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.
When it comes to professional accreditation for procurement and supply chain, there are several options available. But, as it turns out, all are equally good for your professional development.
Unlike other professions, procurement and supply chain does not have one, single governing professional body. While this does make things slightly more complicated, it does provide professionals with a greater degree of choice when it comes to their professional accreditation journey.
Individual decisions may be based on geography, field of procurement, or even previous and current job roles. And while people will make different choices, it does not mean that any of these options are better than the other or will hinder career progression in the long-term.
To understand which qualification is better suited to you as an individual, we need to look at the key differences in the organisations and accreditation, and how your decision may impact your future career.
The main difference between the two organisations is a geographical one.
CIPS is headquartered in the UK and has a very strong network in its home country. It has also developed strong network bases in EMEA and Australasia, with each region having its own management structure, as well as a strong presence in Africa and East Asia. It is a truly global Institute, with over 200,000 members worldwide.
ISM was founded in North America in 1915 and has consolidated its base in this region. It doesn’t have the same global branch network as CIPS, with its networking predominantly focused in the USA. But it is starting to spread its network worldwide, including an increasing membership throughout Latin America, with over 50,000 members from 100 countries.
2.Time & Study Format
When it comes to qualifications, it’s hard to split the two bodies. Both take procurement and supply professionals from student or entry-level members and provide learning, development and examination in order to progress to accreditation. The time taken to achieve the qualification and the method of study are slightly different, however.
CIPS’ key accreditation is MCIPS, with the opportunity to become a Fellow (FCIPS) of the Institute beyond this. Depending on the starting level, experience and nature of study, accreditation can take anywhere between 3 and 6 years to complete. Learning materials and exams are all available digitally, though study can be undertaken in person where available.
CIPS also provides the opportunity to gain MCIPS via an accredited degree, a Management Entry Route or Corporate Award, all of which reduce the requirement for CIPS exams themselves.
The ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) qualification generally takes between 6 and 12 months to complete, depending on the method of study, time and experience. The Institute offers both self-study and classroom-based learning, but the only way to gain the qualification is to go through the three CPSM exams and have the required level of experience in procurement.
Currently there is no option to use other qualifications (degree, post-graduate degree, etc.) to provide an exemption for exams.
3.‘License to Practice’
Possibly the biggest difference in the accreditation offered between the CIPS and ISM is what is offered beyond the main qualifications.
For ISM, this is the ISM Mastery Model. The model is based around a set of 16 core competencies and more than 70 sub-competencies which are seen as critical for a successful career in procurement and supply. Further learning resources help take individuals and teams from the first level, ‘Fundamental’, right up to ‘Mastery’, helping to provide a level of standardisation in skills for the profession.
Where CIPS differentiates from ISM is in its chartership programme. CIPS’ ambition with this when it launched its chartership programme was to create a ‘license to practice’, similar to other professions. With procurement looking to achieve the same recognition as these other professions, chartership seems like something that many people may consider going forward.
So which is better?
In some areas the differences between the organisations and their respective qualifications are stark, in others they are slight. Despite these differences, it doesn’t mean that one qualification is better than the other, or that there is more positive benefit for long-term career prospects in being a member of one institution over the other.
This is because of the key thing that both have in common: international recognition as a gold standard accreditation for procurement and supply chain. CIPS and ISM have together raised the bar for procurement, providing standardisation in learning, development and qualifications, and applicable to all areas, industries, sectors and individuals involved in the profession.
Irrespective of which route you choose, by choosing to undertake professional development and further qualifications, you’re playing your part in advancing the procurement profession. The best thing you can do is look at the organisation and qualification that suits you best and go for that. If everyone takes this step, then procurement will be the ultimate winner!
With the world economy in such a state, layoffs, redundancies and furloughs are commonplace – but even so, you can appear indispensable to your organisation.
There’s no denying that this year has been a year that will be remembered, and definitely not for the right reasons. Many of us know of, or personally know, someone who has lost their job, which is unsurprisingly given that more people have lost their jobs this year than during the Great Depression. Fortunately, many of us in procurement and supply chain have been protected thus far, but we do not know for how long. So is there anything we can do to ensure we keep our career on track and avoid being laid off?
When you work for large corporations as many of us do, it can be easy to feel powerless against a potential redundancy. But rest assured, there are a few significant things you can do to keep your career (and your job). Here’s what you can do to keep afloat when everyone else seems to be on the sinking ship:
1. Be visible
In a perfect world, you would be judged on your work and your work alone. But career success requires so much more than that: to learn and grow, you’re also expected to volunteer for extra projects and committees, network, pursue development opportunities, and so much more.
Doing so makes you more ‘visible’ to more people, but it also makes your effort far more visible. And ultimately, if more people value you and your input, it’s more likely that if the time comes to lay people off, your job will be seen as essential.
Of course, visibility has taken on a whole new meaning this year. You may not be able to show up in person anymore, but if you’re looking to keep your career on track, volunteer for that committee you might have skipped in the past. Be as engaged as possible, even when meetings bore you. And make time to connect with colleagues, even if it’s just for a quick social video chat.
Work is not a popularity contest, but the more connections you have, the more likely you will be to stay.
2. Be optimistic
Being optimistic in this environment is challenging at best, impossible at most. And why should you bother? It’s doom and gloom for most of the world for the foreseeable future, with no real end date.
