It’s the digital event of the year that everyone’s been talking about and recommending – so how do you make the most of it? Here’s 7 ways you can maximise every avenue of opportunity the Big Ideas Summit has in store.
You all know what we’re talking about when we describe this. You registered for the biggest procurement event of the year; the one that every industry expert out there says you simply can’t miss. You’re determined to get the most out of it.
But it’s virtual. Your day is still packed with meetings. You plan to login from home (with all the distractions that come with it.) And your to-do list is a hundred items long.
For anyone out there who has ever felt a little intimidated by events, this year’s online Big Ideas Summit will provide you with unparalleled (and many would say, easier!) opportunities to learn, grow and network. But it will also be different.
Over 1,100 of your peers have signed up alongside you. We have an action-packed agenda including sessions on how to think the unthinkable, understand the new risk landscape, protect your career and much more.
To get the most out of the event, you need to prepare. But don’t worry, the prep is quick and easy.
Here’s how to get the most out of Big Ideas 2020:
1. Register for the Event
Once you’ve registered (if you haven’t, do so here), you’ll receive an email inviting you to the Event Hub. To accept this invitation, you’ll need to click on the link and enter your first and last name, and email address you registered with. You’ll then receive an event code, which you can use to enter the event (note that this code is only valid for 24 hours).
2. Block off your calendar
Let your team, boss, family and internal stakeholders know what you’re up to. The best way to benefit from the conference is to give it your time and attention.
3. Explore the Event Hub
You’ll find all of our great sessions in the Event Hub. Each session has its own unique link, and when you click it, it will open a new viewing screen on your browser (or phone/tablet etc.). Take time to review the sessions in advance to ensure you don’t miss the one you most want to attend.
4. Partner networking
Within the Event Hub, there are also Partner Virtual booths. These information-rich booths enable you to network and get to know our partners (online!) Simply click the booths to enter.
5. Live networking sessions
There are 2 live 20-minute facilitated networking sessions, to cover all of your networking needs.
6. Share ideas and ask questions
Have you ever had a burning question during a presentation, only to have forgotten it by the time the session ended? Cue another benefit of a digital event! This year, you’ll be able to comment on each session while it’s happening, so you never forget a question or forgo an opportunity to have your say.
7. Bring it home
Okay, this is more of a post-event action. Take notes, share ideas and make a concrete plan to bring your learnings back home.
And as always, we’ll be with you every step of the way. If at any point you need any help, reach out to [email protected]
This year, we need more Big Ideas more than ever. We can’t wait to see all of your virtual smiling faces and help you dream big.
At the end of a year when all our plans fell through, the Big Ideas Summit sets the tone, agenda and cements the possibilities for 2021. Here’s how.
Back in 2010, when you were making your ten year plan, what did you say your end game was? Multiple promotions? An overseas secondment? Perhaps a holiday home? Whatever you put on your plan, we’re pretty sure it didn’t include a pandemic, and we’re almost 100% sure that if asked if the last decade prepared you for this, you’d say a loud and clear no.
But that’s exactly why our Big Ideas Summit is more important than ever. Back in February, we knew that COVID-19 would represent a watershed moment for procurement professionals everywhere when 94% of the world’s supply chains were interrupted. And what we predicted (if you could even call it that!) has come true: procurement and supply chain management has irrevocably changed, and so has our world. This year’s Big Ideas Summit is dedicated to that very transformation, so here’s four reasons you simply can’t miss it:
We’ll learn to think the unthinkable
The global pandemic has been described as ‘unthinkable’ by many, but the truth is that world leaders had, in fact, planned for a pandemic, even if their response in reality was a little different. So this begs the question, was COVID really as unthinkable as we all initially thought?
While the jury is out on the answer to that, it’s clear that we’re living in increasingly uncertain and volatile times which require a vastly different set of skills than before. One person that knows this better than anyone is Nik Gowing, TV presenter and journalist. He recently completed an in-depth study into global leadership, and he has some truly fascinating insights into what attributes are now required to lead businesses into the future.
We’ll decipher today’s risk landscape
This year, new risks have emerged so fast that many of us have barely been able to update our management plan before we’ve had to throw it out the window and start again. In 2020 (and likely, in the years to come), risk management is going to look vastly different to what it does today.
At this year’s Big Ideas, we’ll hear from prominent CEO Dawn Tiura on how we should approach risk, especially from a third-party relationship perspective.
We’ll ask the important questions about business continuity
When it comes to global business, we always thought where there was a will, there was a way. And thankfully, in the face of harsh lockdowns and enormous supply chain disruptions, many of the world’s industries have found a way to continue in some form, even if everything is done virtually.
