“My feeling is that, if people don’t know what you’ve accomplished in procurement, they will assume that you’re doing nothing.” — Charles Dominick
When developing communication strategies, I’m reminded of the advice from one of my mentors, Jack Miles. He reminds me, often, that actions speak louder than words: we should not need to “tell” anyone how good we are; if we are that good, it will already be obvious.
Effectively communicating the procurement value proposition is central to enhancing our impact. It is also key to building deeper relationships not only with our stakeholders but also with our external partners.
The question, then, is how we choose to accomplish this.
Leaving a Mark
…people don’t realize how good something is until they hear someone else saying how good it is. — Charles Dominick
While I generally agree with Charles, I am skeptical of using procurement industry awards/recognition to demonstrate our value. It is problematic to assume that our stakeholders appreciate, or even know about, our industry standards. Just because we have some industry recognition doesn’t mean we meet the needs of our stakeholders. It also runs the risk of having our stakeholders think we are telling them: “you don’t know how good you’ve got it.” In the end, we are striving to provide our stakeholders greater value and a better experience with us every time they engage with us, not belittle our stakeholders’ point of view or adopt an entitled attitude.
Not to devalue our colleagues’ recognition, garnering industry accolades does mean we are better positioned to increase our impact and it signals to some that we are a procurement employer of choice.
If we look beyond industry acknowledgment we can deepen our relationships with both our stakeholders and suppliers by developing internal/external advocacy and referral programs. These programs should be part and parcel of an executive governance function. The creation of forums in which executives and operational stakeholders can provide input, share experiences, and shape what we are doing is essential for improving our value creation capacity. An important side effect of these groups is that they naturally disseminate our value proposition (and accomplishments) across our firm and supplier ecosystems.
My perspective is that the branding and communication of our wins and value proposition are important, but it’s the way and medium of that communication that speaks volumes: let’s celebrate our wins and focus on leading by doing.
Some questions to ponder:
- When is the last time I shared a positive experience I had with a stakeholder or supplier with others on my team or in my organization?
- Does my firm have a working group composed of professionals both in and outside of procurement that exists to support the procurement function?
- If a working group does exist, how can I engage with it to drive enhanced team results and recognition firm-wide? If one does not exist, what can I be doing to establish one?
- What do I want to be personally recognized for by the procurement industry over the next year? What do I want my team and procurement group to be recognized for?
- When is the last time I reached out to acknowledge someone whose work or impact I thought remarkable?
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
- Deploying the Procurement Digital Roadmap: Part 1 – Roles and Competencies | Giles Breault, The Beyond Group
- The Value of Innovation: Is it Time to Put Price Second? | Iain Campbell McKenna, Sourcing Solved
- Bringing Procurement Rigor to Merger Integration | Bernard Gunther, Spendata
- Contract Negotiations & Ineffective Risk Sharing | Tim Cummins, IACCM
- Majority of CEOs Agree That Sustainability Holds Value to Businesses, Yet Few Are Measuring ROI | Sydney Lazarus, Spend Matters
- AI Winter Is Well On Its Way | Filip Piekniewski, AI Scientist, Koh Young Technology (editor’s note: food for thought…)
This Week @ AOP
I was joined on the show this week by Charlotte de Brabandt. As you will hear, Charlotte was recently honored by ISM, as part of their 30 Under 30 Awards program, as the Megawatt winner, and for good reason!
In her day job, Charlotte leads Energy Procurement for Johnson & Johnson. But that only tells half the story! Charlotte is also a prolific public speaker, TEDx organizer, charity worker, and she is passionate about the intersection of procurement, technology and the future of jobs.
In our conversation, we talk about the project that led to Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Award, I ask for advice on how to improve my own public speaking, and Charlotte shares some of the habits that allow her to fit everything in!