Could optimism actually help your career, though? Science says yes.
When a company is considering layoffs, they will consider how much work each individual or department needs to do. If you’re optimistic and great to work with, you’ll likely get the lion’s share, and will be less likely to be able to be replaced.
3. Support your leader
When times get tough, it’s tempting to make an enemy out of your boss. After all, they often have a say on whether or not you’ll keep your job, and sometimes are in the terrible position of having to deliver you the bad news – while keeping their own job, which can feel crushingly unfair.
Yet if you’re looking to keep your career on track during a recession, going dark on your boss is not advised.
Managers, just like everyone else, suffer through recessions and not many (if any) enjoy laying people off. Recognising this, and showing empathy for them, can help create an important emotional bond. In turn, this bond will help them see you as mature and resilient, and hopefully, all things being equal, an asset to the company, and one that is not easily replaced.
Keeping your career on track in this economy is certainly a challenge, and sometimes you simply go into survival mode. But remember, you’re not powerless. There are things you can do every day to show how invaluable you are to your company, so next year – hopefully – you can not just survive, but thrive.
As the workforce bounces back, the gig economy is expected to boom. So how will this mode of employment suit Procurement? We asked Prometheia Procurement CEO Jody Rowe.
COVID-19 has raised many challenging questions about the way in which we work. It’s causing individuals and companies the world over to review their operating models. The procurement profession is not isolated from this and will need to think about the security of supply chains, how we work, who to work with, what an effective operating model is, what systems to use, the questions are endless…
This changing environment is driving the need for procurement solutions to be flexible and virtual, and toprovide simple access. We need processes and tools which empower all users and ensures continuity of knowledge, especially for the gig economy which requires access at any place, at any time.
We are also under a lot of pressure to make smarter decisions that mitigate risk, leveraging the best consulting knowledge in the business, while still ensuring retention of key personnel.
It’s becoming obvious that we now need to embrace open systems thatprovide instantaneous connection that enables group collaboration and creates a valued global network and access to knowledge.
The drivers of these changes are simple – it’s down to cost and managing risk. The question is how to get things done whilst keeping overheads down and providing real value? The opportunities of enjoying full-time work at one company for the entirety of your career has greatly reduced. Some industries, such as Oil and Gas, are already acutely aware of the steady shift towards the gig economy, which has been driven by both companies’ and individuals’ needs as people seek improved work-life balance.
Do companies need to maintain a large physical footprint or would they be better reducing their liabilities by gaining access to a diverse, flexible and talented workforce when required? As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have downsized and placed recruitment freezes, yet have still managed to operate effectively. To me, this demonstrates an underutilisation of resource pre-pandemic.
When the rebound from COVID-19 comes, companies will move even more towards the gig economy to meet their needs for short-term contracts and freelance work. With commodity price fluctuations and layoffs continuing, it is likely we will see this kind of marketplace continuing to grow for the foreseeable future.
In a gig economy, employers have access to a flexible workforce with the appropriate talent available at short notice. There’s no upskilling required as contractors are typically experienced specialists in their field, which can result in projects being completed more efficiently. Contractors often enjoy much greater flexibility in terms of work location, schedule and leave, as well as the excitement and experience obtained moving from one project to another; all of which ultimately adds to their valuable skillset.
Digitisation is paramount for a gig economy to be effective; reliable global access to systems exists and is well-tested. Access to global resources can be sought easily and work can be undertaken anywhere in the world. There are multiple workforce gig economy websites that successfully provide ad-hoc services: you can send a scope, obtain a price and get the work completed.
So why not access procurement in this way?
When you reflect on the way in which we are working in multiple countries – UK consultants working with an Australian client, Australian consultant working with an Indonesian client – you can conclude this new smarter way of working is upon us. Adapting to this change would be pivotal in continuing to deliver value within the Contracts and Procurement function. There’s no denying the function is critical to any business in managing risk, providing strong governance and soundly managing spend.
The answer was to develop a digital platform which provides access to talent across the globe via a flexible and virtual model which provides a cost-effective opportunity to fast track performance, access to procurement professionals that can save time and money, and assistance in managing risk and spend by offering easy-to-use services that can be accessed from anywhere.
And so was born Promitheia Procurement: A comprehensive online procurement tool that provides business with the opportunity to purchase procurement templates and work with online professionals to design any business procurement function to meet their unique requirements.
What are the essential skills you need to possess or develop if you want to become one of tomorrow’s supply chain leaders? Is it enough to have a business-related degree and a little supply chain experience, or is supply chain leadership a vocation for which you must work hard to acquire specific qualities?Rob O’Byrne from The Logistics Bureau shares his expert advice.
In reality, it’s probably a little bit of both. Indeed, many elements of supply chain leadership can’t effectively be learned through academic channels alone.
In any case, an excellent place to start is by knowing what the most vital supply chain leaders’ skills are and, of course, why you need them.
That’s what you’ll find in this article, so you can check which essential skills you already have, and which ones you might wish to enhance with some pragmatic supply chain education.
These Are the 7 Supply Chain Leaders’ Skills You’ll Really Need
1. Information Technology and Automation Knowledge
Before getting into this first section proper, I want to make one essential point, which I’ll expand on later in this article. Supply chain leadership is all about people using technology as a tool. Nothing is more important than working on your people skills if you want to be a successful supply chain leader.
