Tag Archives: throwback thursday

Throwback Thursday – #suckit – The Art of Speechmaking

There’s an art to great speechmaking, and we can all take note how to improve. But could it also be the key to finding great talent?

I’ve just woken up in Los Angeles and am still in awe of Cate Blanchett’s amazing acceptance speech at last night’s Oscars.

No – I wasn’t in the audience (maybe next year!), but watching with a group of friends in our Art Deco hangout in Santa Monica. It felt a bit like watching the AFL Grand Final from an apartment in East Melbourne. The action was only metres away, but there you were, watching it on television like the rest of the world.

Cate’s speech was the demonstration of a well educated, articulate, thoughtful, and endearing individual. She came across as a true professional who was both confident and competent – a rare combination.

As far as I’m concerned, her speech ticked all the boxes. She used this once in a lifetime opportunity to talk to the world about the wealth of Australian talent, the important role of women in business, and her number one passion, the Sydney Theatre Company.

 

And, I’m sorry, I have always tried to avoid writing negative comments about specific individuals, but Cate provided a VERY stark contrast to the best male actor who…quite frankly…in his acceptance speech reinforced a lot of stereotypes about the acting world and Hollywood. Enough said!

Don’t Get Sticky Fingers

Now, I know there will probably be social media furore over her comment, “Julia, #suckit.” The background to which Blanchett is staying close-lipped.

It would seem Cate’s has proved correct an earlier, very clever quote from Julia Roberts regarding social media: “It’s like cotton candy. It looks so appealing, but then you just end up with sticky fingers”.

Wow!  What a great analogy – sticky fingers.  Really made me rethink my little personal journey on twitter, which you can read about in “Who gives a tweet?”.

Anyway, back to great speechmaking. While scrolling through my Twitter timeline to learn more about Cate’s big win, I stumbled across AFL Boss Andrew Demetriou’s 11 minute resignation speech.

OK, so it’s not everyday someone draws a link between Andrew Demetriou and Cate Blanchett! But in a matter of 24 hours, both these Australians made great leadership speeches that will help define their respective legacies.

Both speeches had the following in common –

  • Paid respect to their respective “codes”
  • Showed humility and empathy
  • Recognised where they had come from and those who had supported their journey
  • Sent a clear message about their passions/key communication points
  • Thanked their family

Because of their statesman-like, intelligent and heartfelt comments, they left their audience thinking even more highly of their respective professions.

Your Speechmaking Checklist

It’s not everyday that we mere mortals are called on to make landmark speeches, but the checklist above certainly gives us some good reminders as we walk through our professional lives.

So when that day arrives, and you’re in front of the camera, audience, or friends, will you be able to deliver a compelling summary of your contribution?

Here’s some thought starters:

  • As we interact with our team, do we show gratitude?
  • Are we investing our energy in those people who will be part of the winning team?
  • Will we have contributed in a material way to the development of our “code” or profession?
  • Have we supported our family as much as they have supported us?
  • Do we have a view, an opinion, or a passion that we are actively promoting to others as we interact daily?
  • Are we living and working by our values?
  • Are we showing empathy and humility?
  • And what about our team and others we have dealt with along the way?  Will they be our greatest advocates?

Speechmaking – The Key to Finding Talent?

But the importance of oration goes even further than our own ability to present professionally it would seem. It could just be the key to finding great young talent.

I’m always looking for great talent to help build my three businesses – The Faculty, The Source and Procurious. So, when I came across advice in Forbes on “how to find the Millennials who will lead your company,” I really took notice.

The author, Robert Sher, advised us to be on the lookout for Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) who have had experience in speechmaking and debating.

He highlights that the world needs business executives that have a deep understanding of how to persuade, how to present clearly, and how to connect with an audience.

Sher notes that many professionals, “fall short when it comes to speaking and communications skills. Many are good at making Power Point slides, and some are good at presenting facts clearly—even recommendations clearly.

“But few practice, or are aware of the techniques behind moving the emotions of audiences; whether they be in a meeting, or in an all-hands gathering of hundreds of people. We all know that people spring to action based on emotions, then simply justify it with logic.”

Here is the truth about students who compete in speech and debate. They’ve spent hundreds of hours perfecting their speaking skills.  Many have done intensive research to write their speeches.

All have endured the pressure that competition brings. They have performed well intellectually under such pressure, and they’ve made connections and friendships with other high performing peers. All of these behaviours are excellent predictors of success on any leadership team.

Throwback Thursday – Who Gives a Tweet?

Why should you ‘give a tweet’? When it comes to getting your message across, there are a billion reasons to.

who gives a tweet

This article was first published on taniaseary.com. All facts and figures are correct as of the original publication date.

