I recently read The Three Laws of Performance written by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan. I took a great deal of knowledge and inspiration from the book. Now, I find myself with the challenge of applying it to my personal and professional life. As I sat down to write my monthly blog post (and frankly, struggled with thinking of something unique to write about), I found myself thinking about the first Law and how it applies to Procurement professionals I speak with on a daily basis.
How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.
The law is really a very basic concept: how one performs (acts, speaks, and communicates) correlates almost directly with how any given situation (or external party) occurs to them. So I wonder; how does the Procurement function occur to people in your organization? We’ve heard a few of our clients explain these perceptions of the function across the organization:
- Procurement is the down in the corner basement space, I think. I’m not really sure what they do.
- Procurement is the group that purchases everything with a purely lowest cost incentive. They don’t trust us or accept any input I have about my specialized category.
- Procurement has some good uses in certain, non-essential categories, but their methods and tools don’t really apply to my unique purchasing category.
- Procurement is a part of how our team works, and a guiding voice of how our company succeeds.
The perceptions are a pretty wide spectrum to consider. Perhaps an essential first step is identifying how Procurement occurs to any given business unit that the team is trying to impact. Once the perception of Procurement is clear, teams will hopefully have an easier time identifying what type of language will positively impact how to change the view of Procurement. Using the right language is a critical component to changing any negative perception one wishes to overcome.
You can get started by communicating recent successful projects, key spend data points, areas of opportunity for certain business units, and any corporate initiatives that Procurement makes a big role (such as CSR and supplier diversity initiatives).