Nevertheless, few supply chains run successfully today without the support of sophisticated technology tools, like warehouse management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. For that reason, you need at least a modicum of IT understanding to work in a supply chain environment, particularly if you intend holding a leadership position.
To be a supply chain leader, you will need to be familiar with the use of enterprise software applications like WMS, TMS, and ERP, not to mention analytics software, which is increasingly becoming a staple source of leadership decision support.
Enterprise IT Skills at User-level
There was a time when supply chain leaders could rely on subordinate employees to do the hands-on work with business information systems, and be content to receive reports and Excel spreadsheets containing data for decision-making.
Those days are gone, however. Today you’re expected to find your way around the modules of your company’s ERP and business intelligence applications on your own. Furthermore, your need for technology understanding extends beyond hands-on use.
Understand IT as a Buyer
As a supply chain leader, your input into IT procurement will be crucial, and you must know enough about your company’s technology needs to discuss them with vendors. You’ll need to understand the relationship between ERP workflows and physical processes, for instance, to help prevent classic mistakes from being made, such as applying new technology to outdated, inefficient processes.
It will help if you know automation technology, too, since more and more companies are applying automation in distribution centres and warehouses.
Ultimately, strong interpersonal skills still trump technological expertise as a supply chain leader’s forte. However, a career at the head of your company’s supply chain is not one to consider if you don’t have some affinity for technology and its application in business.
2. A Grasp of Economics and Market Dynamics
The supply chain world is changing rapidly and sometimes unpredictably, in line with the market dynamics across many industries, all of which are being affected by rapid shifts in customer and consumer buying-behaviour.
Many markets that used to be purely local or regional have become global, as have the supply chains that serve them. As a supply chain leader, you will need to focus on what lies ahead and, to some extent, predict it. That can only be possible with a thorough understanding of the market dynamics relating to your industry and your company.
Of course, each industry and the niches within them are subject to unique and specific market dynamics. Supply chain leaders can work in any industry as long as they know their stuff, but this does mean that a change of employer can require some in-depth study, especially if the market is unfamiliar.
As a basis to quickly adjust to supply chain career moves, it will help a lot to be familiar with economics’ basic concepts.
To see ahead and lead a supply chain team effectively, you’ll need to understand what drives demand, supply, and pricing for the goods and services provided by your organisation and its competitors. These forces impact a variety of supply chain management elements, including the cost of goods sold and the cost to serve your company’s customers.
3. Understanding Cost-to-serve
Supply chain leaders play a very active role in the profitability of their employing companies. If you’re running a supply chain operation, your decisions impact the costs involved in supplying your organisation’s customers.
You will have a huge advantage and the potential to shine as a leader if you can quantify how your supply chain leadership decisions affect your bottom line. For instance, too few companies focus on the real costs involved with serving customers.
The result of this inattention is often a one-size-fits-all approach to service, inevitably leading to the over-servicing of some customers and the under-servicing of others. A single service offering can even impair profitability, perhaps creating a situation where logistics costs cause some sales to generate losses instead of profits.
If you understand the cost-to-serve concept and can apply it to your company’s supply chain activity, you’ll be able to identify unprofitable customers and products.
By developing a thorough cost-to-serve understanding, you’ll even be able to make decisions that improve the profitability of those customers and products instead of taking knee-jerk measures to cut losses.
Every company wants supply chain leaders who can make direct and positive impacts on the bottom line—but not every company has such leaders. That’s why familiarity with cost-to-serve is one skill that can help you stand out as a competent supply chain professional.
4. The Skill of Flexibility
The one thing you won’t find on this list of supply chain leaders’ “must-have” skills is innovation. You don’t have to be an innovator to be an outstanding supply chain leader, but you do have to support and drive innovation. Flexibility is the skill that will help you to do that.
Flexibility gives you the ability to let others do the innovative thinking. Your flexibility will give those creative thinkers the confidence to present their ideas, since they know that you will adopt them if it makes sense to do so.
Flexibility will keep you from feeling too comfortable in the status quo ever to let it go. Flexibility will ensure that change (often termed the only constant in supply chain management) will not faze you or cause you undue stress. In turn, your team will be encouraged to embrace, rather than resist, change.
Flexibility is one of the soft skills that differentiate successful supply chain leaders. That’s not only because of the changing nature of supply chain operations, but also because things don’t always go to plan—far from it if truth be told.
For example, during supply chain improvement projects, it’s not uncommon for things to crop up, requiring plans to be changed. An inflexible leader may doggedly try to drive through with the original strategy, becoming ever more frustrated in the process and hampering, rather than helping the situation.
Inflexibility often manifests in the belief that changing a plan is an admission of poor planning, but in many cases, that is an erroneous presumption.
Don’t fall into this trap. Work on your flexibility as a leader. Accept that plans should always be work-in-progress, and adapt your approach when required. You can’t plan for every eventuality, and while flexibility is a virtue for supply chain leaders in general, it’s an absolute essential in project management.
5. Project Management Skills
Aside from flexibility, there are many other project-management skills that you’ll need as a supply chain leader. Of course, a lot depends on what leadership role you are in, but if you are headed to the top, you’ll probably hold several management positions on the way up, most of which will see you leading projects from time to time.
If you make it to the C-suite or, indeed, to any senior leadership position, it will help you and your managers do a better job if you understand the fundamental principles, pitfalls, and challenges inherent in project management.