For businesses like this, how does business continuity work? And does it even apply? One thing that the inspirational Kelly Barner, MD of Buyer’s Meeting Point, knows is that you need to be prepared for surprises. We’ll delve into exactly how we can all do that from a business continuity perspective plus much more.
We’ll discuss how we can all protect our careers
While many of our colleagues may have been furloughed or laid off altogether, procurement and supply chain professionals have fared increasingly well career-wise throughout the pandemic. But while we may still have our jobs, how are our careers going in this increasingly uncertain landscape? It’s fair to say that while there may have been many opportunities, there may also have been various reasons why we couldn’t or didn’t take them.
But in good news, 2020 isn’t finished yet. There is ample time to analyse the year that has been, and decide how to best protect – and grow – your career. We’ll discuss this at length in a panel at Big Ideas with four of the globe’s best procurement and supply chain recruiters. The catch phrase of the year is staying apart keeps us together. Now, it’s time to get together for real (virtually!), learn from those who have managed best, and plan for whatever 2021 may hold. Join us at The Big Ideas Summit here.
Here at Procurious, we saved the best for last. Register today to reflect, re-energise and refresh for another year of innovation at the most inspiring supply chain and procurement conference of the year.
We’ve (finally) entered the homestretch. However, before we can bid farewell to 2020 – the year that quite literally turned our world upside down – we still have quite a bit of planning and ideation left to do. That’s why now, more than ever, you deserve a distraction.
But do not head for the couch and sign into Netflix just yet. Instead, step back from the day-to-day chaos and join us virtually for the 2020 Big Ideas Summit (BIS). Reflect on the year that was and the opportunities ahead; represent your organisation and all its accomplishments despite the pandemic; regroup and re-energise among like-minded professionals.
Procurious itself is proof that great things can happen when we come together. As a community of 42,000-plus supply chain and procurement professionals, we adapted to survive and thrive under the conditions of the “new normal”.
BIS 2020 takes us a step further. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve gone above and beyond what was asked of us. Now, together, we’ll welcome 2021 stronger than ever – both individually and as a community.
Take, for example, our response to the challenges McKinsey & Company presented us with earlier this year:
We redefined the procurement mandate and fostered a culture of innovation to evolve beyond the traditional, transactional stereotype.
We made investments in digital and analytics, integrating automation and digitisation to optimize performance and leverage untapped data that enhanced productivity across the board.
We future-proofed our organisations by making proactive investments that develop existing talent and enable a more agile workforce.
Somehow, we were able to find the silver lining, increase our influence and succeed against all odds, positioning our function for a watershed 2021. So, together, let’s make next year full of innovation and shared success. That journey starts at BIS 2020.
Big Ideas: Make a Difference and Get Ahead
All it takes is one idea. A single idea can change the trajectory of your company and your career. A single idea can make a difference. A single idea can solve problems for people and businesses across the world.
But good ideas don’t always come easy.
You need time to think, create, learn and share. We’ll provide this in a BIG way at BIS 2020 – and give you everything you need to ignite your passion, fuel your creativity and THINK BIG.
BIS 2020 will have dedicated sessions on everything that’s top of mind for you right now: leadership, supply chain threats, supplier management, digital transformation, supply chain continuity and more.
Together, our community will present and share hundreds of ideas and best practices to help you make a difference, advance your career and get ahead in 2021. But remember, you only need one.
Think the Unthinkable and Prepare for Anything
Those that have joined us at Big Ideas in the past have learned the importance of thinking the unthinkable. Never has this lesson been more true than in 2020.
We’re in the midst of a transformational journey that is changing business and life as we know it.
The good news: our digital-first network is designed to change the face of the profession from the inside out, starting with each individual member of the community. The BIS and our Procurious community will help you think differently: we provide big ideas, first-hand experiences and lessons learned – from the best and brightest from across the world – to help you navigate through this unchartered territory and stand out from the rest of the pack.
Trust me, events don’t have to be in-person to be inspiring. Come ready to share what you are proud of and encourage others to do the same. The more you put in, the more you get out. It’s time to lead, thrive and take back control of your professional development. Rest assured; you’ll leave with everything you need to do just that.
Big things, small things – there are probably countless things stopping you doing what you need to in procurement. What blockers are in your path?
We’ve all had that day or that week. You get to the office with a task list in your head or in hand, sure that you are going to make a huge dent in it before you even get to your morning coffee. But then you sit down and within 10 minutes your plan is blown out of the water and you spend the rest of the day playing catch up, with the bottom of your to-do list getting further and further away.
This is the reality for many procurement departments too, just on a larger scale. While an individual’s blocker might be a rogue email or the wrong phone call at the wrong time, a department’s could be any one of a number of things, from lack of resources to questionable IT systems. The thing about the blockers is that most people will already be aware of them, either as conversation around the watercooler, or something that people think is the responsibility of senior management to sort.
