career, requires constant effort and investment to pay off. But once it does, the result is truly priceless. An effective personal brand can open doors and opportunities you never would otherwise have imagined, and be the key to you getting where you want to be.
What are you doing to grow your personal brand? Tell us in the comments below.
2020 has been a year like no other. Which of course means we need an update in our go-to career tips…
Unfortunately, careers often look better with hindsight. If only I hadn’t taken that role, we often think, or perhaps, I could be better off if only I’d learnt to better negotiate my salary.
Fortunately for you though, those types of concerns or regrets might not be something you have to worry about after you read this article. We all need some good news right now, so to bring you five of the most life-changing career tips of 2020, we chatted to one of the most-experienced supply chains recruiters in the world, Tim Moore. As the President and Owner of Tim Moore and Associates, has single-handedly placed thousands of high-ranking supply chain executives into roles all over North America for the best part of almost three decades.
He sat down with us to share ‘something money simply can’t buy’- hindsight.
Tip 1: Stand out – you may soon have some competition
When it comes to global supply chains, it’s fair to say that the coronavirus pandemic has changed absolutely everything. From food to medical supplies, the crisis has caused all of us to consider just about every element of what we do, from how we manage suppliersto what technology we use and why.
It has also brought significant awareness to the importance of a resilient, secure and reliable supply chain. This, in turn, says Tim Moore, has led to an increased interest in completing your supply chain qualifications:
‘Thanks to COVID-19 and the awareness of Supply Chains there will be a long overdue “spike” in the number of new students enrolling in supply chain courses.’
‘Fortunately, I think there are now many degree programs ready to cater to this boom and help rectify today’s shortages of supply chain talent.’
Is an increased interest in a supply chain as a career going to pose a threat to today’s seasoned supply chain professionals? Not really, says Tim, but if you are at a more junior level, standing out when applying for jobs will become more important than ever.
Fortunately though, more qualified junior talent in supply chain will be of great support to teams this year who have a lot to grapple with throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Tip 2: Your profession has skyrocketed in importance and awareness – make the most of it
Prior to writing this, we Googled whether there was such a thing as the ‘Year of the Supply Chain’ (sort of like the Chinese Zodiac “Years Of”). Sadly, there wasn’t.
But if there was, undoubtedly it would be 2020.
At no time in history has supply chain management been as crucial and all-defining as it has been this year. Suddenly, procurement and supply chain has gone from an overlooked ‘function’ to the crucial heart of the organisation. If ever you wanted to be strategic, get noticed and truly ‘take a seat at the executive table,’ now is the time to do so, says Tim. But you have to be strategic and proactive.
He truly believes that this year will be career-defining for many supply chain professionals who step up and take the initiative:
‘There has never been a time since the second world war, when the supply chain profession, and the techniques they bring, have been so important and visible to the senior executive within the firms that employ them.’
‘Every supply professional has learned lessons about the vulnerability of their particular supply chain(s) – and should be proactive taking steps to reduce the risk of disruption in the future.’
‘You can’t afford to wait and gamble that it won’t happen again…it will.’
Tip 3: Salary surveys may give good insights – but be careful how you use them
With the supply chain profession being elevated in importance, and businesses (hopefully) edging towards recovery as the year continues, opportunities may increase for people in the hunt for a better salary. But Tim cautions everyone to be very careful when it comes to the old ‘grass is greener’ salary argument.
Tim has seen many supply chain professionals become disgruntled because they believe they are being underpaid. Yet the places they get their information may not be what they seem:
‘I’ve heard some people say that “money talks” and they’ll crack open an industry salary survey to try and determine whether they’re ahead or behind others in terms of the salary curve.’
‘The thing is, those surveys can be almost impossible to fully interpret, and are often misleading to the casual reviewer.’
Especially this year, Tim says, salary survey results may not be able to tell you much as many companies are freezing pay levels and asking employees to take pay cuts. The ‘greener grass’ may in fact not be green at all when it comes to pay.
Yet should you still use these salary surveys as leverage in your own pay discussions? Tim says:
‘In any salary discussion, it’s important to know what your range should be, based on firms of the same size, in the same industry and of the same profit level. But really, it’s hard to glean this information from a survey so likewise, hard to use this as leverage.’
‘Pay discussions should be based more on your achievements and your tenure with the firm, whether the firm has been profitable and frankly, whether or not there has been recent layoffs or downsizing.’
Tim cautions, though, that now might not be the right time to ask for a salary increase:
‘In some cases, people should be happy to have a job, let alone be seen as gouging their employer for demands for a salary increase.’