The most crucial project management skills to acquire as a supply chain leader are as follows:
The ability to negotiate successfully for resources, budgets, and schedules
A high degree of personal organisation
A proactive approach to risk management
Of course, the above-noted skills are also valuable for supply chain leaders generally, not just as part of a project-management skill set. I’ve simply noted them here because they are the carry-over skills most likely required in a supply chain leadership role. To elaborate:
Personal organisation will be vital for keeping track of numerous projects for which you are likely to be a sponsor and meeting your obligations toward them.
You may sometimes be called upon to support project business cases, hence the need for negotiation skills.
When deciding if you’ll approve a requested project, knowledge of risk management will help you ask the right questions about the proposal and business case.
6. The Ability to Get the Best from People
So how about those people skills I briefly mentioned earlier?
I can’t put it any more plainly: the ability to lead, manage, influence, and inspire other people is the number one fundamental, essential skill that all supply chain leaders and managers should possess.
It is entirely possible to learn the necessary skills, but a word of caution is due. If you don’t enjoy team building and developing professional relationships with lots—and I do mean lots—of other people, don’t choose a supply chain leadership career.
On the other hand, if you love working with people but just don’t see yourself as a great leader, you probably have exactly the right mindset to succeed in a supply chain leader’s role.
There is nothing wrong with being self-critical, as long as you have the will to learn what you need to learn, and the energy to commit to your personal development. Being passionate about teamwork and enjoying interactions with others is half the battle in succeeding as a supply chain leader.
The 3 Cs of Supply Chain Leadership
Communication: First and foremost, you need to communicate well … to articulate sometimes complex concepts in a way that anyone within your company can understand, regardless of whether they have supply chain knowledge or not.
Dependent on whether your company operates internationally, you might benefit from communication skills that extend beyond your native language. It’s becoming ever more common for enterprises to give preference to bilingual or multilingual leadership candidates.
Collaboration: Secondly, you will need to be able to foster collaboration, a critical element in any modern supply chain.
It won’t always be easy, because sometimes you’ll be asking teams inside and outside of your business to collaborate and work together despite competing priorities and expectations. To ensure these parties collaborate, you’ll need to draw on communication, persuasion, and relationship building skills.
Change: Change management is another people skill in which you might wish to receive some special education or training. If you are planning to graduate from a role where you’ve been used to participating in, but not leading change efforts, experience alone may not be sufficient to help you take people through challenging changes. Resistance to change can be hard to overcome.
The impact of changes within your supply chain can affect employees on a very personal level. You’ll need to know how to empathise and to listen actively to what people are telling you. Without these skills, your leadership can quickly be rejected during periods of change, purely through fear of the unknown and a sense that you don’t appreciate employees’ concerns.
Get the Best From Yourself
Finally, while the need to interact effectively with other people might seem obvious, you shouldn’t neglect the development of the person most impacted by your skills and abilities—yourself.
Supply chain leaders should be able to conduct regular self-assessments and identify their areas of weakness.
We never stop learning and developing, but by having the ability to self-appraise your skills honestly, and work on those areas that need it, you can acquire new expertise at a rate that keeps pace with the ever-changing supply chain environment.
Getting the best from yourself also means having the ability to curb your ego. Learn to recognise when somebody else in your team exceeds your aptitude for a specific task or responsibility.
Let that individual take the lead, and be happy to follow and learn from her. Not only will that free you to play a part in which you can use your strengths, but you’ll also be empowering the other person and helping her to reach outside of her comfort zone.
7. The Know-How to Negotiate
As a modern supply chain leader, it won’t only be your reports and colleagues that you need to interact with effectively and skillfully, but also those outside your organization. Moreover, both internal and external interactions will often involve the need to negotiate.
Supply chain leaders must negotiate often, and even if you’re not doing so on a one-to-one basis, you’ll probably find yourself in scenarios where you’re part of a team of people trying to broker a deal or arrangement.
Negotiation Scenarios for Supply Chain Leaders
Some examples of possible negotiation situations that you might get involved in, and in many cases, lead, include:
Procurement of IT services and solutions
Contracts for logistics services
Brokering deals with product vendors (for direct or indirect supplies)
Putting together contracts or service level agreements with customers
Negotiations with employee groups or trade unions
Business merger/acquisition negotiations
Why do Negotiation Skills Matter?
Negotiations are typically transactional, but often take place between entities or teams engaged in long-term business relationships. Whether you are the lead or a mere participant in the negotiation, your skills will influence the transaction’s outcome and the trajectory of the broader relationship.
It’s easy to make mistakes during negotiations, but with relevant training and education, you can hone your skills to avoid some of the most common errors.
For example, skilled negotiators know that the process does not have winners or losers. They don’t go into a negotiation aiming to win as many concessions as possible, and they don’t feel that they have failed when they have to give ground to arrive at a settlement.
A win/lose type of attitude will lead to negotiating mistakes. Even if you come out of a negotiation feeling that you have won, you might find further down the line that your “win” has done nothing to strengthen what might be a vital partnership.
Mistakes that Skilled Negotiators Avoid
If you have developed your negotiation skills, you will always enter into discussions looking for an outcome that will satisfy both parties. You’ll also be able to avoid other common mistakes such as:
Failing to prepare by identifying what the deal-breakers are, which outcomes are essential, which ones are useful to achieve, and which ones don’t matter in any concrete way.