However, responsibility doesn’t just rest with an individual or small group, it is on each and every person to recognise these blockers and help to minimise their impact. This list is far from definitive and will change from organisation to organisation, but they are common across the profession as a whole.
1. Being Distracted by the ‘Next Big Thing’
“Procurement deserves a seat at the top table.”
“Procurement needs to be seen as a strategic business partner.”
“The next big thing for procurement is…”
If you attend procurement events or read industry literature, much of the content will concern the ‘next big thing’. Category Management, Supplier Relationship Management, Business Process Re-engineering, Strategic Stakeholder Engagement – all of these things have been touted as procurement’s ‘next big thing’ at some point in the past decade.
But, hand on heart, how many of us could say that they have been fully achieved before the next big thing came along and stole people’s attention?
Too many of these terms have become useful jargon for consultants and advisors to use, rather than the core principles for procurement departments to be working with. The relentless pursuit of the next idea to make procurement a strategic partner has blinded the profession to a major blocker to progression – getting the basics right.
Instead of chasing the metaphorical white rabbit, procurement instead should focus on ensuring that it is delivering on its principal duties – ensuring good relationships with suppliers (and paying them on time!), delivering on time and in full and delivering value, not just savings, to the business.
This can be achieved in a number of ways including cutting down unnecessary tenders, ditching non-strategic strategic activities, creating more open supplier markets and two-way communication in relationships. Whatever the best way to do this, organisations need to find their own path to it which will ultimately allow them to get back to basics.
2. Not Being ‘Besties’ with your Stakeholders
For procurement to realise its goal of a more strategic role in the organisation, it needs to create good relationships with its key stakeholders. We’re not talking about being ‘besties’ with stakeholders, but gaining support and buy-in for ideas and projects.
There is plenty good literature written about stakeholder engagement, and many organisations talk a good game about the importance of procurement and supply chain. However, just as many organisations fail to live up to these words and aims when it comes to having it as part of their key tasks.
Getting stakeholder buy-in is a critical first step in the success of any project or for any part of an organisation. This can range from ensuring that maverick spending practices are limited, or that procurement has the necessary level of support in terms of resources, time and money to build robust and fully risk-managed supply chains.
There is something of a chicken and egg situation with gaining key stakeholder buy-in. Procurement needs to meet internal expectations to prove its value, but may need a level of support to achieve this.
There are good ways to engage internal stakeholders and for procurement to get an organisational BFF! Strong two-way communication, ensuring what is required from stakeholders is clear and developing plans in conjunction with stakeholders are all good things to bear in mind.
3. Being Buried in Paperwork
At the Big Ideas Summit 2020 in London, Justin Sadler-Smith, General Manager at Basware, argued that technology solution providers have failed procurement in not providing good technology solutions. This, combined with a lack of utilisation of existing technology, has led to many procurement processes continuing to be done manually – effectively burying procurement in a deluge of paperwork, wasting valuable time and resources.
This just isn’t an issue for procurement, but across the wider organisation. The lack of technology also has a knock-on impact on the quality of data being used by procurement. Poor data means procurement can’t fully define things like the length of its tail spend, or even understand fully what its annual spend with individual suppliers is.
This can then lead to poor contract management (and over spend) and poor supplier management, including late payments. Late payments lead to delays, which can then lead to organisational issues. Late payments can undermine supplier relationships, put the suppliers themselves at risk and ultimately cost an organisation more than the original payment was worth in the long-run.
It goes against one of the foundations of the profession and means that procurement fails to meet its own basic requirements of operation.
Unblocking the Blockers
Procurement, as the entry point for suppliers and the supply chain into the organisation, will frequently be where the buck stops. However, the blockers for procurement have the potential to derail everything from individual activities to organisational strategy making it a collective responsibility to solve.
For procurement, the blockers ultimately boil down to getting the basics right, meeting the needs of the organisation, putting systems in place for better management and delivering on its core principles. Something as simple as ensuring that appropriate systems are in place to facilitate on-time supplier payment can mitigate a number of risks, many of which can have a domino effect across the organisation.
Could unblocking the blockers be as simple as treating suppliers better? Perhaps not, but it seems like a very good place to start.
Join Procurious to connect with 40,000 other ambitious procurement professionals and get free access to networking, industry news, training and much more.
What do these thought leaders think about covid-19 when we asked them recently at Big Ideas Summit London 2020?
As of yesterday, the number of coronavirus cases topped 500,000 worldwide – doubling in just over a week.
While we can all do our part to stop the virus spreading, there is an added pressure on procurement & supply chain professionals with the business world on our shoulders.
