10 Lessons the Olympics Can Teach Procurement: Part 1

80614720This year in Sochi, Russia, many of us witnessed the amazing feats of the more than 6,000 athletes that competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Olympics have always been a source of inspiration for those who are hungry for great success stories, including the business world.

So, the question is, “What can the Olympics teach procurement?

Whether you are a seasoned procurement professional or new to the role, there are lessons the Olympics can teach procurement. In Part 1, I’ll discuss the first 5 lessons: –

1- Create a Sense of Purpose – Purpose creates the meaning and direction for an athlete. For people within procurement, this sense of purpose needs to be grounded in how procurement can have the greatest impact. This purpose should be shared with every member of the team to help drive common goals, both within and outside procurement’s influence.

2- Set Big Goals – Start by setting goals over the course of months or years that lead to recognition over time. Setting goals for procurement today also goes beyond cost savings to cost avoidance, and should be more focused on supplier management than ever before.

3- Appreciate the Value of Coaches – Coaches are a driving force to keep athletes motivated in activities when motivation is waning. Procurement needs a coach as it looks to increase its influence. Further still, coaches in procurement can come from a variety of sources including finance and supply chain, and in newer, unexpected areas including sales and marketing.

4- Improve Communications – In Olympic sports like bob sled, tandem speed skating or even hockey, communication is critical for synchronizing and coordinating efforts and achieving goals. For procurement, this means the importance of coordinated efforts to maximize savings, improving compliance and reducing risk.

5- Be Competitive – Competition is the drive to win- whether you are improving your own performance against one’s personal goals, looking to beat a team number achieved from a previous year or even meet an industry benchmark. Being competitive in procurement is essential for asserting a sense of purpose.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll discuss the final 5 lessons the Olympics can teach procurement. What lessons have you learned from the Olympics? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @iasta.

Still quiet here.sas

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