Asking only for as much as you expect… It is better to ask for more than you expect.
Modifying an offer you have made before getting a response to the original. It’s important to understand that the other party may use silence to bait you into relaxing your conditions.
Offering compromises before you have heard all the demands of the other party. By getting all the facts first, you can be selective in identifying where compromise may be possible.
Focusing too much on your party’s input and achievements. Strong negotiators pay close attention to the opposite party’s behaviours, ask plenty of questions, and take time to understand and analyse the answers.
How to Boost Your Supply Chain Leader’s Skills
Your business degree and/or hands-on experience in a supply chain role will undoubtedly help you gain and maintain a supply chain leader’s position in your current company—or in a new organisation if you should be planning a move.
However, supply chains have become so complicated that an extensive toolkit of required skills is required if you want to thrive and make a difference as a supply chain leader.
Some of the skills in that toolkit can be difficult to attain without many years of supply chain experience, simply because they are rarely taught outside of the workplace. Your best option might be a program of specialised supply chain and logistics education.
Our Supply Chain Secrets program, for example, was developed and designed by people who work in the industry. It can help you learn about each supply chain area pragmatically, using real-world problem-solving and relatable examples of commonly made mistakes—and methods to avoid them.
If you’ve read this blog post, perhaps you’ve been searching online for ways to enhance your supply chain leader’s skill set. If so, you don’t need to look much further. Join Supply Chain Secrets today, and access the skills you need to be a supply chain leader of tomorrow.
What ought to have been a huge success for U2 turned out to be critically panned – and if you’re having a “Rattle & Hum” year, here’s how to turn it into your “Achtung Baby” era.
I bought my Dad Rattle & Hum as a present in 1990. I was only 14 and didn’t really know much about music, but he had played Dire Straits Brothers in Arms for years at me and U2 looked similar but cooler (to me). The LP was a giant doubler and it was all black and shiny. I loved it.
Still Haven’t found. Angel of Harlem. All I want is You. That song captured the essence of my unrequited love for Carol in 4th year. I didn’t even realise Helter Skelter and Along the Watchtower were covers!
I had the documentary on VHS and when Bono chimed up with ‘this is not a rebel song’ to the opening drums of Sunday Bloody Sunday, it made my hairs raise on my arms every time.
It led me on a U2 odyssey, through Unforgettable, War and October, Under a Blood Red Sky. I joined their Propaganda fan club and queued for 24 hours for tickets to see their Zoo TV tour in a big shed in Glasgow.
It was only much later that I realised that Rattle & Hum was considered a critical and commercial dud, their zenith being the Joshua Tree of course and my dear Rattle & Hum being self indulgent, cultural appropriating over-blown nonsense.
I played Rattle & Hum today. Still loved it and it inspired this post.
I look back at my “career” and had a good upwards trajectory. I smashed my 20s, 6 promotions, lots of talk about my ‘high potential’ and was going places. I excelled as an individual contributor. October. War.
My 30’s, I was on a roll. Managing multiple teams, functional directorship level (Unforgettable Fire), knocking on the door of general management.
I was at my peak at 40, having led a team that sold a $200m deal – my own Joshua Tree, (although that value gets larger in every retelling as the years go by and my memory fades).
….but then the wheels slowly fell off.
Don’t get me wrong, 20 years of moderate success gives a cushion not afforded to many. But through a combination of false starts and bad choices (mainly mine!) I will end 2020 having earned less than I’ve earned in any year since I turned 30.
I got to the Joshua Tree late. It’s really rather good isn’t it? If you’re reading this I suspect you like U2 too.
Since January this year, I’ve been looking for work … a.k.a “developing my business” for the self employed. I spent 7 months of 2020 wondering if I’ll ever get the chance to create another Joshua Tree.
Will I ever work at a senior level again?
I was seeking to build my own skills development business and struggling to convert good interest into sales. There were also precious few permanent jobs on offer. I was applying for roles that I wouldn’t have considered ten years ago simply out of the desire to work and stay relevant, but getting nowhere. (This is not a great job search strategy, for reference).
It makes you self-reflect, all the spare time. Makes you highly self-critical and in my worst moments even jealous of others successes. Why isn’t that me? Once upon a time, we were the same (or at least in the same room!).
My list of limitations others may spot although it naturally took me longer to. I am self deprecating, which I think make me friendly and likable but appears to others as low confidence. I want to be liked more than I want to be respected. I still get tongue tied with authority at times. I can be indecisive. I want to please and have sometimes sought to please my boss over my team. I’ve kept quiet when I should have spoken out. I can ramble when clarity of message is important. And on. And on.
If you peruse my linkedin profile for the last years I’ve still had some great roles. I’ve had roles at a couple of big retailers and learned loads. And sometimes the above limitations bit me despite delivering the metrics. I’ve had other consultant and interim roles too where my strengths came to the fore ahead of my weaknesses.
But in all cases, my sense of forward momentum was disappearing: it was like my star potential was falling, my impact diminishing.
Was this it? I guess that’s how Bono and the boys must have felt after Rattle & Hum’s reception.
Rebuilding one’s Mojo, 2020.
Some of 2020 was a struggle: applying for full time jobs and hearing nothing back almost ever; the call from a recruitment agency; the false hope as they ask for your CV; the disappointment when you get nothing back; the days tailoring CVs and cover letters to get a rejection a few weeks later.