So, we seized the opportunity recently at our Big Ideas Summit London to ask some of our favourite thought leaders what we can do when it comes to coronavirus.
This is what Group Procurement Director at Just Eat, John Butcher had to say when we asked him ‘What’s been your #1 risk with the coronavirus and how are you mitigating it?’…
Procurement Digital Transformation Lead at Diageo, Amit Sheth had a slightly different response when asked the same question…
Strategic Supply Chain Risk Expert and Professor of Supply Chain Management, Omera Khan had this brilliant bit of advice when we asked her ‘How can companies manage supply chain risk in times of crisis?’…
We’re living in extremely uncertain business and economic times at the moment with many sources indicating that a deep global recession is coming. So, what should procurement be most worried about? This is what Rachel Stretch, Consultant at John Lewis & Partners suggests…
Pressure is something that procurement & supply chain professionals everywhere would be feeling right now. So, last, but certainly not least, we asked legendary Rugby coach, Sir Clive Woodward ‘How do you work under pressure?’
Want to stay ahead of the curve with all things coronavirus and supply chain? Join our exclusive Supply Chain Crisis: Covid-19 group. We’ve gathered together the world’s foremost experts on all things supply chain, risk, business and people, and we’ll be presenting their insights and daily industry-relevant news via the group. You’ll also have the support of thousands of your procurement peers, world-wide.
Companies today are facing a rising tide of regulations and an
increased awareness among consumers around the sustainability of the goods they
buy. With an average of 65% of a company’s added value being generated by its
suppliers, consumers and regulators today hold companies responsible not only
for their own practices, but also for those of their suppliers. To meet the
demands of regulators and consumers, procurement chiefs must be prepared for a
drastic increase in transparency regarding the sustainability of their
suppliers – a tricky task that can only be mastered with the help of modern
An increasing number of regulations require companies to monitor
and even report on the sustainability practices of their suppliers. Adding to
existing standards such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Ten
Principles of the UN Global Compact, many new laws have been passed in recent
years. This includes the EU CSR Reporting Duty that came into effect in 2017,
the French Duty of Care Act (2017), the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015), the UK
Bribery Act (2010) and various regulations around things such as the sourcing
of conflict minerals.
Increasing consumer awareness
Consumers today are well-informed and increasingly aware of
sustainability aspects. This reflects strongly in their buying behavior,
creating a demand for products that come from ethically-sound value chains.
With the increased transparency enabled by social media, companies often come
under scrutiny if they turn a blind eye to unethical practices in their supply
For instance, when a spate of suicides among workers at Foxconn
plants occurred, there was pressure on Apple, one of its customers, to take
action over the working conditions at those plants. The textile industry was
similarly affected when more than 1,000 workers died in the 2013 Rana Plaza
accident in Bangladesh. For companies to stay competitive and meet consumer
demands, procurement needs full visibility so it can identify and react swiftly
to such issues.
Sustainable investing on the rise
Investors are increasingly integrating sustainability aspects into
their investment strategy. Over $30 trillion of assets are now being invested
according to the premise that environmental, social, and governance (ESG)
factors can materially affect a company’s performance and market value. And
after Larry Finks 2020 letter to CEOs we can
all be certain that this trend is here to stay.
With trust, revenue and funds at stake, sustainability will become
the key for businesses to maintaining their license to operate. For companies to
succeed at this, they must leverage the unique position of procurement to
foster their sustainability agenda. Ensuring sustainability in the supply chain
is not only a mandatory legal requirement, but an opportunity to transform
procurement into a value-adding function.
Making a smart bet on tech
However, monitoring the sustainability of thousands of suppliers
is a complex and difficult task. Traditional methods, such as supplier audits,
are resource-heavy. Many companies therefore focus on just a few strategically
important suppliers. Medium-sized and smaller companies often shy away from the
effort completely, which leaves them dangerously exposed to undetected risks
lurking in the supply chain. Advanced technology can pick up the slack here and
help CPOs gain greater insight into their supply chains. A standardised,
scalable approach is necessary: one that can be applied to 100% of a company’s
suppliers, not just the strategic ones. With this technology in place,
procurement functions can then determine where risk lies and use their
resources effectively to investigate further and take action.
Big new ideas don’t always meet with universal approval – but sometimes the most controversial ideas are the most useful.
Last week Procurious had the pleasure of spending the day dreaming big with some of the brightest minds and expert thinkers from inside and outside our profession.
Yes, it was the time of year for Big Ideas London – and what a day it was!
Our speakers delivered keynotes across a huge range of topics, from social media and procurement technology to smart pills and why winning at IT tended to make you the winner in the long run. Each session brought its own insights into the current and future state of the procurement profession – providing, as ever, tangible ideas for our audience of senior procurement professionals to take back to their organisations.
