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Monday, 20 November 2017

Is there barbed wire between you and your stakeholders?

Is it procurement that's behind the high walls surrounded by barbed wire in this picture, or your stakeholders defending themselves?

Procurement doesn't take place in a vacuum. Instead procurement is undertaken in a complex environment with multiple parties, often with conflicting objectives, and various beliefs about who is responsible for what.

Effective stakeholder engagement, cooperation and communication is therefore essential for any procurement activity to be successful.

It's a topic I return to often here (see links at the bottom of this post to other posts I've written on the subject), and certainly something we explore in coaching and training sessions.

Human relationships are not always easy. Especially when we often start with the premise that we're right, and it's the other person who needs to be persuaded of the error in their thinking.

The challenge is then about us putting our beliefs down long enough to understand the impact our behaviours are having on the situation, and then as a result of that insight making changes to our own communication.

Earlier in the year, during a creativity session on a category management workshop, I asked one team to draw the problem they were having with a stakeholder. (Another group were asked to explore the situation using pipe cleaners, another used problem reversal.)

The above picture was the outcome of that request.

The group described their stakeholder sitting behind high walls, which were also surrounded by barbed wire. 

I then asked them to draw what the end result they wanted looked liked, and they drew this:
As they drew the two images they were discussing the reasons behind the situation, and options to positively change the relationship.

This post "it's like talking to a brick wall" takes the use of metaphor a little further than we went during the workshop.

One thread of discussion included the group wondering who had built the walls, and a solution emerged once they took responsibility for the current situation. It would seem they'd felt isolated from their stakeholder, and unable to talk the same language to get them to listen. I may have even asked if it was really the stakeholders behind the high walls or procurement. 

As they explored dismantling the walls other solutions appeared, and a confidence emerged that the current situation wasn't set in stone. They discovered they did have much they could do to alter the situation.

If you've tried to resolve a situation using more conventional means you may want to try more unconventional tools, after all where has convention ever got us?

Always happy to help you and your team unlock your potential using conventional and unconventional tools and ways of thinking

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking procurement potential

Other popular posts written on stakeholder engagement include:

Thursday, 16 November 2017

I've written a blog on that part 2

I've just had one of those great months full of what I'm passionate about.

Just in case you're not sure what I do, therefore, I thought I'd summarise why I'm so enthused, and then share a few posts that I've mentioned to people recently in a "I've written a blog on that" sort of way.  

Over recent months I've been busy with:
  • Category management / procurement workshops - including stakeholder engagement, value levers, and creativity. Keeping the energy up, minds open and constantly looking for new ways to bring the 'theory and process' alive.
  • 1:1 Coaching - OMG - I love the diversity of challenges we explore, and real difference it can make. Always searching for those powerful questions that unlock people's potential - in procurement, business and personally.
  • Vlogging - thanks Tina for reminding me how much I enjoy exploring ideas this way  - even if I'm rarely in front of the camera :-). (see my YouTube channel for more)
  • Writing - more very soon on this - with great things planned for 2018. 
And if that's not enough I'm still managing to open water swim here in Scotland which all adds to the high. (This picture was taken at 0745 one November morning just before sunrise with frost on the ground and an air temperature of 3 degrees. We think the sea will have been about 8 or 9!)
After a busy few months of workshops I've a number of new followers for this blog, and as I've also mentioned a few posts during those workshops I thought I'd provide an index of them here.

But first, a few indexes of posts any new followers might also find helpful:
Posts written since the last index, and mentioned either in conversation or whilst facilitating include:
And for anyone interested in reading more about the subject of the book I'm writing then do see my Landscaping Your Life blog.

I have also written a number of more procurementy posts for Future Purchasing (even if with an Alisony twist), including:
I hope something here will have had you exploring a post or two, and a nugget of insight obtained as a result.

Topics for future posts always welcome (please be kind :-)). 

Discussions about opportunities to make a difference with your team most welcome too +44 (0)7770 538159

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking personal and procurement potential - with a smidgen of unconventional tools thrown in for good measure