Some of 2020, however was hugely rewarding. Of course lockdown. But it was wonderful (for me): Sunny with family at home. Getting fit with my daily exercise … Heaven.
But also, thanks to Linkedin I “met” 4 or 5 random connections who had similar interests and were in similar positions. Over zoom it was weird but some genuine, now firm friendships formed. We created business ventures, simply through graft and enthusiasm, and supported each other in the search for clients and jobs, through the lows (not many highs!). None of us had to play the ‘corporate’ persona, it was liberating and most of all fun. Simply being able to be have a giggle whilst building to a purpose made me want to get up each day.
No money was coming in but I was enthused and energised. I had rediscovered purpose.
They reminded me what my strengths were: corporate life too often focuses on your weaknesses and the weaknesses of your teams. We found areas of common interest and simply started sharing views, research and ideas: each of us seeking to make sure that in our interest topic we were jointly the most informed, and had THE WORLD’S BEST body of knowledge on that topic. And created from there.
In the last month, I had the opportunity to return to consulting with a big-4 player. It’s early days but so far its been really exciting, if startlingly hard work. I feel that I’ve got somewhat lucky given the current environment to get a role at all, and am determinedly bottling up the mojo my new (and some old) friends gave me.
When things are low, particularly when you’re out of work, find a community and get busy. Doesn’t matter what initially, just have some professional fun. That’s essentially my tip from this post. Get busy and you’ll find your mojo again.
I loved Rattle & Hum. And I loved my Rattle & Hum year of 2020.
But watch out: I’m hoping my Achtung Baby (of course U2’s best album) is just around the corner. And yours too.
This article was originally published here – it has been reproduced with kind permission.
Ever wonder what recruiters are REALLY thinking when they give you “the news”? I’m dishing out the real dirt to help you better understand the process behind finding your next job!
If you have ever played a game with a small child, you know it can be frustrating because they seem to change the rules halfway through. My daughter is always making up new cards for Uno [she wanted to create a card that made us switch hands whenever I called “Uno”!] so I never quite know what to expect when we play!
Looking for a job isn’t much different, is it?
Each company has its own process, its own application, and not too many are very transparent about what to expect once you hit that submit button. Wouldn’t it be handy to have a few ideas of what might be happening on the other side?
Even though from the outside, company applications all look different, the general recruitment process is essentially the same. All recruiters seem to use the same playbook when giving feedback to candidates. I hope my insights can help you better interpret their comments, see the other side of recruitment and make you feel a little more confident when playing the game.
What recruiters say: “We decided to go with an internal candidate”
What recruiters really mean: It really can come down to who you know. You should be networking within your industry before you need a job. Someone you know can open a door for you for an interview. You still need to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities, but sometimes there are so many people in line for a position, you need a hand up.
What recruiters say: “We are looking for someone with “x” experience or “y” education”
What recruiters mean: As much as we’d like to give you (and everyone) a chance, we aren’t working for you. We are working for the hiring manager to fill a role with a specific set of qualifications that need to be met. And we aren’t writing job descriptions; we try to write job postings (and we aren’t all that good at it).
Many times the application system is set up to just post the actual job description. We aren’t huge fans of this. But it can be cumbersome to change the posting and chances are the day-to-day recruiters weren’t involved in the selection or implementation of the system anyway. The main point here: we aren’t setting the qualifications.
Which means, if you don’t meet the qualifications of the position, we won’t send you on. Sorry. (See above) And yes, we likely don’t quite agree that a Master’s degree or a minimum of 10 years of experience should be required. There may be lots of folks we want to consider for a role but just can’t — and trust me, this frustrates me as well, as both a recruiter AND a candidate. I’ve been rejected for many positions because I haven’t had the right title or right years of experience. I’m confident I could have done the job and done it well, but as there are many others with similar experience, I can’t fault the recruiter for rejecting my resume.
Experienced Recruiter Amy Miller explains “we take direction (and work for) the companies that pay us … the hiring manager is the ultimate decision-maker on who gets hired (or invited to the interview in the first place!); we can only work with the information we’re given, which is why a targeted resume which fully demonstrates fit for the role you want is so important.”
And sometimes, even if you meet the qualifications of the role, you might not get an interview. You aren’t owed an interview just because you meet the qualifications. If you are in a role that isn’t in high demand, there may be 30 others who have similar qualifications. We can’t interview everyone.
What recruiters say: So, we don’t actually say anything here, you just get the generic rejection email, but it doesn’t feel like we even reviewed your application. So you complain that the “system” kicked your application out or look for someone to help you rewrite your resume so it won’t get kicked out.
What recruiters mean: We were likely reviewing applications when yours came in or in the process of finishing up the hire. Artificial Intelligence likely did not reject your resume. I did. Most recruiters I know do not work with an applicant tracking system (ATS) that automatically rejects anyone’s resume. Most applications are reviewed by a person. And getting rejected quickly doesn’t mean it was AI either – just means I happened to be reviewing applications when yours came in.
What recruiters say: “We’re still reviewing candidates and should be back in touch soon”
What recruiters mean: The hiring manager STILL hasn’t made a final decision. Most hiring managers really do believe there is a “perfect” candidate out there. Rarely is this the case. We want the right fit, but often we have to talk the hiring manager out of keeping the posting open “just a bit longer” for that “perfect” candidate that they think is out there. We know that there are likely many people that can do the position and we want to find one of them.
