Don’t Expect Executive Support without Effective Communication

More than 100 procurement professionals ranging from CPO to Sourcing Mangers to Category mangers (and everything in between) participated in a global procurement survey conducted by Iasta and Efficio.

Together, Iasta and Efficio revealed some interesting statistics and discussed findings from the survey in a webinar on May 13 titled, “Becoming a Procurement Change Agent in 2014: A Global Perspective of Procurement and Change Management.”

One survey question asked participants to select what they believed were the top three most important skills necessary to meet procurement objectives. The skill categories and their corresponding results are listed below:

  • Establishing stakeholder engagement (55%)
  • Subject matter/category expertise (55%)
  • Negotiation skills (53%)
  • Analytic skills (51%)
  • Project Management (48%)
  • Verbal and written communication (21%)

At 55%, “establishing stakeholder engagement” was the top concern among survey respondents, which was not surprising. We hear regularly from clients and prospects that establishing relationships with stakeholders is critical to their success.

Further, when respondents were asked, “Which is the biggest hindrance as it relates to advancing your sourcing capabilities?” the number one response, at 41%, was “support from executives or business stakeholders.” Again, not a surprise. A huge chunk of survey respondents are facing major obstacles when it comes to getting executive level and stakeholder engagement and support. In fact, many are identifying it as their top challenge.

However, what screams out to me here is that only 21% of respondents to this survey identified verbal and written communication in their TOP THREE most important skills a procurement team needs to meet procurement objectives. So on one hand, we see that acquiring engagement and support from the organization is the number one challenge, but on the other, we see one of the most vital skills that should be utilized to gain this support is drastically undervalued – communication!

When considering what it will take to become a procurement change agent, do not overlook the importance of effective communication as one of the key skills required to achieve this goal.

Communication means better alignment. And better alignment means buy-in, support, engagement, and a seat at the big table. I do not want to overlook other important skills, such as category expertise. However, without strong communication skills, acquisition of the executive and stakeholder support so many procurement teams are seeking will be difficult.

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