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CatalystsOpinionThis Week in Procurement

TWIP: Being a Catalyst – Making Choices. Leaving a Mark. Generating Fulfillment.

By February 2, 2018February 23rd, 2020No Comments

Dear Catalysts,

Happy Friday!

This week was a big week for the team at Art of Procurement.

Over the past few weeks, both on the pod and here on the pages of TWiP, I have hinted at the continuing evolution of Art of Procurement (AKA AOP 3.0). (Watch this space for upcoming design changes to our website.)

In this week’s show, I pulled back the curtains a bit more on the thought process behind our ongoing journey.

I am most fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview over 175 procurement executives, service providers, academics and business leaders over the course of the last two and a half years. I have learned a LOT.

Between what I am actively seeking out to learn (say, how blockchain technology is being deployed or guided purchasing or improving my negotiating skills) and my ongoing experiences of putting this learning into practice/executing over the course of my client work, I am constantly being exposed to other perspectives to consider.

My thinking is constantly evolving.

What has not really evolved over time is how I see my role as a procurement professional: I am not a cost center, I am a value creator. It has become increasingly clear to me over the years how critical this mindset is to my professional contributions and ability to do my job.

Reflecting on this led me to assess if AOP is effectively promoting this idea. I came away thinking I could be clearer, more effective. That realization sent me off to design AOP 3.0 in earnest.

Making Choices

My first step was to work on articulating my WHY to make sure it was clear and that I am making choices and working consistent with it.

(If you are not already familiar with Simon Sinek’s work, I’d encourage you to watch a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek. Heck, even if you are, a refresh on the value of identifying and articulating your WHY can be most productive).

In thinking about my WHY I realized:

I want people to generate fulfillment and experience their lives as an opportunity to make a difference. I am fulfilled when I feel that I am making a difference. And I feel like I am making a difference when I am provoking, delivering, or speeding up significant actions or transformations.

I love to seek opportunities to take on, challenge and evolve the status quo.

I am living my WHY when I am being a catalyst.

Leaving a Mark

The journey of a catalyst is not easy, is often intimidating, sometimes scary, and always requires a bit of courage.

The people I have worked with in my career are massively creative, wonderfully diverse and intelligent. Yet, they are often overwhelmed to the point of effective inaction by all the conflicting and confusing information regarding their personal development and careers.

I know that feeling of overwhelm intimately!

So I developed a shorthand way of expressing all of this, but also as a mantra of sorts to help keep on track: Making Choices. Leaving a Mark. Generating Fulfillment.

And this is the space that I want to create for Art of Procurement.  It is a place where we clarify, curate and coalesce the wisdom and experiences of catalysts.

A space for procurement professionals who are committed to creating incremental value through personal and professional development, who are or aspire to be change agents, and who want to create measurable, sustainable, positive change.

A space for those who choose to embrace uncertainty. It is for those that actively identify problems and seek to solve them.

And AOP is for those that choose to be accountable for where they are, and for making the choices necessary to achieve the goals they have set out for themselves.

I am looking forward to sharing more about how we are putting this notion of Being a Catalyst into practice.

Does my journey resonate with you?

Generating Fulfilment

Some questions to ponder:

  • Have you articulated your WHY?
  • Does your work provide opportunities for you to “be your WHY”?
  • What kind of choices do you make?
  • What is your legacy in your current role?
  • How do you generate fulfillment?

Being a Catalyst

As always, if you come across an article, whitepaper, video or podcast that you would like to share with your fellow catalysts, please send a quick email with the details. I read every email and am eager to read yours.

This Week in Procurement

Five Best Negotiation Scenes on Film and TV | Hugo Britt, Procurios

Five Top Tips to Land a Senior Role | Richard Haaker, Macildowie

UK Businesses Paying Suppliers on 1,000 Day Terms | Pete Loughlin, Purchasing Insight

CMA CGM to Launch First International Tech Incubator This Summer | Jennifer McKevitt, Supply Chain Dive

Chicken Suppliers Fall Amid Allegations of Collusion | CNBC (note, the video auto plays)

IBM & Maersk Launch Blockchain Company for Global Logistics

I was intrigued to read last week about the launch of a joint venture between IBM and global shipping giant Maersk.  In short, they intend to use blockchain technology to bring efficiencies to the paperwork involved in global shipping.  As companies begin to explore the possibilities of technologies such as blockchain, my interest is piqued by the real-world use cases that are beginning to emerge.

After reading the article, I reached out to AOP alumni and blockchain expert Jack Shaw.  I asked Jack why we global procurement professionals need to keep an eye on this initiative:

“While international trade comprises some 60% of the world’s GDP, global supply chains are still grossly inefficient and rely primarily on complicated paper processing.

Tests conducted over the past 18 months by IBM and Maersk on the shipment of goods from East Africa to Europe found that a single shipment necessitates over 200 separate communications among 30 different people and organizations, producing in a four-inch stack of paper documents. As a result, it can cost as much in paper and administrative processes as it does to pay for the shipping itself.

IBM and Maersk have been testing the use of Blockchain technology to allow all authorized parties to such shipments to securely digitize, automate, and store critical supply chain information in near real time. Their initial tests demonstrated that administrative costs, which at the time of testing were as much as 15% of the value of the goods shipped, can be significantly reduced. The World Trade Organizations estimates that such reductions in costs would increase global trade volumes by 15% and increase global GNP by 5%.”

Until next time,


P.S. For more background and context on why I believe one’s WHY is so important, and what this means for the content you will see on AOP, check out this week’s podcast.


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