Tip 4: Consider the big picture – and put your negotiation skills to good use
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies, lives and jobs losses, and that means that inevitably, some supply chain professionals might find themselves without work this year. This is a terrible outcome, of course, but when the market picks up Tim does genuinely believe there will be more opportunities than ever.
But when and if we all decide to accept an offer of employment, Tim believes that we should consider the ‘big picture’ of what an employer is offering; as it will be more important than ever before:
‘When considering a new opportunity, of course look at the salary range, and compare this to your competitors and your industry at large.’
‘But remember, as your supply chain training has taught you – salary, like price, is only one element to consider. Think long and hard about other benefits, for example: educational reimbursement, membership in your local supply chain association, bonuses if any, (and how frequently they’re paid), stock options, and healthcare and dental coverage.’
‘Post-COVID, increased benefits may be easier to achieve than a dramatic salary increase..’
When it comes to negotiating your package, however, Tim believes that supply chain professionals need to remember their training:
‘I’ve always maintained that you never get paid what you’re worth, but you ALWAYS get paid on how you negotiate and how well you have interviewed.’
‘It’s surprising that so many supply chain professionals go blank and completely forget their negotiation training when presented with a job offer. After you feel confident that you’ve checked all of the boxes and know you’re the right fit, just like with negotiating with vendors, you can always ask for: 1. Time to consider it further, 2. For the offer to be put in writing, and for those adventurous 3. “Is that the best you can do?”’
With the final request, Tim says, if you execute it politely and professionally, you may be able to leverage up your offer.
Tip 5: Ask the hard questions
With unemployment approaching an all time high, many of us may be forced into a ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ type situation, where we simply take the first job we can get. But nonetheless, Tim says, you should research the company you plan to join, because if you do end up having to leave after a short amount of time, it may not look great on your resume.
In order to research the company you plan to join, Tim recommends the following:
‘Find out about everything. Look up the organisation’s products and services, read their financial reports, look at their social media accounts. Make sure you take detailed notes in all of your interviews, and don’t be afraid to ask why they’re interested in you and how you might fit exactly within the role in their eyes.’
‘But more than that, ask some harder questions. Ask WHY the position is available, and what happened to the previous individual in the role? Enquire as to how long they were in that role? You’d be amazed at what you can uncover!’
There’s very few professions that will be able to claim that 2020 was a great career year. But for many of us in supply chain and procurement, we might just be able to surprise ourselves.
Will you negotiate harder for your salary increase or greater benefits this year? Or are you concerned about competition? Let us know in the comments below.
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COVID-19 creates new career opportunities for procurement and supply chain professionals, despite recent job losses and pay cuts.
COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the job market. The most recent U.S. analysis reveals that 21.5 million Americans remain unemployed. In the European Union, 397,000 people lost their jobs in April, according to the EU’s June report. Globally, Citi projects that 44 million people around the world, excluding China, could lose their jobs due to the pandemic.
The procurement and supply chain function is not immune. Our research, which was conducted between 4/28 – 5/12, found that 20% of supply chain and procurement departments experienced job cuts due to the crisis. Diving deeper into those numbers:
Nearly half (48%) said the job cuts were limited to about 10% of the team
15% said their teams experienced cuts of 50% or more
Similarly, 23% of respondents said they were forced to take pay cuts. Of these:
38% saw pay cuts of about 15%
32% saw cuts of about 25%
10% saw cuts of about 33%
19% saw cuts of 40% or more
Millennials took the most pay cuts (32%), while Boomers took the least (18%).
While these numbers are alarming on the surface, they may not be as severe as they appear. A recent U.S. survey from the Census Bureau found that 47% of adults said they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. This may indicate, on a comparative and anecdotal level, that procurement and supply chain practitioners have somewhat been spared.
The harsh reality: Given the magnitude of job loss across the world, it was always a matter of how much, not if, procurement and supply chain functions would get hit. Across many industries, it simply did not matter how talented you are, or the results you produced. Many organizations saw revenues drop by nearly 100%, which naturally (and unfortunately) affects employment.
The good news comes in what’s next. Our research found that the majority of organizations are valuing procurement and supply chain like never before. More than ever, procurement and supply chain leaders play a critical role in organizational resiliency, recovery, cost controls and business continuity.
Go-forward job confidence reflects this thinking. On a scale of 1 – 5, weighted job confidence for the next 12 months is 3.96—meaning procurement and supply chain practitioners are more confident than not. Nearly half (43%) said they were extremely confident they would have a job 12 months from now, compared to only 5% that said they were not confident. We see this confidence mark as an incredibly positive sign considering the employment turmoil around the world.