It is also likely the hiring manager hasn’t been well trained in the selection process. So, sometimes, the hiring manager will pass the buck onto the recruiter for a bad experience. As experienced recruiter Laura Mazzullo shared “it is the hiring manager who needs education! It’s the hiring manager who may need more training on overcoming bias, being more open-minded with qualifications, learning candidate experience —it’s a bit of a “don’t shoot the messenger” situation more often than not!”
Recruiting can feel like a game. It can take time to figure out what you need to do to move forward, and then the rules change. But just like in a game, once you understand the rules, you may enjoy the challenge and even have a little fun. May the apps be ever in your favour!
Are you part of the 99% who don’t? And what’s stopping you from taking advantage of this free, simple way to reach people?
Maybe you’re worried about what to post, which Moore says is a common concern.
That’s why you should write something that is authentic to you. “This can be your opinion on an issue, an article that speaks to you, or even proposing a simple question to your connections,” Moore advises.
“Writing from a place of sincerity can really reduce the social angst in deciding ‘what’ to post or ‘when’ to post. When we do something often, we feel less nervous about it as we have acclimatised.”
Moore suggests making it part of your routing by blocking out 15 minutes in your calendar each week to post something. Also use that time to ‘like’ and comment on other people’s posts that you find interesting.
Recruiters like to see candidates who use LinkedIn regularly, says Martin Smith, Managing Director at Talent Drive – a UK procurement recruitment specialist.
“We look for people that are…clearly active on their LinkedIn whether that’s someone that has written blogs, engaged in webinars or just generally engaged with their audience,” Smith says.
“This allows them to stand out from their peers and if you can put some personality and authenticity behind that engagement that’s the key differentiator.”
2) Make it personal, but not too personal
A mistake Smith sees is people who blur their personal and professional lives on LinkedIn.
“Your LinkedIn is a professional network and there is nothing wrong with every now and then posting a day’s leave or a picture of your kids to show your human side,” Smith says.
“[B]ut LinkedIn is a professional social media platform and should be used for work-related content, not what you had for breakfast or what your favourite 80s band was. Keep that for Facebook, TikTok and Instagram!”
You should also aim to strike a human yet professional tone in the way you interact with other people on the platform, says Andrew MacAskill, Founder of Executive Career Jump.
“Pay into the ecosystem by providing comments, taking on mentees, appearing on podcasts and sharing valuable insights,” says MacAskill.
“The best way to get what you want is to help other people get what they want!”
3) Keep it clear and simple
When it comes to your own profile, MacAskill advises describing yourself with keywords that match the kind of role you want.
These keywords are unique to your skill set and make you more searchable on LinkedIn.
“Above everything else, candidates need to ensure they have the right keywords in their headline, ‘about’ box, and job detail to be found,” says MacAskill.
Recruiter Martin Smith adds another way to catch a recruiter’s attention: have a clear overview on your profile of what you do and where you are working at the moment.
“We see too often now people have very over-complicated LinkedIn profiles with grand titles such as ‘Procurement Leader/ Top 100 Procurement Influencer/FTSE 100 leader/ Thought Leader and engagement consultant,’” says Smith.
“This can make it confusing and can dilute the message on who they actually are and what they do.”
So drop the multi-hyphenated-super-title in favour of clarity.
4) Reach out to recruiters
Ideally, the recruiters come to you with suitable roles. And they likely will, once you spruce up your profile and get active on LinkedIn.
But if they aren’t chasing you yet, is it ok to approach them directly? Especially if they often post roles that seem ideal?
Of course, says Smith. But brevity is key.
“Recruiters don’t want you sending them a 10-page document via LinkedIn on why you feel you are appropriate for the job,” Smith points out.
“The market is tough right now and is very candidate-rich and job-light which can be a challenge.
“But if you really want to stand out, send a personal yet succinct message to the recruiter on who you are, what you do and why you want the job with a follow up number and that will get the best engagement.”
Smith says recruiters are very busy at the moment trying to manage candidate expectations in a challenging market, so be considerate. You can still be persistent, but always be courteous.
“A recruiter will see every approach they have and if you look right for a role they will follow up,” Smith advises.
And it doesn’t hurt to make connections with recruiters long before you need a job.
“Build your network, reach out to businesses that interest, build relationships with recruiters to help you with your search but ensure it’s a targeted and measured approach without too much distracting noise around the message you want to give,” Smith says.
Emphasis on the word ‘relationship.’
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential hiring managers and build a relationship with a soft approach,” says Imelda Walsh, Manager at The Source – the Melbourne-based procurement recruitment firm.
“Don’t start the conversation asking about job opportunities of course. Don’t just connect with someone without following through with an introduction message to kickstart a relationship that can add value to both parties.”
5) Ask for recommendations
You can also improve your chances by identifying the right people in your network to ask for LinkedIn recommendations, Walsh says.
“Be strategic about who to ask for recommendations – professionals that are well connected and respected in your industry and that know the value you bring to a role/organisation,” Walsh advises.
And it’s ok to guide the people who are writing you a recommendation.
Obviously don’t force words on them, but you can give some pointers to help them write something truly unique to you.
What did you enjoy about working with me the most (include an example)
What word would you use to describe me and why (include an example)
One problem that you had, which I helped you overcome and how (include example, their feelings, and your action points)
These can help your recommendations stand out from the generic but ever-popular: “Joe is a team player.”
