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Monday, 29 April 2013

Do your suppliers sleep at night?

ISM - Institute for Supply Management
I'm vicariously following the tweets from #ISM2013 and was inspired by this tweet:

RT @jenniferwoofter: Bechtel VP: "I pick suppliers that want to sleep at night. Are you one of those?" #ism2013

I love it - so many different ways to think about that statement. Here's where it took me ...

1. How differently procurement professionals would behave if we set that as a metric. I don't mean set it as a measure for suppliers. Set is as a measure for us - to ensure our behaviours don't give our suppliers sleepless nights. You know the sorts of things:
  • Last minute tenders requiring immediate response when we've been working on it for 3 months
  • A call at 17:30 saying I need this response by 0800 in the morning when we don't
  • Lack of response to issues raised by them 
  • Insufficient resources to comply with our contratural obligations
2. The well being aspects of this. Yes there will always be emergencies that give everyone sleepless nights. But we all need our sleep - not least because adequate sleep (along with other healthy behaviours but that's for another blog) allow us to perform at our best, make better decisions, react to stress and handle challenges better. What's there not to like about that?

In conclusion ensuring we minimise the sleepless nights we give our suppliers will ensure they are there when we need them making the the right decisions on our behalf. 

Of course the statement may have been made in a totally different context - which emphasises the need for tweets to convey the meaning for others replying on the tweet for the sound bite. (For anyone vicariously following or attending a conference and wanting to engage on twitter you might like my blog on how to get the most from twitter at conferences. It's a summary of the hints and tips picked up having followed a number of conferences vicariously and noticing what makes a positive difference.)

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring action that allows your suppliers to sleep at night

Dream Believe Achieve


One of the few programmes still on my "must watch" list is Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew. The reason for this is because every week it reminds me of the significant impact getting out of our comfort zones can have and, as Diversity themselves suggest, to "Dream, believe and achieve."

If you've never watched the programme Ashley Banjo and his fellow Diversity street crew take very unlikely groups and secretly teach them a street dance. To then perform the dance in front of their colleagues, friends, family and peers a few weeks later. The group above are six members from Boobs and Brass, an all female brass band, who were in the show last night.

I'm unsure what the average age was of those taking part and in some respects it's irrelevant. Except the dream, believe, achieve came into its own because of the age of those taking part. Like me, many had reached a certain age (or as Ashley (24) said "just like my mum"). It certainly felt like the dreaming and believing had been put on hold due to - age, physical ability and beliefs about themselves. Being pushed out of their comfort zones, and what ever they dreamt was possible, shifted the beliefs they had about themselves. What Ashley and the crew managed to get out of them can never go back into the box and I am sure will have positive repercussions for the rest of their lives.

As a coach I constantly invite people to look at the beliefs that are holding them back. The one area that I am constantly challenged on personally however, by watching this programme or by my personal trainer etc, is my physical ability. I often feel as if my physical ability is fixed and there is nothing to stop the passing of time and its affects on what I can do. What the secret street crew reminds us is that nothing is fixed - everything can improve and it's pushing at the boundaries of our comfort zone, whether that's in mind, body or soul, that has the transformative effect in all areas of our lives.

Today as I reflected on the show I realised it's the act of breaking a fixed belief about yourself in one area that provides the breakthrough in so many other areas of our lives. For me personally that often comes from pushing on the beliefs I have about my physical ability.

Where do you feel stuck, how can you expand your boundaries and who will be the person to shout from the side lines and remind you "You can do it."

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Pushing procurement out of its comfort zone

Picture source: sky1.sky.com via Alison on Pinterest

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Are you prepared?





It's interesting how often in life if we're climbing a metaphorical mountain we forget to be prepared and set off without even the essentials. You wouldn't if you were climbing a real mountain #landscapingyourlife

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Picture source: pinterest.com via Alison on Pinterest


You can find out more about the Landscaping Your Life process I use with groups and individuals on Pinterest or Facebook - because if a picture paints a thousand words a metaphor paints a thousand pictures.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Can you have too much fun?


We were driving back from the Kirkcaldy Links Market (aka the local funfair) on Saturday where this picture, and the video below, were taken. I said to Imogen (6) and Arran (9) "that's funny my shoulder (that had been hurting when I drive and sit at the PC for the last month) isn't hurting at the moment" and Imogen replied "Aunty Alison that's because you forgot it was hurting because you were having so much fun."

Out of the mouths of babes :-).



Especially in light of my last blog on needing to shift my perspective.


Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Perspective shift

I've never really 'got' the question about "will it still matter in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months and 2 years" because when I'm busy and stressed I don't really know it. So the answer to all those questions is "of course it will still matter - its important." It's only with hindsight that I realise It doesn't matter at all.

We've all been there believing the work we're doing is more important than ANYTHING else. The reason I'm writing this is I saw an entry on Facebook about the first thing many people do before getting up in a morning is check their emails and its the last thing they do before sleeping too. Unless we have an expectant friend, an ill relative or are waiting to hear about a new house, job or relationship then we will know in hindsight we shouldn't be going anywhere near the emails.

I had a week off at Easter and slept most of it. I was reminded of my need for sleep on previous holidays - especially to Australia. I attributed the sleeping then to jet leg but now realise it was the need to stop after all the constant doing and lack of life balance. The body just said ENOUGH.

On both visits to Australia I was away for 2 months. It was before I was so immersed in social media and simply disconnected from my life here and had a holiday. I remember very clearly the perspective shift that took place at week 3. The sudden realisation that I was missing living my life, that all those important activities that had kept me at work till 9 at night and back there by 7 the next morning were not meaningless but also not important too. Certainly not more important than my health, not more important than friends and not more important than laughter.

It struck me then that most of us only take 2 weeks holiday at a time. I just wonder if that ever gives us the time to get back the perspective about what's really important in our life?

Still mulling that one over although I certainly seem to have cut back on all the constant doing since I returned from my holiday - with this being my first blog since before my holiday.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Helping procurement teams find perspective