The idea of training non-procurement stakeholders alongside procurement professionals is gaining momentum, says Julian Catchick.
By Julian Catchick | Summer 2012
Teamwork is the key to success in today’s business world. Most of us understand the need to see beyond our immediate specialism and understand the bigger picture. Call it aligning with business objectives or eliminating the silo mentality, in day-to-day professional life you can’t afford to concentrate solely on your own concerns and ignore those of your colleagues in other functions.
The benefits of cross-functional working in promoting common understandings and shared goals are generally recognised. But it’s often easier said than done. It is sometimes challenging trying to explain what you’re aiming to achieve to people who have only a vague understanding of your specialist skills and insights.
One way to meet the challenge is to arrange for non-procurement stakeholders to undertake training and development alongside their professional procurement colleagues.
The idea appears to be gaining ground. The advantages are especially clear in, for example, transformation or sourcing programmes co-sponsored by procurement and other stakeholder departments.
When a stakeholder function sponsors such a far-reaching programme its members need to be aware of the approach being taken by the procurement team and the specialised skills required to carry it out effectively. Including non-procurement people in the training and development involved in preparing for a programme of this kind can pay dividends.
It’s all about communication. No matter how highly skilled you may be, if you can’t get your colleagues to understand what you’re doing and how your expertise comes into play, you won’t achieve the recognition you deserve.
The great advantage of the training environment is that it provides all concerned with the chance to stand back and take stock of the various challenges ahead. As well as the formal tuition involved, there are usually extensive opportunities for informal discussion where people from different functions can exchange experiences and views and reach the kind of alignment of objectives we are always seeking.
Arranging for procurement people to share their expertise and improve communications with their business stakeholder colleagues by taking part in training alongside them can be an extremely effective strategy in ensuring the success of cross-functional projects.
☛ Julian Catchick is Principal at Efficio