Attract job opportunities to you
This might sound like a lot of work, especially if you’ve not spent much time on LinkedIn before.
But in strange times like these, you’ll want every advantage you can get your hands on, adds Imelda Walsh.
“If you don’t have an online presence, it’s not a matter of ‘you might be missing out on roles,’ it’s a case of you will be missing out on opportunities,” Walsh warns.
So it’s worth investing the time to make your LinkedIn presence shine.
And think of the possible rewards. “HR, hiring managers and recruiters will bring opportunities to you instead of you having to apply for roles through various company pages and job boards,” says Walsh.
So if you’re tired of throwing your CV into the job board black hole, you might want to try the LinkedIn route to your next role.
Ever felt like you’ll be found out for being a fraud in your new gig? Welcome to imposter syndrome! Learn to silence the inner critic with our 5 tips for how to smash your new role.
Nothing is worse than a first day in a new job with those horrible, awkward newbie nerves.
You’ve got the new job, the new promotion or the dream gig. You arrive on your first day with a certain amount of dread. How the heck did you pull this off? And now the realisation sets in that you have to walk the talk but you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing! Worse than that, you don’t know if you actually have the skills to do the job, what were they thinking? Send help!
Sounding the alarm
It feels like there’s an alert bell hanging over your desk, ready to go off at any second and announce to everyone that you have actually faked it – you are not qualified for the job and should now abandon your post and leave the building. Welcome to imposter syndrome: it’s a psychological term coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It refers to the internal process that an individual experiences of doubting their own abilities and believing they don’t have the skills to do the job.
“…They think they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which [should] provide ample objective evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to diminish the impostor belief.”
The good news is that these thoughts are likely to be only occurring in your head. The company would have reviewed your CV, spoken to your references and seen the positives and growth potential in you during the job interview. The way to move through imposter syndrome is to call it out for what it is (an internal reaction) and remind yourself that your identity and work self is not defined by your thoughts. In other words, your thoughts do not define you. Simply acknowledge them for what they are – negative thoughts – and send them on their way.
Any new role or growth in our careers requires a stretch. This initial stretch can feel uncomfortable, particularly if imposter syndrome is hanging around like that bad smell in your office fridge. You can shorten the time spent in this awkward zone by being proactive and deliberate with your learning. Take the reins back and take charge.
Here’s our 5 tips to ensure you smash your new gig
Replicate – find someone that you admire and assess what you think makes them successful. This can be someone in the organisation, outside of work even a celebrity. Having a work role model can be really helpful in figuring out what parts of yourself you’d like to turn up.
Gap assessment – figure out the differences between where your role model and you are in your careers. What do you perceive as their strengths? What areas can you target for your own development? Working on these areas can help to build confidence.
Your strengths – it’s great to have a development plan, but make sure you remember what your unique skills are. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, make sure you find situations to display your top skills.
Seek inspiration – creativity breeds growth and positivity. Surround yourself in positive situations and do things that inspire you, even if this only happens outside of work. Research topics that interest you, watch an inspiring film, meet with different people. Follow trends in other sectors and bring those principles or tools to your team or role.
Absorb – as humans we are naturally self absorbed, especially during heightened times of stress or pressure. Ensure you take the time to look at what is happening around you. What conversations are happening? What projects are people talking about? Can you tag along to meetings?
We all experience imposter syndrome from time to time and we are all prone to experiencing anxiety when starting new roles. Be prepared by knowing that these things are likely to crop up and address them as they arise.
The core of the CIPS offering for procurement and supply chain professionals is in the professional accreditation that the organisation offers and supports.
Who can become a CIPS member?
The designation of MCIPS represents the gold standard for procurement professionals and is an internationally recognised award that brings the individual holder a number of benefits.
The qualifications are open to anyone working in the procurement and supply chain profession, taking them from Studying Members all the way to MCIPS, and potentially even a fellowship (FCIPS) for the senior advocates of the profession.
Will having CIPS accreditation advance my career?
In recent years, CIPS has brought its qualifications in line with other professional bodies and offers its members a chance to become chartered through its programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Joining CIPS and taking a full part in its activities as a member is no small investment, and the qualifications should not be undertaken lightly.
But, as a fully paid up member of the procurement profession, why wouldn’t you want to invest in your career and your future in this way?
As with other qualifications, achieving MCIPS does provide benefits to individuals.
It’s not only going to help you get through the door either. Professionals with MCIPS earn, on average, 17 per cent more than peers without the qualifications.
And at a time where the expertise of procurement and supply chain professionals is becoming more widely sought, having these qualifications could be the key to unlocking the full potential of your future career.
The test is free for all members and can be purchased by non-members too. This works alongside the CIPS Code of Ethics, which organisations can sign up to as a public commitment to proper work practices in the field of procurement.
Over the past few years there have been several high-profile global events linked to poor ethical procurement practices.
At a time where global supply chains, and by association procurement, are in the spotlight, having a widely agreed and signed Code of Ethics, backed up by an annual ethics exam for individuals is crucial.
Supporting the ethical agenda is something all procurement and supply chain professionals should be doing.
Accreditation and Chartership provide the foundation for developing a profession that operates within these bounds and is something that should be an expectation for all professionals in the coming years.
Play your part and take the first steps on your chartership journey by joining CIPS today.