Could this confidence – along with the newfound appreciation for procurement and supply chain – lead to more promotions? While it’s safe to assume most organizations will take a tepid approach to compensation and spending for the foreseeable future, we believe this crisis will create fresh career and financial opportunities for Generation Next. If anything, this crisis – and the strong performance of teams across the world – crystalizes the importance of investing in people, technology and the overall function, which should open up more (and new) doors.
Building on this dynamic, the majority (73%) of organizations we surveyed are planning seismic shifts in supply chain and procurement strategy post-pandemic, including supply base expansion, inventory management changes, and reductions in supply chain globalization. These changes represent fundamental shifts to traditional approaches, and will require substantial smarts, experience and an immensely committed and results-driven team for success. All of this points to higher demand for great people.
There’s no escaping the chaos caused by COVID-19, especially when it comes to jobs. But for procurement and supply chain leaders, the light at the end of the tunnel is bright.
With only 1 week to go until our Career Bootcamp, we are taking a walk down memory lane and looking at our favourite podcasts from last year.
Can you believe it? In just one week we’ll kick off this year’s most essential Career Bootcamp, covering the one thing we know you need this year more than anything: a resilient mindset.
In case you missed this, this incredible Bootcamp will help you power your mind and supercharge your ability to innovate, play to your strengths and be more resilient.
But before next week, we thought we would take a look back at last year’s Career Bootcamp and all of the inspiring insights to come out of it.
One of our favourites was this podcast. Director at MIT Sustainable Supply Chain, Alexis Bateman, discusses her experiences through the lens of sustainability, where she gets her energy from and, like all truly successful leaders, why it’s just as important (if not more important!) to develop your team as well as yourself…
Not only is this next speaker a World Para-triathlon Champion and won Paralympic Gold in hand-cycling at Rio 2016, but Dr Karen Darke MBE is also an author and broadcaster, with an area of expertise on the subjects of challenge, change, resilience, sustainable wellbeing and maintaining a positive mental state.
Karen Darke is the strongest adventure athlete you’ve never met. This is why…
Have you ever wondered about the concept of biohacking? Do you think that people could unlock even more potential in themselves by using technology, gadgets or implants in their brains?
Well, as far-fetched as it might sound, Neuroscientist and Professor at Kellogg School of Management, Professor Moran Cerf, has devoted his career to this idea.
Responsible for all strategy, execution and transformation of IBM’s global end-to-end supply chain, and delivering to clients across more than 170 countries, Ron Castro, Vice President at IBM Supply Chain, is ideally positioned to share his wealth of experience and give his Bootcamp tips in this podcast…
Finally, to discuss his career journey, what habits he’s developed to differentiate himself, and what he’d advise a younger version of himself about when it comes to accelerating his supply chain career, Stephen Day rounds out our wonderful speaker lineup for 2019.
This year’s Career Bootcamp with IBM Sterling Supply Chain is set to be bigger and better than ever before. Through 6 awe-inspiring podcasts from June 22-26 featuring a stellar line-up of speakers, the Bootcamp will help you to:
Be more creative and innovative as Mok O’Keefe, Founder, Beehive Innovation, takes us all through practical strategies to help you and your team have bigger and better ideas.
Adapt and persevere as clinical psychologist Nicky Abdinor talks about how to thrive in times of uncertainty.
Be more resilient as Roh Singh, Founder of Populis and Excelerate You, enlightens us on how to overcome fear and doubt.
Alex Bailey, CEO and Co-Founder, Bailey and French: Alex will help us all identify our strengths, but more than that, she’ll help us leverage them to boost our careers.
Rob Baker, Author and Founder, Tailored Thinking, will discuss how we can use those strengths to craft a job that we love
And finally, VP and CMO of AI Applications and Blockchain at IBM, Amber Armstrong defines what it means to be an inspiring leader, especially during challenging times.
Nine in ten of us do NOT want to go back ‘normal’ once lockdown ends. So how do procurement professionals negotiate a new WFH arrangement – that works for them and their employer?
With half the world in lockdown we are starting to get used to the ‘new normal’…. and after an initial reluctance, most of us are embracing the idea of a new way of life.
Yes, we do want some aspects of “normal” life to return. Being able to socialize, see our families, have a decent haircut (that’s not done at home) or enjoy a weekend at the beach.
But we don’t actually want to go back to life as it was.
A recent poll in the UK found that only 9 per cent of Britons want to return to life as “normal” after the end of lockdown.
One area where we are yearning for change is work … or more importantly the ability to work from home and/or more flexibly now that we have put the systems in place, mastered video conferencing and created our own home-office environments.
The good news is that three-quarters believe their manager trusts them to be productive when WFH according to research commissioned by Visier, which provides people-analytics to over 5,000 businesses that employee 7 million staff across 75 countries around the world.
