COVID-19 has created a significant opportunity for generation next to lead, grow and advance. Here are five steps to break through.
Are you satisfied with your current position, or are you eager to break out and change the game?
Do same-old, status quo procurement and supply chain strategies work for you, or are you ready to rewrite the playbook for the modern era?
Procurement’s impressive performance during COVID-19, and the critical role the function plays in the ongoing recovery, has created significant opportunity for generation next.
Are you going to take advantage?
The doors are wide open. And the rewards are substantial. Think promotions, increased comp, resources, access to emerging tech, leadership opportunities, validation and trust from the c-suite, and much more.
But the doors won’t stay open forever. Now is the time to hustle and own your opportunity. If you’re not entirely sure where to begin, consider these five key steps to break through in today’s market.
1. Want more attention? Make your mark where it matters.
The fastest way to get noticed: push forward the strategic, board-level objectives of your organisation.
What tops your CEO’s agenda right now? If you don’t know, request an immediate alignment meeting with your CPO or team lead. Our research found that the c-suite’s top three focus areas today are mitigating supply chain risk, containing costs, and driving business continuity.
These three areas are your golden ticket. Get creative and be bold with your recommendations. Leadership is looking for fresh and modern ideas, not a repeat of yesterday’s strategy. Don’t hesitate to share, even if your recommendations represent a new approach for your team.
Start by thinking outside the box: Is there a use case for AI, blockchain or predictive analytics? What about partnering with a peer or competitor to solve the problem? If you can drive the results the company needs faster and more effectively than in the past, the recognition will follow.
2. Market your success like crazy.
It’s always a team game, but if you don’t advocate for yourself, who will?
Keep track of your wins and benchmark performance over time to demonstrate improvement. And report with data, not anecdotes.
Be sure to communicate like an executive when sharing your success up the ladder. The TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) phenomenon is a very real trap. Lead with the headline, back it up with data and close with how you plan to take it up to another level.
Remember, you, and you alone, are responsible for your career growth.
3. Champion digitisation and emerging tech.
COVID-19 rapidly accelerated the enterprise digitisation journey and eliminated all the old excuses associated with delayed tech transformation projects.
Every executive is looking to increase resilience, productivity and performance. Digitisation and emerging tech – like AI and machine learning – delivers on all fronts. Those who proactively adapt and modernise are best positioned to lead today and in the future.
If your department is not equipped with the right technology, take a stand and champion the digitisation effort. Executives will take notice. Our research shows that 93% of organisations are investing to enable procurement’s success. There are three primary areas that companies are focusing on to propel procurement forward:
- Data and analytics
- Development of existing talent
Two of the three are directly tied to digital transformation. For many companies, September marks the start of the 2021 budgeting season. If you see an opportunity, the time to make a move is now. Make the business case abundantly clear by connecting your requests to what matters most for the organisation right now: cash, resiliency, and business continuity.
4. Learn, develop and then learn some more
Fifty-seven percent of organisations are investing in talent development to propel procurement forward, according to our survey research. That number needs to be higher… and you need to make sure you get your fair share of the investment.
COVID-19 fundamentally changed supply chain and procurement management as we know it. According to our Supply Chain Confidence Index, 97% of organisations experienced a COVID-19 disruption, and 73% are planning seismic supply chain strategy shifts post-pandemic. The status quo simply won’t cut it. You need to grow your skills, expertise and network.
Your job: Put forward your personal business case for investment. Identify the skills that you and your team need to survive and thrive tomorrow. And take ownership of your own development.
There are ample opportunities to improve and develop. Our recent survey uncovered five primary talent gaps facing the function today.
- Market intelligence
- Technology knowledge
- Relationships building
- Emotional intelligence
Mastering these five areas will push you forward in a big way. Breaking them down, there are three key themes. The first is analytics – leaders that can analyze data, uncover trends and use insights to make fast and informed decisions will remain in high-demand. This should be area number one for professional development and training. The second centers around tech digitisation and modernisation, which we touched on earlier. The last bucket represents the soft skills necessary to be a great leader – emotional intelligence, relationships, and human connection.
Be the leader you want to follow
As you grow, get promoted and gain more influence, prioritize being a great leader. Make it one of the most important things you do every day.
Your leadership approach can either crack the foundation of your team or launch everyone forward. In fact, Gallup says managers account for at least 70% of the variance in team engagement.
But remember, future success requires practice today. According to research from HBR, there are six key areas every aspiring leader should practice right now:
- Creating an exciting and challenging vision
- Translating the vision into a clear strategy and roadmap
- Team management: recruiting, developing and rewarding great people to execute on your strategy
- Focusing on measurable results
- Fostering an environment of team innovation and learning
- Leading yourself — “know yourself, improve yourself, and manage the appropriate balance in your own life.”
If you wait to start practicing these skills until after you get the promotion, it may be too late. As HBR’s Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville write: “No matter where you are in your career, you can find opportunities to practice these six skills. You’ll have varying degrees of success, which is normal. But by reflecting on your successes and failures at every step, and getting feedback from colleagues and mentors, you’ll keep making positive adjustments and find more opportunities to learn.”
The Clock is Ticking: It’s your time to lead.
For current and aspiring procurement leaders, there’s never been a better opportunity. More than 60% of procurement professionals have seen executive trust increase in the past three months. Similarly, more procurement leaders report having a seat at the executive table today than they did in May.
You have everything we need to step up, lead and earn more recognition and trust. The doors are open: are you going to walk or run through?Interested in learning more about procurement leadership? Get more insights, advice and best practices from our latest report: Procurement’s Time to Lead.