Today I am joined on the show by my good friend, procurement executive recruiter Iain McKenna. Iain is Founder and Managing Director of the executive search firm Sourcing Solved.
Our conversation is split into a couple of different parts:
In the first half of our interview, we discuss the hiring process, and specifically if our reliance on AI - such as keyword searching on CV’s and resumes - severely restrict an organizations ability to hire the best candidate for a role. Iain shares tips on how procurement leaders can hire for personality, drive, EQ and an empathetic management style rather than those with the best keyword match.
In the second part of the interview we switch focus and specifically discuss hiring in the context of procurement services and software firms. A number of firms are aggressively hiring in this space, and yet their initial brief tends to focus on hiring from competitors rather than from industry. We discuss how, as a practitioner, you can best position yourself for a move into consulting or to a procurement software firm - and the benefits for software and consulting firms in hiring practitioners.
Many procurement organizations pay lip service to innovation, but few are taking the steps required to make it a reality. Part of this has to do with the difficulty overcoming the paralysis of the unknown and part of it has to do with a willingness on procurement’s part to risk failure. Ironically, facing the unknown and pushing past the fear of failure makes it far more likely that disruptive innovation will be achieved.
I’m joined today by Cyril Pourrat, Chief Procurement Officer at Sprint. They are three years into their transformation journey, one that has a new purpose in the context of Sprint’s pending merger with T-Mobile. If the merger goes ahead, procurement will be expected to drive significant synergy-based savings. If it does not, achieving cost savings will become even more critical for Sprint to thrive as a stand-alone company.
In preparation, Cyril and his team have launched a number of innovative programs. One of them is ‘Procurement Digital Labs’ – an initiative that is empowering a multi-generational team to identify and experiment with a broad range of technologies. The objective is to provide buyers with far deeper insights use in the development of their sourcing and category strategies. Another is enabling the use of predictive analytics in negotiations.
In this podcast, Cyril talks about:
If you’ve been in the workplace – any kind of workplace at all – for longer than six months, chances are good you’ve experienced poor management at least once. Sadly, being in the workplace for years or even decades doesn’t come with the same odds of encountering even one great manager. Why is that? Why are great managers so rare?
I’m joined today by David Deacon, career HR executive and the author of The Self Determined Manager: A Manifesto for Exceptional People Managers. He and I talked about the complex effort we call management, or as David defines it, “a hugely important, impactful role that most people don’t do very well.”
The main challenge is that most poor managers don’t want to be bad managers; they’ve just never experienced a good manager. And without a proper role model, it can be very hard – although not impossible – for an individual contributor to scale themselves and their impact by effectively leading a team of people towards a single, unifying goal.
According to David, great managers start by truly knowing themselves. They are as clear about their mission, vision and purpose as they are objective about their personal strengths and weaknesses. Great management requires the creation of an environment where the team can thrive, and it is usually supported by a natural sense of empathy that inspires each member of the team to do a little better than they thought was possible every single day.
Whether we are responsible for Procurement and our stakeholder is the c-suite, or we are developing a Category Strategy and our stakeholders are the business users. Alignment continues to be one of the greatest challenges for procurement. Ultimately, it becomes the differentiator that determines whether you are perceived as being a trusted advisor or a back office function.
Indeed, it is not possible to become a mature procurement organization without true strategic alignment, at scale. How can that alignment be sustainable, and not contingent only upon a team member’s personal relationship and rapport with an individual stakeholder, or group of stakeholders?
There is one tactic that consistently works. In today’s show, I will explore why treating your senior level stakeholders as investors in the company of “procurement” is key to building alignment - and I’ll share how you can get started!