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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Dear Procurement, with love from Change Management

POSTCARD
Dear Procurement,

In preparation for the launch of the Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2017 we were looking at the insights from 2016. Unfortunately I'm not sure it was such a good idea, as we ended up being very upset to see that only 46% of those participating thought Change Management was an important skill, where as 80% thought Communication and Soft Skills were.

Ignoring the semantics of whether Change Management is a soft skill, we're a little puzzled by the outcome. To that end, we've invited Problem Resolution and Creativity over for a meal during the week to help explore what we could be doing differently to raise awareness of how much of what Procurement does involves Change Management.

If you're putting in place a new system, a new process or wanting a wider set of KPIs we're involved. If you're changing suppliers we're involved both internally and externally. If you're developing sourcing, category or relationship strategies were involved. We're also involved if you're wanting to implement or roll out a new contract. In short there's very little of what you do that doesn't include us.

We agree Communication and Influencing skills are great, but how you use them is informed by what you're wanting to do, and if that involves change then there's other factors at play that you need to be aware of before you can decide on a communication or influencing strategy.

It would seem we need to adopt some of our own models to help you change your views about what we're saying. We may need to go back and review the different words we use to depict change.

We look forward to making the journey with you. So that together we can truly transform organisational Procurement.    

With Love from Change Management 


The above image is one of the postcards sent to Procurement from Change Management. Where ever they go Change Management always seem to end up having to deal with the stick in the muds, as they shared in the postcard included in the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit: Dear Procurement, with love from your Soft Skills!

The toolkit includes a selection of postcards sent to Procurement from a number of their Soft Skills. Their aim is to engage procurement in a discussion about how to use them more effectively. Yesterday's post was an introductory postcard.

To buy the toolkit please see the right hand side of the screen, or follow this link where you'll also find out more about the toolkit, and about bespoke versions of the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit that can be developed to meet organisational or professional needs. (A variant entitled Dear Human Being, with love from your soft skills has been developed and is also available applicable to a wider audience.)

There's also a few vlogs that might get you into the more unconventional and metaphorical ways of thinking that the toolkit uses.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Dear Procurement, with love from your Soft Skills

POSTCARD

Dear Procurement,

Like this iceberg we saw on a recent trip to Greenland there's more to Soft Skills than meets the eye.

To understand more about whether your Soft Skills are hindering or helping you achieving your goals requires you to bring those very skills into your conscious awareness. To help support you in doing this, we've brought together a series of postcards written to you from a selection of your Soft Skills.

For instance your Values and Communication went to the beach and enjoyed reflecting on the different motivations they had for what they did whilst they were there. Rapport went to Buckingham Palace, but as they looked for common ground they ended up sending a picture of the sky! Language went to the Kelpies, and Change Management went on a bit of a busman's holiday, and sent you a picture of a stick in the mud!

We hope you'll agree that, whilst potentially unconventional, they're a very effective means of providing different perspectives to skills that are often taken for granted, ignored or even abused!

We certainly hope you'll enjoy reading what we got up to on our holidays, and what insight we shared with you to help you develop your use of us more fully.

EnJOY

With Love from your Soft Skills

On Monday we'll be hearing from Change Management.

To buy the toolkit please see the right hand side of the screen, or follow this link where you'll also find out more about bespoke versions of the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit that can be developed to meet organisational or professional needs. (A variant entitled Dear Human Being, with love from your soft skills has been developed and is also available applicable to a wider audience.)

There's also a few vlogs that might get you into the way of thinking.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Is your communication clear?

How often have you vented your frustration because someone has misunderstood something you've asked them to do, or got confused about the data you've sent them? It's easily done, especially when we think what we've communicated is clear and unambiguous. And it is - for us.

When communicating with others however it's useful to remember we don't all think the same. It's just like the difference between the iphone and android phones, or a Mac and PC - to make them all do the same thing we might have to press very different buttons. 

What we need to do to achieve the outcome we want only becomes clear therefore when we understand the operating model that the device is working to. It's only then that we'll understand that pressing a certain sequence of buttons means we get what we expect rather than the opposite.

The Met office weather app is a great example of this - although it's me, the receiver of the communication, who's frustrated and not the Met Office.

Which of the following views do you think it easier to understand? 


I suspect your answer will depend on a number of factors:
  • Preference to view the data in smaller chunks rather than assimilate all the info at once 
  • Preference for visuals rather than data
  • Preference for vertical presentation of sequential data (top to bottom, left to right) rather than horizontal presentation (left to right, bottom to top)
  • Preference for black or white background
  • Current design of the diary they use every day - which is how they're used to visualising time - ie mine is: Days - left to right, Time - top to bottom in both electronic and paper formats.
  • Length of time you've been using the view in question  
  • and so on
As I wrote the list I realise being happy with the left hand option for years is making it difficult for me transition to the new look. I also find the sheer volume of data on the right confusing. The biggest factor that my brain is finding hardest to assimilate though, is to look to the bottom of the page to pick a time to then look up for the forecast! Perhaps if I persist I may start to find meaning in the data - currently it just might as well be in a different language and I could cry with frustration. I'm certainly looking for alternate weather apps with views that meet my preferred means of taking info in.

This is such a great example of what could happen every time we communicate. Like the Met Office I'm sure we think our message is clear and unambiguous, and as we understand the message so will the other person. I'm sure many many people will - just like I'm sure many Met Office app users are finding the new visual presentation helpful. However, sometimes, we might just have chosen to present to our stakeholder using a means that is counter to their preferred means of making sense of the data. Which will certainly make it much harder, if not impossible, for them to understand what we're telling them. 

Despite MS's best efforts when we move powerpoint documents between Mac, PC, Iphone, ipad and android we do lose some of the message. Next time you're getting frustrated with your stakeholder about a misunderstanding therefore, you may want to consider if their communication preferences might explain the misunderstanding, and what you can do to plug the gap in their understanding. 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking personal and procurement potential using unconventional tools

Communication is one of the postcards included in the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit that brings together a series of postcards from your soft skills - it's entitled Dear Procurement, with love from your soft skills. More here.