Bu there wasn’t always agreement. Discussion abounded, both inside the room and outside on social media, as to what procurement needs to do to evolve and what the next 10 years will look like.
Some ideas proved far more controversial than others. But every single one was useful for the audience.
We’ve picked out 5 of the most controversial, but still useful, ideas from the day.
And you know we’ve had some great discussions when the use of smart pills to ‘hack’ your brain isn’t one of the most controversial concepts from the day!
1. If you’re going to be boring on social media, you might as well not bother!
Social media is disrupting everything it touches. And social selling lies at the very heart of the business model. This doesn’t mean everyone is selling a product, but social media platforms can be vital tools for procurement when it comes to finding what they are looking for.
According to Tim Hughes, CEO and Co-Founder at DLA Ignite, 92 per cent of B2B buyers start their search online. And by using social media 78 per cent of salespeople are outselling their peers.
But the idea on which Tim focused was how people are perceived on social media when they appear in searches.
Social selling products is one thing. But social selling can also mean promoting yourself on social media as a professional, an expert thinker, an influencer – or even the next manager young professionals want to work with.
For too many professionals and experts, the perception of them on social media isn’t good. You’ll find profiles lacking key information and not providing any evidence to back up claims of experience and knowledge. And, for many, profiles that are downright boring!
Tim’s view is that if your profile is boring then it’s not even worth your time getting involved. Tim used the example of two global experts in a niche market – one with a wealth of information across all of his profiles and the other with barely their name on the page.
Who, as a user, are you going to approach for advice? Even if the person with no information is the global expert, you’re going to look elsewhere.
Social media is absolutely the way to go, but you need to commit to it and share all the right information in order to make an impact.
2. Technology solutions providers have failed procurement
Eighty-one per cent of firms who have invested in technology solutions for risk management aren’t satisfied with the results. What are we all doing and why would we accept this, asked Justin Sadler-Smith, General Manager at Basware.
But Justin wasn’t finished there. In what was a bold and controversial statement from the general manager of a major player in the technology solutions market, he argued that technology solutions providers have failed procurement. Failed in their software, failed in their support, failed to provide what was required beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.
But, according to Justin, this failure was a two-way street. Procurement teams had to share a measure of the blame because they had accepted these solutions (with a shrug) as ‘good enough’.
This led to a great opportunity for our first keynote hashtag of the day (#goodenoughisnolongergoodenough) and a healthy discussion on exactly what the profession needed to be doing in the future.
3. It’s time to rethink the Triple Bottom Line
You’ve heard of product recalls – Toyota; Samsung; Pfizer; Mattel – but how about recalling an idea? It might sound strange but that’s exactly what John Elkington, the founder of the concept of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), has done.
The thinking behind the recall was outlined by Professor Omera Khan, a strategic supply chain risk expert and champion for sustainability in business. The concept of the TBL is still sound, according to Omera. But as sustainability becomes even more critical the TBL needs to be stronger to challenge existing concepts and really make supply chains sustainable.
Supply chains need exponential or fundamental, rather than incremental, change – and to stop marching to the drumbeat of old ideas and concepts. Omera talked about creating regenerative supply webs that will help prepare procurement for the future and the ‘green swans’ that are inevitably heading our way.
4. CPO to CVO
If there was one idea that lit the blue touchpaper in the room and on social media, it was this controversial suggestion by Diego De La Garza, Director, and Philippe de Grossouvre, Business Development Director, both at Corcentric.
The duo discussed what the procurement profession was going to look like in 20, 30, 40 and 50 years’ time. Even with this long-term view, Diego and Philippe emphasised the importance of procurement understanding where it came from in order to better understand its future.
It was the idea that procurement will become recognised as a part of finance in the future that really got discussion going. The movement from CPO to CVO (Chief Value Officer) would give a wider-ranging strategic role, but could it also take procurement thinking back 20 years to when this idea was first espoused?
The audience was split on whether this was the correct approach. Does procurement need to go backwards to go forwards? You decide.
5. RIP the RFP?
The final controversial idea was one that had the most experienced professionals in the room recoiling in horror. OK, not really, but it was a theme that was brought up time and again over the rest of that day.
Once again we return to Justin Sadler-Smith’s keynote and the idea that procurement is too wedded to traditional concepts to really evolve.
The biggest cause of this was the continuing use of RFP/RFQ/RFx in sourcing activities. Justin argued that in a world of big data that can be analysed almost instantly by technology and AI, why would businesses continue to use valuable time and resources on an RFP?
Could the same answer not be found from stored supplier data, compared and reviewed as required?
Or could there be a balance? Rather than taking RFP/RFQ/RFx away altogether, organisations should be looking to use them in the appropriate settings.