So, if you are one of the 9 in 10 who wants a different type of working life, build on this trust: meet your deadlines, exceed expectations, continue to work collaboratively and show that you can excel at online meetings and conference calls. Do not give your manager any excuses to say WFH does not work – and that you have to return to your place of work, once offices are back open again.
The best way to tackle this negotiation is like any business negotiation (as a procurement professional you already have the skills). So be clear about what you want to achieve, build a compelling case and then make a persuasive argument.
STEP 1: PROVE IT’S THE BEST WAY FORWARD
Seven in ten staff who are working remotely for the first time as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, felt they were either more or equally productive as a result (despite the unique challenges of slow internet speeds, homeschooling and hours queuing to purchase life’s necessities).
So, working from home does work. Just make sure you have the data to support your argument and include this information in your flexible working request. It will make it far harder for your line manager to refuse…and also help you prove to yourself that you CAN do this.
TIP: Make this data easy to assimilate by churning the figures – I wrote five more pitches every week, responded to 15% more enquiries per day, set up an online meeting with a new supplier and negotiated a contract remotely etc… It is much harder to argue with facts.
STEP 2: WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?
As with any negotiation, you need to have a clear goal. Perhaps WFH 5 days-a-week will seem too isolating (or impractical), so do you want 3 days in the office, 2 days at home? Or maybe a 9-day fortnight.
Also, if you are likely to fall into the category of being asked to work more flexibly (social distancing is going to last for some time, so you may not actually be welcome in the office), you need to work out what works for you. If you crave the stimulation of an office environment at least part of the week, make sure your employer knows that WFH permanently is a deal breaker… and let’s face it we all find it difficult to be home 24/7 with family rows over internet usage.
TIP: Presenting a simple solution will make it easier for your immediate line manager to make a decision (remember, everyone else will be putting in flexible working requests too). However, you might have to be flexible about being flexible – for example, to agree to WFH on a Wednesday because everyone else is at home on a Friday.
STEP 3: PRESENT A SOLUTION – NOT A PROBLEM
The financial implications of Covid-19 mean that organizations will be looking to shed staff and cut overheads. One of the most obvious cost savings is premises – with predictions that there will be a huge shrinkage in office floor space even after the world gets back to work.
So, highlight the savings on office overheads from sharing space, hotdesking or remote working.
Another way to save money – and potentially save your job – is to offer to work a reduced working week.
Yes, it will mean a pro rata salary (a 20% pay cut if you move to a 4 day-week), however if the coronavirus has taught us one thing, it is to value having less while enjoying more time with those we love.
If you no longer have to afford two holidays a year (it might be difficult if there are travel restrictions for some time to come), are saving a fortune on eating out (more of us are becoming proficient home chefs) and spending less on grooming (who else is embracing a more natural look?), you might be able to take that pay cut.
TIP: Make yourself less expensive – you will then be less expendable. Being cheaper to employ while being more productive will make you less of a target for redundancies than your colleagues.
STEP 4: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE IT WORK?
There is no point asking to work flexibly if the office can’t get hold of you, conference calls keep cutting out and your presentations no longer look professional.
So, you need the right tools. That includes the right tech (laptop, software, printer and an upgraded internet connection). Also discuss insurance (this might cost more if you have expensive equipment at home), the extra costs of running your home office (electricity) and an allowance for things like stationery, printer ink and other office supplies.
TIP: Don’t make expensive demands (it could be a dealbreaker) but show you have thought through the practicalities of WFH and wish to have an open conversation about how to make the new arrangement work. In some countries you may be able to claim these expenses against tax and in the UK from 6 April 2020 employers have been able to pay up to £6 a week (£26 a month) to cover additional costs if you have to work from home (although not for those who choose to do so).
STEP 5: KNOW THE LAW – JUST IN CASE
While employers are likely to be highly responsive to flexible working requests – or even insist that more staff WFH at least part of the week – it still pays to know the law…and in particular, what reasons your employer can use to refuse your request.
Many workers around the world (Europe, Australia, some parts of the USA) have the right to request flexible working (although this is NOT the same as being able to work in the way you wish – you just have a right to make a request).
Generally the reasons for refusal include:
it is impractical – either you have to be there in person or there will be difficulty reorganizing work among other staff
there will be an impact on performance, productivity, quality, customer service
TIP: It is better to preempt a refusal, by countering it in your flexible working request. It will not only show that you know your rights but also that you have thought of practical solutions to any potential problems.
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“Intrapreneurs” – named the most in-demand skill of 2020
A few months ago, it would have seemed impossible. A motor manufacturer making ventilators. A fragrance brand producing hand sanitiser. Or a luxury fashion firm sewing scrubs.
