We held our first ever Procurement Leadership workshop this week, hosting a group of executives from Altria, American Red Cross, Cheniere Energy, Smith & Nephew, RSCS (YUM! Brands) and the US Air Force. The mix of executives from both the public and private sector create a unique dynamic, which allowed sharing of contracting strategies, cost modeling, and category management. The real focus of the discussions, however, involved how to use these tools and approaches in the context of interpersonal engagements with stakeholders. Ian George led the group using a series of examples from his personal experiences at BMW, Phillips, and consulting experiences with the UK Nuclear Commission. The session completed with every individual making a “pitch” of their proposed project to a group of seasoned procurement executives from Lenovo, GSK, SAS, and IBM, who provided individuals with a candid evaluation of their presentation style, tips on how to make it more engaging, and how to improve the business case that can be used to “sell” procurement change to key internal stakeholders. Projects presented by participants included specific market intelligence research, ERP implementation, Supplier Relationship Management, Supplier-led Innovation, Workforce Change, Requisition to Pay and AI in Procurement.
Some of the comments that came out in the discussions were the following:
- “The role plays and interactions helped me to really see things differently, from a different point of view, that allowed me to re-think the approach used in engaging stakeholders.”
- “US Air Force Officers would never get this level of candid, direct feedback from other people when making presentations. This was the best part of the entire training program.”
- “The material was great, especially the cross-talk between executives comparing their insights and approaches used in their organizations.”
- “The unique combination of hitting both leadership skills and category management tools and processes is the sweet spot that is not available in the market today,”
The program covered aspects such as how to map stakeholder needs, capabilities associated with developing unique soft skills that are critical in procurement leadership, and the essentials of effective communication and collaboration, both internally and externally with key parties. The focus was on driving change, and understanding how to bring people along on the journey by “winning their hearts and minds”. These are no longer “squishy” topics, and the program left participants with a sense of how to execute these concepts when they go back to their jobs tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who made this kickoff program a success! We look forward to tweaking the program to make the next one even better. Look for the next one to occur later this fall..