Friday, 19 July 2019

Don't you ever do that to me again



“Don’t you ever do that to me again” said my boss. “Well done, a breath of fresh air, congratulations” said another senior manager. I was in my twenties, & I’d just done a very "Alisony" presentation to 80 senior managers. “Alisony” involves enthusiasm, laughter & the unexpected, all aimed at achieving the goal. In this instance, conveying the outcome of a cross-functional project looking into how visitors were treated when arriving at the factory, & identifying a plan for improving it. What "Alisony" isn’t is: reading the slides, with a monotone voice, hands by my side, in a dark pressed suit. My boss wanted convention & nothing that drew attention to being different. The other senior managers reacted to my refreshing energy &, I would contend, remembered what I said as a result. Since that time, it’s been a constant challenge of which of those two voices I listen to. Having recently connected to a number of procurement leaders on LI, I could hear my old boss warning me to tone myself down, & be more conventional. Then I remember, convention & its lack are equally effective when in the hands of an expert. There are plenty of experts using conventional means, and I can do conventional. Yet I’m certainly more effective when I’m being unconventionally Alison(y).

Monday, 15 July 2019

My ideal client




Just to say, my ideal client is a procurement team I can get to know and spend a few days every month training, mentoring, and coaching individuals or small groups on ‘how’ they do what they do.
This will most likely include developing the team’s stakeholder engagement, communication, influencing, and creative thinking skills.
Other topics covered might also include mindset, confidence, values and beliefs, and other topics that increase individuals’ self awareness, which are the building blocks to having an affective and adaptable approach to ‘how’ things get done.
I’ve been a passionate procurement professional for over 30 years, and for 20 of those years I’ve been a NLP and soft skills coach and trainer, and geek on new and innovative tools for personal development and transformation.
If you’re interested in me supporting your procurement team to fully embrace their potential, do get in touch.
With capacity to only provide this to a small number of organisations it’s not something everyone will be able to get access to.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Forget digitising procurement, I want more humanity



Digitisation is coming to Procurement.

We’re embracing 4.0.

It will deliver huge benefits and transform how we work.

Really?

If we talk to our suppliers or to our internal stakeholders they’re telling us there’s one thing missing.

Our humanity.

It feels like we’re running before we can walk with many of us still struggling to get to 2.0.

Of course there are some trail blazers getting the mix right and delivering real value, but there’s plenty of examples that suggest there are Procurement peeps stuck at 1.99.

Someone on a category management workshop once said “oh, I didn’t know I could do that” when I simply suggested they use a wider range of their behavioural skills with a stakeholder i.e. be human; not a computer running a stereotypical programme from the 80s.

On another workshop we had a heated debate about whether there was room for kindness in procurement. Ok, it was me that got heated when I was told their KPIs wouldn’t let them be kind.

Which is why I don’t apologise for bringing the following qualities others have used to describe me into the soft skills procurement development I do:

Heart-led, intuitive, insightful, real, creative, trustworthy, unconventional, and passionate.

Because these are the qualities I want to see more of in Procurement.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Do you have a leak in your life?

Life can be a little like the plumbing in my flat’s kitchen last weekend - we don’t know where to look to find the source of the problem until we’ve got visible evidence of a leak. By which time, it’s starting to make a mess downstairs!

The leaks in our lives might include those found in our energy, motivation, focus, resilience, communication, patience and so on. With the symptoms being observed in our thoughts, feelings or actions. In life, much like my kitchen, it’s about taking action as soon as the evidence of a leak is observed. No burying our head in the sand hoping it will sort itself out; no denying the evidence, nor looking elsewhere for the source of the leak. It's about taking action before the negative impact gets worse. The first step is observing those small changes in mind or body that point towards something being off kilter or out of balance, and then taking appropriate action. With my kitchen, as I do not have the skills to replace the broken lead waste pipe myself, I rang my water pipe insurer.

In life we might have the resources to act ourselves, or may need to call a friend, mentor, coach or doctor. What evidence do you have of a leak, and what action can you take to stop it leaking further, and then resolve the cause?

Monday, 1 July 2019

The difference that makes the difference

As I watched their disappointment yesterday I could also imagine their earlier excitement - the sun was shining, wind was calm, they had a new jet-ski, had borrowed a trailer, left work early, and driven to the beach. Once at the beach, they carefully reversed down the ramp, and then excitedly jumped out of the van to manoeuvre the jet-ski into the water.

And then the dream disintegrated - where was the water? Low tide had only been a couple of hours earlier, and high tide a further 4 hours away. It was a low high tide so by my calculations they were at least 2.5 hours away from being able to take the jet-ski into the water. It’s funny... and then you start to realise this is a great metaphor for many areas of our lives where, when planning, we’ve not taken into account the difference that makes the difference between success and failure. I’m assuming the jet-ski guys will have learnt about tide height and tide times for this beach and ensure they check them for future excursions. During procurement training I hear many horror stories “oh yes that happened to me too” with no mechanism in place to learn from them. What post-activity reviews do you undertake and how can they stop you from being on dry land when you want to be in the water?