Wednesday 8 March 2017

Insight from women on #IWD2017

I'm using unconventional tools to provide alternative perspectives to challenges you're facing (or even just niggles)(ie when the conventional way of solving a problem means the solution is still eluding you, and an alternate perspective may just be the thing you need to jolt you back on track)  
  • Challenge 3: How to get procurement teams to expand their thinking about what's possible. 
  • Unconventional tool to be used: Standing in the shoes of your role models
  • Unconventional (potential weirdness you might feel using it) score: 2/10
  • Things that will help you get the most from this post: Read the guiding principles - these provide more detail of the aims of these posts, and identify things that will help and hinder you getting the most from them. Remember you're going for new and different perspectives which will undoubtedly come from doing something different.
For more on the series of blogs of which this is one please see this post.
It's International Women's day today so I thought we'd try an easy, yet insightful, tool that simply asks us to stand in the shoes of our role models, and provide ourselves with advice from their perspective.

Since #IWD17 is about gender inclusivity I'm not going to restrict your role models to women.

The process to follow is: 
  1. Pick a challenge/niggle you'd like some insight on
  2. Identify a role model you admire (real or fictional)
  3. Metaphorically stand in their shoes   
  4. Identify advice they would give - generally or in the current situation 
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you've a lovely list of suggestions
  6. If your role model is an author, and you have one of their books handy, you could add in an extra unconventional tool of opening their book at any page and writing down the advice there too.
  7. Reflect on the suggestions 
  8. Outline a plan of action
  9. Decide when you'll take the first step
  10. Take the first step in the agreed time frame.
For example:

Challenge: How to get procurement teams to expand their thinking about what's possible

Role Model 1: Caroline Myss - author, speaker and truth sayer, even if a little blunt
  • Just tell them to pull there socks up - non of this mamby pamby wishy washy language they don't understand. Tell them the world has changed, and they need to change with it or go and work somewhere else.
  • Advice from her book: listen to your intuition and have the courage of your convictions. Do not pay attention to the data if your intuition is screaming "do it" or even "don't do it". 
As ever don't judge the advice you get till you've got all of it.

Role Model 2: Wayne Dyer - author, speaker and no longer with us 
As I said in a blog at the time of his death, for me his teachings included:
  • Compassion for self and others
  • Respect for self and others 
  • Trust and listen to your intuition
  • If we squeeze an orange we will always get orange juice 
  • You can't give away what you don't have
I also wrote this tribute that included the words
  • What you see in another is as true within you as it is within them
  • Find the music in you, and walk the talk with gratitude
Role Model 3: Captain Jean Luc Picard of USS Enterprise (from Star Trek)
  • Make it so
Role Model 4: Admiral Kathryn Janeway and captain of USS Voyager (from Star Trek)
  • As they say in temporal mechanics department - there's no time like the present.
  • It's you ... who underestimated us
  • There's got to be a way to have our cake and eat it
Welcome to my world - because as you may have guessed I'm not censoring who I think of.

Role Models 4&5: The Kidlets next door - boy of 5 & girl of 3
Advice: A belief that anything is possible - why would anyone even think it was impossible. Which reminds me of the post written after seeing astronaut Chris Hadfield speak earlier in the year - the sky is not the limit.

I suspect we have enough there. If you had any difficulty you might want to actually envisage standing in their shoes - but that does increase the weirdness unconventional factor to 4/10. 

The action is to now reflect on the advice and consider what action plan you can develop from that or behaviours or beliefs you need to model. For me they would be:
  • Believe it is possible
  • Consider how you or others might have underestimated the abilities of those involved
  • Show respect and involve them in developing the plan of how to get from where they are to where they need to be  
  • Trust they can do it
  • Ensure you are modelling the behaviour you want to see your team demonstrating
  • Listen to that quiet inner voice of wisdom - where does that suggest the answer lies. You may need to release some musts, oughts and shoulds to do that.
Do let me know how you get on applying advice from your role models to your own challenge/niggle. Or perhaps my exploration added something to your thinking on this or another challenge?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking personal, procurement and organisational potential using unconventional tools

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