Businesses across the globe have demonstrated an incredible ability to pivot on the head of a pin and change out entire manufacturing and distribution processes in the space of a few short weeks in response to the Covid-19 crisis – and it is procurement and supply chain professionals who are helping to make this happen.
That’s because many of them are “intrapreneurs” – which was named the most in-demand skill of 2020 at the start of the new decade. Who would have predicted back in January, that being an intrapreneur would become even more essential in just a few short months?
Being able to think outside the box and come up with solutions to problems that didn’t even exist a few months ago, is going to help to change the way organisations respond to this unprecedented crisis.
Prolonged decision-making in slow-moving risk-averse corporations has no place in a post-Coronavirus world.
Today it is even more vital to be more nimble and agile – adapting quickly to identify opportunities just like an entrepreneur (although in this case it’s to do good rather than boost profits).
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS AN INTRAPRENEUR?
If you are not sure what the term ‘intrapreneur’ actually means, don’t worry – you are not alone. Nearly nine in ten people polled found the term a complete mystery.
So, here goes…
Intrapreneurial describes someone who “thinks and acts” like an entrepreneur but who works “in” an organization rather than for themselves.
In simple terms they see new opportunities and then take advantage of them. And that’s why they are in such high demand.
Procurement is at the forefront of much of the current innovation – supply chains have been disrupted, borders closed, logistics are a nightmare and yet, procurement professionals are finding new solutions… and quickly.
Forget months or years waiting for answers, procurement professionals are having to identify opportunities and solutions and then innovate even if this involves an element of risk. They are trying new things to see what works. The adapting when they do. In other words, they are having to become entrepreneurial.
THE GOOD NEWS IS YOU ARE PROBABLY ONE
Two in three people possess intrapreneurialism as a skill according to recruiters Michael Page which complies the annual top 100 most in-demand skills list. So, the chance are… you are one of them (even though you may not know it).
How do you know for sure? Well, are you the sort of person who is brimming with ideas and takes ownership of your own success and that of your organization? In effect, you see it as your job (even if it isn’t) to make things happen and bring about change.
Day-to-day, this is how an intrapreneur approaches their role.
Is great at identifying opportunities – in this respect the intrapreneur is treating their organisation as their own business and looking for ways to grow it.
Is proactive – again this is about ownership. Instead of doing the same things in the same ways, you will be the type of person who thinks of new ways of working or introduces new ideas – before being asked.
Is not afraid to challenge the status quo – if something is not working, you are the sort of person who is brave enough to speak up and put themselves on the line to bring about change. This is more than being proactive, it is about risk taking (a trait that is highly entrepreneurial).
Is resilient when things do not go to plan – you will be the sort of person who is prepared to learn from trial and error and accept that some ideas might fail, but you do not give up and instead bounce back with other ideas.
Is a brilliant collaborator – bringing about change or challenging the status quo is not easy (particularly if this is not your role), so you will be great at bringing people on board. Your ability to build relationships and enthuse others will ensure you get things done.
Is great at thinking outside of the box – this is a mindset that goes beyond being innovative. Entrepreneurs succeed because they can see opportunities that others don’t.
Is prepared to trust their instincts – entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs need a strong sense of self-belief to push ahead with their ideas and overcome any set-backs.
Why would an organization want an intrapreneur?
Now this is where you might think there is a dichotomy. Afterall, entrepreneurs are risk-takers, free-thinkers and mavericks who want to take ownership of their own business – and these are traits that do not sit well in a corporate culture. After all, you don’t own the business and you have to report to someone higher up.
Well, Nick Kirk, managing director of Michael Page (which identified Intrapreneur as the No.1 skill for 2020), disagrees saying, “Great employees are those who are invested in the company and want to help it improve, which in turn enables them to create a working environment that they enjoy, so it’s a win-win scenario.
“Intrapreneurship may sound like a daunting term, but at base level, it refers to that person who is willing to go the extra mile to improve their workplace.”
And that is exactly what organisations need right now. So whenever you demonstrate your intrapreneurial abilities, make sure you shout about it and promote your achievements on your Procurious profile… you have a skill that is in high demand.
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Working can feel impossible when you have to collaborate with someone you don’t like. Here’s how to do it.
Michelle* had recently taken on the role of CPO at a large manufacturing organisation. It was a job she’d been planning, and pining for, for years, so she was heavily invested in making it a success. To do so, she’d carefully mapped her stakeholders, investing in understanding each of their unique needs and situations. But two months in, there was a problem. And the name of that problem was Mark. Unfortunately, Mark was also the CFO.
Michelle had done what she could to get Mark onside. And worse, she could see from his relationships with others in the business that Mark wasn’t particularly difficult – in fact, he seemed to be generally competent and well-liked. But she just didn’t like him, and he didn’t like her either.
