Monday 2 January 2017

Don't leave your humanity at the door

Welcome 2017 - my wish for 2017 is that it facilitates and inspires positive change in health, politics, business and procurement.

There's many ways we can feed the inspiration, and one way I'm going to fuel the fire is by undertaking the creative 10 minute tasks set daily by 64 Million Artists

"64 Million Artists is a national campaign to unlock the potential of everyone in the UK through creativity. We use a simple, fun and free process: Do, Think and Share to support people who’d like to use creativity to express themselves, get a bit more of a spring in their step, or connect better with others"

Yesterday's task involved writing a media headline we wanted to see in 2017. Here's my headline:  
"We didn't leave our humanity at the door"

Leaving our humanity at the office door was a topic that first arose in February last year, when we delivered a procurement workshop to a group of leaders within a supplier organisation. The post I wrote at the time 'Procurement:Mr Wolf or enlightened' explains more about the conversation that took place. 

Leaving our humanity at the office door (ie before we walk into the room) also arose many times in the latter months of 2016. When facilitating procurement clinics I often heard the words: 
  • "I didn't know we could do that in business"
  • "I thought I had to act this way not that way"
  • "You might be able to do that but I couldn't possibly"
These were all responses to being invited to respond to a situation with humanity - or perhaps more accurately to act from their humanity, that is, from their authentic self.

I wasn't asking them, as procurement professionals, to roll over and let a supplier walk all over them. I was simply asking them to consider an authentic response, one from their mind, head or soul that felt right to them. A response that didn't rely on following a set of rules they thought they should, ought, or must use when they turn up for work everyday, but rules that apply to every day living the rest of the time. 
The collage below, made in 2015, demonstrates my interpretation of what I was hearing. The image might be an over reaction in terms of the conversations we were having, however, it certainly expresses a fear I have - that we've forgotten what being human is all about.   
I'll talk more in future posts about what I mean, and what it might look like in business and procurement. (Post script links to posts that support this. My response to the excuse for the lack of humanity in business "that's just the way business is", and "the sky is not the limit" a reminder that nothing is impossible, written after hearing colonel Chris Hadfield speak about going to the moon and space exploration more generally.) 

I will leave you with my 2017 New Year's plea - please Don't leave your humanity at the door.   

I'm going to be interviewing those who are already making this possible. I'm hoping that includes Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, Leon's, Unilever, and other B Corporations. Any further suggestions of who to approach, or introductions to the above organisations, please do get in touch - in comments below or direct to  +44(0)7770 538159.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out, and encouraging us all to take our humanity with us into business not leave it at the gate, turnstile, and revolving or office doors.


For more on the year that built up to these conversations please see '2016: My Year in blogs' post, and more on what I'm going to be doing in 2017 here.

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