If you’re anything like my husband, you’ve done your very best to avoid being “poked”, “tweeted” or “linked” up until this point. And to be honest, I was in the same camp until my team convinced me of the compelling business reasons to “get social”.

You’ve probably heard all the stats about social media:

  • Facebook (which has just turned 10) would be the third largest country in the world with over a billion users;
  • Twitter has 288 million monthly active users, who send over 400 million tweets per day; and
  • LinkedIn sees two new users sign up every second.

The world’s largest “tweeters” have millions of followers. The singer Katy Perry has the largest number of “followers” with over 50 million hanging on her every tweet.

And while none of the CPOs I know are currently preparing to promote the release of their next album to their followers, there are a number of business reasons for you to start considering twitter, along with all the other social media vehicles, as part of your communication strategy.

Finding Your Voice

Anyone following me on Twitter (@taniaseary) will see that I’m an absolute novice and haven’t really yet “found my voice” in this new medium.  Mostly, I report on celebrities I’ve run into. In the last month this has included Robbie Williams, Liz Hurley, Sir David Attenborough, Princess Anne, and Philip Mould (who features in the television show Antiques Roadshow and Fake or Fortune).

On the Saturday morning when Robbie Williams “retweeted” my tweet his 1000+ followers, I started to understand the power of this new medium. Albeit, I was momentarily a commentator in the entertainment industry, rather than the procurement profession to which I belong, but nonetheless, a worthwhile experiment.

In a subsequent test, I sent a tweet about my professional association (CIPS) securing Cherie Blair as a guest speaker. They retweeted it to their near 4,500 followers.

So, now I was a commentator in my own profession. Mmm…getting warmer! I started to understand the power of this medium for communicating, and potentially influencing, your target audience.

So, even though I’m just starting to tweet, I can already see three business reasons why my CPO friends should consider using twitter.

1. Attracting the next generation of commercial leaders

If you believe the research, the next generation of talent – the so-called ‘millennials’ and ‘digital natives’ – have lost confidence in traditional hierarchical corporate structures. They are more likely to choose their next job based on how they rate their boss, over the company they are going to work for.

They will base their opinion not on your title, but on word of mouth, social groups, strong connections, and online presence. So the lesson from this is that to relate to and recruit the best talent, you need to have a strong presence in those places where your talent is talking. And there is no doubt that the next wave of talent is online.

2. Influencing your internal stakeholders and business customers

In terms of personal visibility to suppliers, your team and your management, social media is a great place to get noticed, as well as to reinforce your position as a connected business thinker.

The rapid pace of change has made staying ‘front of mind’ tricky.  Remember, by being active on social media, especially now while procurement is still underrepresented online, you’re establishing yourself as a thought leader in the profession.

You may ask, “but is my CEO really reading social media?”. While they might not be trawling status updates, they are undoubtedly being briefed daily by Corporate Affairs, who monitor and feed trends to the C-level to help tailor their communications.

3. Becoming a customer of choice with your supply base

Marketers have been using social media to connect with customers for years. Although the reverse – using social media to connect with suppliers – is still in its infancy, be assured that savvy sales executives are scanning LinkedIn, Twitter and other platforms to understand your industry (and you as a customer) better.

The Faculty’s 2013 Roundtable research Future-Ready highlighted that use of social media in procurement is still a blind-spot for the profession. The research goes on to recommend that “as a facilitator of connections across the organisation…Procurement should take the lead in the use of online networks….for example setting up a private group for the supplier network to discuss ideas and engage with the organisation.”

Finding Your Feet

So, if you are convinced of the business reasons to use social media, how should you, as a CPO, use these new communication channels?

While I am by no means an expert on the matter, I have been advised by some pretty smart cookies as to the ins and outs of the social space. I’ll now try to relay some of their best tips to you.

  • What are the topics that only you can talk about?

This is probably the toughest part to getting started. What do you have to say that is unique, and who will be interested? This is the biggest hurdle to getting started.

Every CPO I know has a unique vantage point from which they are gathering really interesting information, unique to the industry, communities and businesses they work in.

Recognise your unique position and share some of the amazing learnings and insights that come your way. Believe me, there are very few people with this wealth of information flowing their way every day.

  • Start “following” people you admire and respect

See what they comment on and how they communicate.  This will provide you both inspiration and direction.

  • Don’t overwhelm yourself

Master one medium, whichever you feel most comfortable with (generally LinkedIn is the easiest first step), and become actively engaged with that audience. After starting with LinkedIn, I moved onto a blog (try WordPress or Blogger). And just last month I made my first foray into Twitter.