Think tenders for multiple millions or billions of pounds/dollars. Or follow Chris Fielden at Innocent, for whom going to market can help provide genuinely innovative solutions to problems that raw data analytics just couldn’t provide.
Whether you’re a traditionalist or a futurist, this debate is not going away any time soon.
Dream big – like a champion
So there you have it. We dreamed big and created some great, new, big ideas for you to take away to think about and discuss in your organisation. You may not agree with all of the ideas and you might not agree with our list, either.
But the important thing, as our final speaker Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning head coach, noted: ‘Do not underestimate where new ideas can come from, so always keep yourself open. Practice “Relentless Learning” and you too can develop the DNA of a champion.’
What are Sir Clive Woodward’s 3 essential qualities that go beyond talent and will build a great team?
With the war on talent alive and well, especially in procurement, if you’re hiring you should be more than satisfied with finding the most talented employee, right?
While most of us would be thrilled to secure top talent, Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning head coach and keynote speaker at Procurious’s Big Ideas Summit, thinks that talent is simply a starting point.
In his latest book How to Win: Talent Alone Is Not Enough he explores this theme in detail. He describes how beyond talent, there’s a myriad other qualities that are required for true success.
But if talent is only a starting point, where do you go from there? Ahead of his address at this year’s Procurious Big Ideas Summit, we sat down with Sir Clive and discovered what he considers are the essential qualities of a great team.
1. A sponge, not a rock
‘I always want to hire the most talented people into my teams, but this to me is the starting point and not the finish,’ says Sir Clive.
‘I will never underestimate the importance of teamwork. But I have this saying that “Great Teams are Made of Great Individuals”. If you have great individuals in your teams, the team stuff becomes a lot easier because you have motivated people, giving their all and are dedicated to the overall goal.’
But what makes people great? It’s certainly more than talent, as Sir Clive points out.
One critical quality, he says, is that people on your team need to be open to continually learning and developing. They need to have a perpetual growth mindset, and be ‘sponges’, not ‘rocks’:
‘I see a lot of individuals that start out as sponges when they join an organisation but sometimes the longer they have been with an organisation, they can drift into being a rock.’ In coaching language these people are unteachable, uncoachable.
Sir Clive thinks that from an individual and leadership perspective, once you’ve become a ‘rock’ you cease to be able to reach your potential.
Yet equally, if your team are ‘sponges’ you must be willing to metaphorically give them something to absorb, says Sir Clive.
It’s your role as the leader but also each person’s as a team player to be continually pushing: ‘Many people hire very talented people, as I do. But you have to keep investing in mentoring and leading these people to harness their talent – but this must be a two-way thing.’
2. Working well under pressure
This year so far, we’ve had the Australian bushfires, the coronavirus and Brexit . . . and that’s just the external pressures procurement is facing.
Stress and pressure is all around us, especially in the increasingly complex business environment.
To combat this, a great team needs to work exceptionally well under pressure, Sir Clive asserts, which, again, comes down to the individual’s ability to work under pressure.
‘In the military, there’s a saying that in a crisis, people fall back to their lowest level of training. The message here is: train hard and train well. You’ll need it.’
Many leaders who believe their people have never had to work under pressure have trouble understanding how this is a quality that can be ‘trained’.
Yet it’s absolutely possible, says Sir Clive, who is a fundamental believer in the brain’s ability to do just about anything it wants to: ‘You would be amazed at what’s possible, you really would. Even if you haven’t worked under pressure before, you can retrain your brain; your people’s brain. It’s amazing what you can do.’
Sir Clive is certainly the expert on working under pressure. Back in 2003, the English team were level with Australia in extra time in the Rugby World Cup Final. They ended up being the ultimate example of performing under pressure when star player Jonny Wilkinson moved the game from a draw to a victory by kicking a drop goal in the final minute of extra time.
3. Attitude is everything
Ever had a brilliant employee who tries to undermine you at every opportunity? Or a know-it-all who understands procurement back-to-front, but whom your team hates?
If you’ve experienced the dreaded ‘attitude’ in your team, you’ll relate to Sir Clive’s final advice when it comes to your people and your team: Attitude is everything.
Being a sponge is important and performing under pressure equally so. But attitude can be everything when it comes to performance, says Sir Clive: ‘Everyone in your team needs to have a good attitude. It’s the absolute cornerstone when it comes to performing at your best.’
Other pearls of wisdom
Did you know that Sir Clive thinks that you can tell a lot about a person from their tardiness? And that you need a checklist, not a to-do list, to help bring a vision to life?
What can we learn about leadership from the rugby field? A lot, it seems…
Have you ever headed into a supplier negotiation and joked you’re ‘going out into battle’? Ever finished a successful project, and said ‘you’re kicking goals’?