As many of us in procurement would know, though, not getting along with the finance department can be particularly troublesome. And so it was with Michelle. Mark was going to be integral to her success – so what should she do?
If we’re all being honest, we’ve all come across a Mark – or a Michelle – in our working lives. Someone who, despite others not seeing it, just makes our blood boil with frustration and our mind explode with confusion. Someone we simply don’t like.
But nowadays, with procurement intimately connected to all corners of organisations and stakeholder management more important than ever, we can’t simply ignore the fact that we don’t like someone. We need to do something about it.
But what? Here’s how to navigate the frustrating waters of a colleague that has you hot under the collar:
Step 1: Accept and reflect
No matter how likeable or nice we think we are, we have to accept that it’s not possible to get along with everyone. The first step to improving relationships with someone you don’t like is simply this: accepting that not everyone will be your best friend (or even ally) and that it isn’t a personal reflection on you.
Beyond acceptance, another important first step is to reflect on the positive you can garner from the relationship, even if it is a difficult one. What can you learn? How can you grow? Difficult relationships are, usually, much rarer than positive ones, so if you flip your frustration on its head, you’re bound to learn something.
2. Understand their perspective
When you decide that someone frustrates you, you naturally recoil. Then, when you do need to deal with them, you discount and/or/get annoyed by everything they say and do. In other words, once trust and respect are gone, it’s difficult to get them back.
But in the situation where you have to work with someone you don’t like, it’s important to try and be the bigger person, no matter how challenging this might seem. Ask yourself: Why is this person acting in this particular way? What do they want/need differently from me? How might I be frustrating them? Reflecting on their motivations will help you appreciate their goals, behaviours and different points of view. In turn, this will help you have empathy for their situation.
3. Increase your self-awareness
The term ‘it takes two to tango’ is true of all relationships, and a large part of working with people you don’t like is to understand how you contribute to that relationship. Understanding your own personal style can be a big part of this.
In the example above, Michelle knew that she was a strong extrovert, and that she always preferred face to face meetings and lots of social time with her colleagues. She was also a little disorganised, and never understood why past colleagues got frustrated when she was late to meetings or moved them at the last minute. After all, she got the job done.
Mark, on the other hand, was a strong introvert and preferred the comfort of everything via email. He was precise, particular and enjoyed routines and certainty. He mistook Michelle’s carefree attitude for incompetence.
By increasing her awareness of her personal style, Michelle could learn a lot about why she might frustrate Mark – and vice versa. Understanding this is a critical part of repairing poor relationships.
4. Be collaborative – not competitive
The hierarchical nature of organisations can lead many of us to feel we need to compete with each other. Yet that attitude alone is responsible for many poor relationships. If you want to get along, it’s better to focus on collaborating.
It can take some courage to do this, but one way of encouraging better collaboration with someone you don’t like is to simply ask them how to do this, instead of constantly trying to find workarounds to make them happy. Asking something along the lines of ‘I don’t feel we’re working together in the best possible way – do you have any ideas on how to fix this?’ can go a long way in ensuring a better partnership.
If you don’t like someone, the last thing you’re going to want to do is flatter them, as it can seem ingenuine. But doing so in a more subtle way can help repair a relationship, especially if you essentially ‘shift the problem’ of the relationship over to them by simply asking for their help.
In Michelle’s situation, one way to repair her relationship with Mark might be to take him for a coffee and seek his expertise on how to best connect with people in the organisation and succeed. The question will have the effect of making Mark think that Michelle believes he is an organisational success story, and he might be more willing to open up. This will ‘humanise’ the relationship and help both Michelle and Mark feel more comfortable with each other.
Most importantly – start working on your frustrations early
For so many of us, our colleagues and stakeholders can make or break our experience at work. Inevitably though, we’ll come across people we don’t like.
When we do, it’s important to work on those relationships, often and early. There’s nothing worse than being frustrated on a daily basis, when we could have seen the incredible human our colleague was long ago.
What techniques do you use to better work with people you don’t like? Tell us in the comments below.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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When we think of bad luck and its inverse, good luck, we often think about being in either the right or wrong place, at the right or wrong time. We think of it as something that just happens; an act of good or bad random chance.
You can, in fact, create your own good luck. And you can do so by employing 4 basic principles that will rapidly increase the amount of good fortune that comes your way.
Here’s what the 4 principles are and how you can employ them at work.
1. Maximise chance opportunities
The first principle that psychologists found increases your luck is to maximise your chance opportunities. It makes sense, of course – the more opportunities you expose yourself to, the more likely you’ll be to succeed.
But maximising your chance opportunities isn’t just about exposing yourself to them. You also need to take advantage of them when they come your way.
