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CatalystsThis Week in Procurement

You Spoke, We Listened

By January 12, 2018February 23rd, 2020No Comments

Dear Catalysts,

Happy Friday!

We were thrilled with your response to our newsletter last week. Thank you!

Your feedback reinforces our belief that Procurement Professionals are passionate about being catalysts and see themselves as central to the health and wellbeing of their organizations.

As we move into the New Year and the evolving conversation on Procurement, we will use both these lenses to focus our explorations and conversations with the community.

This Week in Procurement (TWIP)

Inspired by feedback over the course of the last few months, I think it’s time to experiment a bit. All you who listened to the podcast Monday already know all about it! – another great reason to be listening ;).

For the foreseeable future, while we will be sharing fewer articles, we will, however, provide greater context on why we believe the curated pieces to be a good return on your investment of time and attention. Also, we are casting our net further, wider and will not be constrained to content published in the past week.

With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to a white paper from recruiting firm Hays that I came across over the Holiday.  It was published in the Australian and New Zealand market, but I believe it relevant to procurement catalysts around the world.

In DNA of a CPO, Hays set out to provide guidance to aspiring CPO’s on the attributes requisite for success. After interviewing 94 CPO’s from across Australia and New Zealand, Hays came to some interesting conclusions, among them:

  • get broad experience: few successful CPO’s have spent their entire career in procurement
  • cultivate commercial acumen: the most important skill for a CPO
  • be proactive: the most important personal characteristic of a CPO
  • be courageous: very few CPO’s sit on their firm’s board of directors or are considered part of core top management

My experience, for what it is worth, underscores the importance of these take-aways.

For those of you who have “grown up” inside of procurement, like me, you can still cultivate broader experience and a commercial acumen. Go to those parts of the company that don’t interact directly or often with procurement (e.g., finance, inventory management, legal, compliance, quality control, sales and marketing) and ask them about what they do, what specific results they are responsible for producing, what they see as the keys to success in their profession. Ask them how you can do your job so as to positively impact their ability to produce the results they are responsible for producing.

A number of CPO’s provided their own views in the report. While I recommend reading them all, these observations from Matthias Fuchs, Boral CPO, really stood out to me:

“Your best performance comes from who you are as a person, not from what you do. It’s very important for all executives to have a good understanding of what makes them tick, what they are good at, what their weaknesses are, and to learn to have a focus on other people”

You can find the full DNA of a CPO white paper here. I would love to get your insights and hear what specific actions you plan on taking based on your reading of this report.

Optimism at a decade high

ICYMI, Kelly Barner published the ISM-NY Report on Business for December 2017 over on BMP Radio (now hosted by the Art of Procurement Network). The notable finding: Procurement Managers’ optimism regarding business conditions jumped significantly over November 2017 and is at a decade high.

If you are not familiar with the ISM-NY Report on Business, it is a monthly survey of firms in the New York area to quickly assess business conditions in real time. It includes measures such as employment, pricing strength, general business conditions and 6-month outlook, and anticipated revenue growth or contraction.

A change at CIPS

Bill Michels was appointed this week to a newly created role at CIPS, Vice President of Operations for the Americas.

This signals a more aggressive move into North America by CIPS and an inspired choice. We know from personal experience what a Catalyst Bill is (he is an AOP and Palambridge advisor as well as frequent AOP guest).

North America is relatively unchartered territory for CIPS, so it is going to be interesting to watch how they approach the local market here. Any suggestions?

We wish Bill and CIPS the best of luck for their new partnership. We will all be the beneficiaries of the value they bring to the conversation.

AOP Podcast this week

This week’s AOP episode, was a rare solo show – though you will be experiencing more of them this year. I shared TWIP/AOP news and some tips on the groundwork you can be doing if you are considering a job change in 2018. These suggestions apply whether you are seeking an internal change or a new job outside your current organization.

I discussed four key elements:

  • engaging in a self-assessment
  • investing in self-development
  • developing a personal brand
  • actively sharing your story (i.e., your brand)

I’m passionate about all of these areas, but I think we often overlook the fact that we are all a business of one. And we must be always aware that we are constantly being evaluated by those we work with (this can be a boss, a client, a colleague, a supplier or a stakeholder). So, for all those we come into contact with, what can we do that provides an ROI that is greater than the alternatives? ROI can be measured, among other things, by financial value (the cost of our salary/services vs. investing it elsewhere or with someone else) and time (investing time in building a relationship with us vs. doing something else with that time).

You can listen in here.

Let’s Share

Have you come across an article, white paper, video or podcast that you would love to share with your fellow catalysts? Do you have ideas for show topics or questions you would like answers to? Just drop me a line at: pideson@palambridge.com… I read every mail and am eager to read yours.

Have a great weekend,


Making Choices. Leaving a Mark. Generating Fulfillment.


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