  • Try to plan ahead

Not everyone can spend countless hours a day on Facebook or Twitter. Fortunately for us there are tools (such as HootSuite or TweetDeck) that allow you to ‘schedule’ social posts.

This means you can spend a few hours every month writing updates, and then spread them out over the month. I told you it doesn’t have to be hard!

  • Social means social not selling!

The reason social media is quickly overtaking traditional media is because it allows people to interact with each other. Instead of simply talking at people, get involved in the discussions that are happening everywhere online. Your credibility will only increase.

Why Give a Tweet?

At the end of the day, why are we doing all this? What’s the point?

The point is that you need to keep on increasing your influence.  Influence is the ability to drive action. CPOs are all about driving action, activity, delivering change and response to the 360 degree audiences that surround them.

When you share something on social media, or in real life, and people respond, that’s influence.

Throwback Thursday – 4 Challenges Procurement Faces & How to Overcome Them

Ask the question, “What are the challenges procurement faces?” and you’ll get the same responses time and again. So how do we overcome the key challenges and move on?

4 challenges procurement faces

We’re looking back at some of Procurious’ most popular content from the past 12 months. First up, we revisit an article on the 4 challenges procurement faces, and how to overcome them.

Why? Well, the nature of these challenges never seems to change, so by shining a spotlight on them again, we aim to start a conversation on how to finally put these challenges to rest!

Challenges Procurement Faces

Results from a newly published study shine a light on an assortment of internal challenges facing the procurement function, as well as its changing role as we enter an uncertain future.

Xchanging has issued the first results from its 2015 Global Procurement Study of more than 800 procurement decision makers. 

These first set of results look at internal challenges and the new role of procurement, covering misaligned KPIs, lack of internal engagement, capacity issues and skills gaps.

Challenge #1: Misaligned KPIs

Despite the now wide ranging responsibilities of procurement decision makers, 47 per cent name ‘cost savings realised’ as their number one KPI. The top four KPIs listed are all cost related. CSR/Sustainability impact, by comparison, is ranked as the least important at just 1 per cent.

Chirag Shah, Executive Director, Xchanging Procurement comments: “These results strongly indicate that there is a problem with the current KPI structure. Procurement teams are responsible for many business critical functions. From risk management to sustainability impact, procurement is engaged in activities that far surpass its cost-cutter legacy.

“The metrics against which organisations track procurement’s performance do not line up with what procurement actually delivers.”

Challenge #2: Lack of Internal Engagement

63 per cent of procurement decision makers globally identify ‘internal stakeholder engagement’ as a challenge, with 14 per cent claiming it is as an extreme challenge.

Shah explains: “Procurement’s strategic capability isn’t being understood and because of that, it isn’t appropriately valued. Not only is this causing problems for procurement performance, it is also restricting business success. By not engaging with the procurement team and fully understanding what it can deliver as a strategic partner, companies are limiting their potential for growth.”

CPOs clearly feel more internally valued than procurement middle management. 60 per cent of CPOs feel that procurement is a C-level priority in their organisations, compared to 37 per cent of procurement middle managers.

Shah makes a number of recommendations based on the findings: “To improve internal engagement, and properly communicate the value of procurement, procurement departments need to consider tactics such as introducing governance boards, using score cards to track deliverables, leveraging analytics and reporting tools to demonstrate results and even re-labelling team members with non-cost centric job titles that relate to their roles, for example ‘Risk Manager’ or ‘International Consultant’”. 

Challenge #3: Capacity Issues

According to Xchanging’s numbers, 80 per cent of procurement decision makers identify ‘procurement team time pressures’ as a challenge, and 20 per cent as a major challenge. This implies that the majority of procurement departments are facing major capacity issues.

Surprisingly, in comparison, ‘talent shortage’ is considered an operational challenge by far fewer respondents, with 59 per cent citing it as a challenge, and only 12 per cent as a major challenge.

The number citing talent shortage as a concern drops to less than half (40 per cent) when asked if it’s a problem for the industry as a whole.

xchanging

Challenge #4: Skills Gap

The skills considered most important for procurement professionals are ‘relationship management’ (88 per cent consider important, 59 per cent very important) and ‘negotiation skills’ (88 per cent and 58 per cent).

Significantly, these are also the areas where procurement decision makers identify the greatest gaps in skill set provision; around a quarter cite ‘relationship management’ (26 per cent) and ‘negotiation skills’ (23 per cent) as areas with the greatest gap in skill set provision. 23 per cent also name ‘project management’.

Want to read more about the challenges procurement faces? You can download the full report here.