A great way to do this is to be open to meeting new people and having new experiences, and then seeing the positive in everything. You simply never know what might lead to your next big break.
It’s easy to see how this principle applies at work. Is there a new project you could put your hand up for? Could you go to a not-strictly-necessary meeting and strike up a conversation with a leader you’ve never met?
The more open you are and the more chances you take, the more likely that one of these opportunities will come to fruition.
Opening yourself to more opportunities means you’ll invite both the good – and inevitably, the bad – in. In doing so, you’ll need to learn to listen to your intuition, to ensure you make better decisions about what’s right for you.
Think of your intuition as effectively a filtering system. With more opportunities, you need to take advantage of the best ones to increase your luck (success).
Intuition can be tricky to describe, but we’ve all felt it. Whether it’s a job we’ve gone for only to doubt whether we’ll like the manager, or a supplier we’re unsure of, we all sometimes feel things aren’t quite right. But we may not trust our judgement. From a luck perspective, we should.
A little over a decade ago, a book by a little-known author, Rhonda Byrne, went viral. That book was called The Secret and it promised that all readers needed to do was ‘invite’ good things to happen to them, and such things would come about.
The book was soon widely rubbished by sceptics. It became the subject of countless hilarious memes. But as it turns out there was an element of truth in Byrne’s observations.
Creating good luck in your career isn’t just a matter of inviting it. But research does show the lucky people do have a positive outlook, insomuch as they expect their future to be a success.
This often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lucky people will persist when trying to achieve their goals (even if the chance of succeeding are slim). And they’ll positively interact with others on the journey, opening up ever more opportunities.
This is another example in which it’s easy to draw parallels to the workplace. If you’ve missed out on a promotion this time, keep your manager on side, stay positive and keep trying. This will exponentially increase your chances of success.
No one is going to want to promote you if you’re bitter and negative all the time, regardless of your performance or how hard you work.
4. Turn bad luck into good luck
Are you stewing on that time when a co-worker made you look bad or stole your idea? While it’s normal to do so, lucky people have special ways of dealing with the inevitable bad fortune we all experience.
Practising their techniques can help you literally turn bad luck into good luck.
Here’s what researchers found they do:
Lucky people often imagine how things could have been worse –this helps them see the positive in any situation.
Ultimately, lucky people believe it will all work out in the end. Sure, your co-worker might have stolen your idea, but you’ve got plenty more to offer, right?
Lucky people don’t dwell on bad things that have happened to them. This enables them to focus on their next big opportunity.
Lucky people take control of situations and take constructive steps to prevent bad situations from happening again. If your co-worker has made you look bad, let them know!
Go out and get that luck
French leader Napoleon Bonaparte said: ‘ability is of little account without opportunity’. And that has never been more true, especially when it comes to your career.
So go out there and make your own luck. And when you succeed, know this – your success is the result of your effort, not chance.
How have you made your own luck? Tell us in the comments below.
This is the most popular month to make a career change, which means there’s even more competition – if you want to stand out from the crowd, it pays to be prepared.
Job-seeking is not a numbers game – all you need is one great job offer.
So, get yourself ready to be open to the right opportunities. Follow my list of 20 ways to get job-ready.
1. Don’t set goals – you will be setting yourself up to fail or to make a bad choice
If you set yourself a target of finding a new job by March, say, or earning a particular salary, you will be putting pressure on yourself to accept a job offer even if it is not the best career move for you.
2. Think about why you’re leaving – just to be sure
Moving jobs takes time and is risky – you have little job security for the first 2 years.
So work out why you are dissatisfied with your current role.
Need more flexibility? Ask to work a day a week at home.
Want to learn a new skill? Then put in a request.
You’ve nothing to lose if you are planning to leave anyway.
3. Make it a positive choice – desperation is not a good look
Not only will you be in danger of accepting any job rather than the right one, hiring managers want to recruit someone who is positive and passionate about the job, not someone who is disgruntled and oozes negativity.
4. Focus on what you’ll gain – it will energise you
Change your mindset by focusing on what you want to gain, not what you want to leave behind.
Make a list of all the positives you want from your new role.
For example, if you are stuck in a rut with no prospect of promotion, then training and development and opportunities to progress should be a priority in your job search. If you hate your commute, the location will be key.
This list will help narrow your search – and help motivate you to make a change.
5. Be patient – it might take time
Remember, it will probably take until Easter (at the earliest) before you start a new role, so don’t rush into the wrong decision.
6. Remain loyal – it will pay off
Yes, it’s hard to give your best when all you can think about is leaving – however, don’t relax just yet because you will want a good reference and you might be working in your current role for some time.
