As a parent of 4 kids under the age of 8, I did not realize how big they had gotten until I returned home from a fairly recent 4-day speaking engagement. Now for those who do not have children, 4 days may not seem like a long time. However for those out there who do, you will know what I mean.
The reason for this stunning growth revelation is due to the fact that when you are with the kids every day you do not tend to notice the subtle, yet important changes. This is because you do not have a point of relational context that can only come when you remove yourself from a familiar setting. Think of it has being along the lines of a not being able to see the forest for the trees scenario.
The above came to mind when I recently read an article by Sammy Rashed titled “Raising The Bar: Does Procurement Have The Skills?”
In talking about the importance of “growing procurement beyond its current scope” Rashed’s hybrid references to everything from Collins’ Good To Great Flywheel concept (Demonstrate success . . . then report back to management), to Usheroff’s intrapreneurial mindset and the emergence of ROWE (Don’t ask for permission . . . Get (over) qualified people), it is clear that the purchasing world is finally starting to move outside of itself to speak the corporate lingo.
Or to put it another way, through his article Rashed appears to be taking that all important step back to see procurement from the outside looking in.
Back in 2007 when I talked about the Flywheel and Doom Loop in a post titled Dangerous Supply Chain Myths: Talent Attraction & Retention, I made the following observation:
Therefore, the prognostication rhetoric associated with the majority of reports as to how the future will unfold really comes down to nothing more complex than the ability to listen and understand. This is the true starting point.
By listening to the concerns and objectives of key stakeholders from both within and external to your organization, you will gain a practical, real-world understanding of the forces that influence and therefore will shape your procurement practice.
It is at this point when you understand the importance of the simple listening-understanding precept that you begin to influence the future versus having the future influence you.
Considering the above, and Rashed’s subsequent reference to procurement’s need to transform itself if it hopes to “emerge” as a “greater strategic contributor,” making similar efforts to step outside of the familiar thinking, terminology and approaches that have for so long defined the profession is critical.
Hopefully Rashed’s article, as well as those that will follow, will continue with the expanded thinking that is commensurate with the dissolution of the functional partitions that confined procurement’s potential.
Editor’s Note: In my 2011 video feed keynote to 400 procurement professionals, I talk about procurement’s need to redefine itself in the context of the changes that were (and continue to) redefine the CFO’s and CIOs role in today’s global enterprise.
Click on the image below to watch . . .