There are few physical similarities between our procurement desk jobs and the rugby field. But the way we lead our teams should be exactly the same, says Sir Clive Woodward, former coach of the England rugby team and keynote speaker at Procurious’s Big Ideas Summit.
Woodward, who coached the England side to its historic 2003 World Cup victory, believes that sport and business has more in common than we think.
‘There’s no difference between sport and business,’ he asserts. ‘In both, you need to create champion individuals and a successful culture.’
And if anyone would know, it would be Sir Clive.
Not only is he one of the world’s most revered rugby coaches, he’s also had a successful career in business.
Prior to coaching, he worked for nearly two decades at Xerox in various leadership positions, as well as managing his own leasing company. Now, one of the things that he does is run a software company that helps leaders – in business and in sport – build culture-critical skills at scale.
For Sir Clive, creating a winning culture might come easily. But, as anyone who’s recently led a team will know, achieving ‘success’ in this age of mass transformations, technological change and unstable environments can be quite a challenge.
To help, Clive has 5 ‘big ideas’ he uses to help leaders and teams achieve big things.
1. It starts with respect
Winning and maintaining respect, according to Sir Clive, is one of business’s greatest challenges. Yet at the same time it’s a great opportunity.
Sir Clive says that contrary to popular opinion, respect isn’t won simply by attaining a certain job title: ‘You don’t get respect simply because you’re the leader. Just because I’m the head coach or the chief executive doesn’t mean people are going to respect me.’
Instead, Sir Clive says that we all need to focus on the quality of our actions.
This is particularly important for high performers, who are always striving for better: ‘You get respect because of what you do and by the quality of your actions over a sustained period of time.’
2. Talent and egos
On talent in general, Sir Clive thinks that it’s definitely a leader’s job to try and hire the most talented people.
But what managers need to realise, he says, is that sometimes the most talented people aren’t the easiest people to work with:
‘Everyone’s different, you can have mavericks, egos. There’s no simple way of doing it – if you employ the most talented people, sometimes they’re not the easiest people.’
But, he reminds leaders, this is part of the job that while not easy can still be managed:
‘As a manager, it’s my job to work with them [talented people, even if they aren’t easy]. The best way to manage them is on a one-on-one basis, explaining to them the philosophy and that we need them to be totally part of that process and that we’re trying to make them better at what they do.
‘I’ve not met anyone talented who doesn’t want to get better.’
While talented people may (or may not) be easy to work with, they do need to be teachable, says Woodward.
He says that an individual’s willingness to learn is critical when it comes to building winning teams: ‘The ability to accumulate knowledge around their role gives people an awareness of what they need to do to continually improve on what they already have.’
Knowledge, though, is not simply academic learning, Woodward asserts. It’s much more than that: ‘Knowledge is a passion for seeking any kind of self-development. It’s not simply collecting diplomas.’
4. 100 things, 1% better
To create a winning procurement team, you need talented, teachable people. But their talent is only a baseline – says Sir Clive.
And you need to be constantly improving them to improve performance. Contrary to popular belief, this ‘improvement’ need not involve seismic shifts in any particular area.
Woodward says that you’re better off focusing on micro-improvements in a number of different areas: ‘Building on several areas in a small way frequently yields dramatically better outcomes. If you go into every aspect of what you do and break it down and improve those things by 1%, it all adds up.’
This philosophy has worked particularly well for Sir Clive in rugby: ‘In rugby, we understand all the parameters – we break it down into as much detail as possible and try and do every bit of it slightly better than anyone else.’
And, as in rugby, in business you can’t simply improve and then stop.
Constant performance improvement needs to become part of your culture: ‘You have to always be [improving] and just because you’ve improved something one day doesn’t mean you can’t improve it the next. It has to be the ethos of everybody.
‘Everybody in that team has the obligation, if they think we can do something better, they need to hold their hand up and say it.’
5. Innovation can come from anywhere
Procurement teams are increasingly expected to be innovative. But who is responsible for that innovation?
Everyone, according to Sir Clive, even people outside procurement, as they may bring different perspectives: ‘[When you’re looking for new ideas], it’s important to canvas the input of independent third parties in order to pool as much knowledge and ideas as possible.
‘These ideas can come from anywhere, not just leaders. Using other people you like and respect and [who] are bright enough to look in can give you amazing new thoughts and ideas.’
As appealing as this sounds, Woodward does concede that it can be challenging within organisations, although ultimately necessary:
‘[Introducing new ideas] can be potentially troublesome, particularly when there is an already entrenched way of doing things.
‘There’s no easy answer to that, there’s no magic fix. The only easy answer is to sit down, explain to your team, even in one-on-ones and then empower them to get involved.’