Never badmouth your employer. It could get back to the boss (awkward) or make future employers wary of hiring someone who is obviously so discontented.
7. Identify your strengths – and weaknesses
You need to be clear about what you can offer future employers.
To discover what your ‘brand’ is, ask trusted friends and colleagues to list the 5 or 10 things they think you do well – perhaps you have good technical skills or are good at being collaborative?
Then ask if there are any aspects of your personality or performance that they think need work – maybe you are not so good at organisation?
8. Search online for keywords that will sell you
Next, match what you have to offer with the jobs you are interested in. A quick scan of job boards to see what recruiters are looking for will identify the keywords you need to include in your job applications – from ‘collaborative’ to ‘commercial’.
Make a list. Then rephrase your skills so they fit these descriptions – for example, ‘ambitious’ could be ‘target-driven’.
9. While you are looking, is there anything you are missing?
If nearly every job spec is asking for a particular skill, then perhaps it’s time to get a qualification.
For example, if the spec says ‘must be proficient in data analytics, including Excel’ and you use Excel but don’t have a certificate, go online and do a quick course. If there are any glaring gaps in your skills, perhaps you need to invest in a professional qualification.
Also, check out the Procurious Training & Learning section.
10. Update your CV – only a generic one at this stage
Pay attention to the style: No more than two sides of A4.
Start with a personal statement. List jobs with the most recent first and avoid giving your entire life history. Focus on what you can do rather than what you have done.
Include some examples of where you have met/exceeded expectations using the STAR (situation, task, activity, result) approach. This will clearly demonstrate you are up to the job without appearing arrogant.
Don’t be tempted to invent hobbies and interests to make yourself appear more interesting or to lie (dates, job titles etc. are easy to check).
And don’t forget to double-check grammar and spelling.
11. Remember to tailor your application/CV to each role
When you get to the stage of applying, carefully read the job specification and include all of the keywords listed – using the exact same wording.
Look through your list of skills and keywords that sell your brand and include those that are required or you think will add value to the job. Remember, at this stage, you need to show that you are an obvious fit for the job.
12. Have a professional photo taken
While many recruiters hate photos on CVs, they do like to see them online – either on your own website (if you have one) or your online profiles.
A really good photo (remember to smile or at least look approachable) is, therefore, a must. At the very least, avoid holiday or party selfies.
13. Get your online presence ready – LinkedIn in particular
Think of this as your shop window – a potential employer or recruitment consultant might come across your profile and at the very least will check it.
Ask a few key contacts if they will provide you with a recommendation and add a bit of personality by posting a few blogs or sharing some newsworthy links. Also, boost your network by requesting others to join it – the more senior the better.
14. Use Procurious as a resource
Make sure your Procurious profile is more than just a bland description of your current job.
Use phrases like ‘passionate about’, ‘driven’ and/or ‘highly experienced’ and really sell yourself – don’t forget a photo.
Also, click on ‘Build your network’ and start to reach out to professionals in key positions – someone might even approach you to offer you a job.
15. Don’t forget to clean up your social media
An inappropriate image or even just liking a less-than-tasteful joke can rule you out of a job.
16. Get signed up to job boards
Get the apps (you can search on your daily commute) and sign up for job alerts (so you don’t miss an opportunity).
17. Identify your ideal employers
Make a list of the firms you would like to work for and start researching them – you will want to talk their language in your job applications and be prepared for interviews.
Also, check out glassdoor.co.uk to see how existing employees rate them – to avoid making a bad move.
18. Engage in strategic networking
Find ways to network with staff who work for your ideal employers to find out what it is like to work there.
You can then ask them if they have a referral scheme (existing employees are often given a bonus for recommending a new employee) or to let you know if there are any opportunities.
19. Encourage approaches – a bit like putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign
Many job movers don’t ever apply for a new role. Instead, they are approached.
Go to LinkedIn and click on ‘Show recruiters you are open to job opportunities’. (Don’t worry – you can control who sees this, so the boss won’t necessarily find out.)
Also, get on the books of recruitment consultants specialising in your area so they can put your name forward for any relevant jobs.
20. Practise your pitch – it will keep you positive
Some people find it awkward to self-promote while others just come across as arrogant.
So practise telling stories that showcase how you have met a challenge, achieved a target or developed a skill – you can use these on application letters, when networking and in interviews.
It’s also a very self-affirming – and will help you deal with the disappointment when employers don’t even bother to acknowledge your application or reject you.
So keep these 20 tips in mind to boost your spirits while job-hunting – and increase your chances of success. Good luck!
And if you want to move up in your career, change industries, or even need some extra motivation for the new year (and new decade!), start 2020 off with a bang in our upcoming webinar – Don’t Quit Your Day Job. Register here for free.