Sir Clive Woodward is the keynote speaker at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit in London, due to be held on 11 March 2020. Tickets are sold out, but you can secure a digital delegate ticket here (free for a limited time).
Whether or not your business is prioritising sustainability right now, there’s no doubt that it will be the focus for many of us in 2020 and beyond.
As we all well know, executing on sustainability can be challenging. Is it even possible to have full supply chain transparency? How do we manage the requirement to be sustainable against risk and cost savings? Almost all sustainability initiatives, while well-intentioned, can be fraught with complexity.
While this may be the case for many of us, one person who believes that sustainability isn’t as complex as it seems is Chris Fielden, Group Supply Chain Director for Innocent Drinks. Innocent Drinks is a revolutionary health drinks company that gives an incredible 10% of their profits to charity. Beyond this, Innocent focuses on sustainability throughout every part of their supply chain, from creating a plastic bottle that’s made from 100% renewable material to developing a carbon neutral factory.
Prior to his keynote at Procurious’ Big Ideas Summit, we sat down with
Chris to see how he helps drive such incredible sustainability achievements at
Live your values – and incorporate them into your
Have you ever looked at a corporate values chart
and thought to yourself, ‘those don’t really seem to matter here?’ Many of us
feel the tension between aspirational values and lived values, but one of the
reasons Chris thinks that Innocent is so successful in sustainability is
because they don’t do this.
Chris believes that sustainability can’t simply be
a ‘tick box’ but it needs to be front and centre of a business’s genuine value
set if they want to achieve it. On this, Chris says:
‘Innocent drinks is a values-led business,
absolutely. We believe in [and live by] sustainable capitalism. We hire people
against those values.’
‘Often the right way [to do things] might not be the easy way, but we do things the right way anyway because we truly live our values.’
Even beyond this, Chris says that sustainability
needs to be incorporated throughout an organisation’s entire business
‘Here at Innocent, we’ve incorporated sustainability
into our entire business model through becoming a B-Corp.’
Give your people freedom
Sustainability is often about pushing boundaries
and doing things that haven’t been done before. So, in order to achieve that,
Chris thinks you need to give your people creative freedom – and this is
exactly what’s happened at Innocent.
‘[The carbon-neutral factory idea] came about
primarily because we told our people not to accept no. We told them “don’t accept
it when someone says it can’t be done.” In all aspects, we try not to constrain
Not limiting people also applies to the suppliers
you work with, says Chris. In fact, when you don’t give suppliers limitations,
you can sometimes achieve things you never would have imagined. When planning
Innocent’s carbon-neutral factory, Chris gave his suppliers an unusual
challenge – which yielded an unusual (yet highly beneficial) result:
‘With the carbon-neutral factory, we said to the contractors
we employed – just geek out and tell us what you would do if you had unlimited
funds and no restrictions.’
‘Doing so meant that it actually turned out cheaper
than we budgeted and the solution is ever better!’
Giving their people and suppliers freedom has meant
that Innocent’s new carbon-neutral factory, to open in Rotterdam in 2021, is truly one of
a kind. Costing over $250 million, it will incorporate
initiatives such renewable energy, sustainable water use, and resource-based
waste management. Its Rotterdam location will also mean considerable C02 is
saved, as the drinks are produced close to where ingredients arrive, saving
trucks over 13,000 trips a year.
Not being afraid to fail
Despite Innocent Drinks being a relatively large
company (it recently surpassed £10 million in donations alone), everyone works
hard to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit, says Chris. And a big part of this
is not being afraid to fail.
‘Failure is a big part of what we do. We only have
to be 70% sure of what we’re doing. And failure has led us to where we are –
we’ve doubled in size because we’re not afraid to fail.’
This can sometimes be hard to stomach as a
procurement professional, Chris thinks, as we’re trained to mitigate risks. But
Chris insists that Innocent still do this:
‘We do have risk registers so it’s not as if we’re
Where to from here?
With Innocent being at the forefront of all things
sustainability, it’s hard to imagine what Chris might still want to achieve.
But there’s always more, says Chris, and ultimately, he’d like to see more
businesses taking an active role in helping the environment:
‘I would love to see more businesses doing more –
but we can’t wait for politicians to mandate this. The impetus needs to come
Ultimately, Chris has an important message for all
procurement professionals out there:
‘If you put sustainability at the heart of your
agenda, then know this: you can make a difference very quickly.’
What are you doing to drive the sustainability
agenda at your business? Let us know below.
Want to learn more about exactly how Chris is
driving the sustainability agenda at Innocent, and how you can do the same?
Chris is speaking at the 2020 Procurious Big Ideas Summit on March 11, and you
can hear all of his insights through becoming a Digital Delegate. Grab your free pass