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As part of the I Am A Procurement Leader campaign, procurement practitioners have been invited to guest blog and look ahead to what they see as the path to becoming a leader of tomorrow’s function. In this post, Zahid Munir, IT Services & Architecture, Procurement Transformation, Saudi Telecom, talks achieving a sustainable transformation.
There is no one set of rules that guides how to transform procurement, but I believe there are five fundamental principles that can help you drive sustainable change. As a procurement leader you are uniquely positioned to influence the core of your organisation and with these principles you can make an impact which will resonate for years to come.
Do what you say and say what you do: Without integrity your influence as a leader is limited. But with integrity your drive can realise benefits beyond what can possibly be expected. By helping and advising people sincerely, you will impact them beyond just the workplace.
David Maister, a strategic management advisor, summed it up well when he said that your task as a leader is to help others to succeed, not to strive for your own success. If someone doesn’t trust your motives, nothing else will matter.
Build your people, and the rest will follow: People are the real asset of any organisation and are what differentiate a sustainable transformation from the majority of jargon-filled attempts. This principle is linked to the point above and should be a focus in terms of developing your people.
Enable and support your people from the first time you meet them. Show a concern for their well-being and personal development, and augment your teams with fresh talent. This way you will win them over and give them the skills they need to make the transformation, and your function, a success.
Do the right things: Take a step back and ensure you are focused on the right things. Don’t just let things run - if it ain’t broke don’t fix it they say. Au contraire, if there’s value to be had, break and reconfigure it! The focus should be on value creation. For me financial savings are a consequence and not the objective.
Procurement is big on policies, procedures, contracts and audits so people are often nervous making changes in these areas. Yet this is an ideal environment where you as a leader must focus on doing the right things vs. doing things right. No matter how well you do things right, if they are not the right things it has no value to the organisation.
Eliminate waste: One of the key principles of the "Lean" movement is to remove things from the chain which have little value. Lean procurement is something that leaders need to promote. It focuses teams on value-creation activities and it accelerates impact.
Running ’bare-bones’ will make the procurement organisation agile, reduce complexity and target resources for full impact.
Focus on your customer: I love Amazon’s statement "Leaders start with the customer and work backwards". I’m referring to your internal customer - whether it’s IT, network or the consumer unit.
What does your customer care about? Become a trusted advisor to learn about the objectives of the organisation as a whole. Empathise with the customer and try to help eliminate areas of pain - even if the pain is not within the remit of procurement.
Knowing your suppliers falls under this principle for me. Focus on the value chain, and then use the supply chain to maximise impact and deliver results for your customer and the organisation.
The majority of transformation programmes fail, and even the ones that appear to be successful are skin deep and not sustainable - remove the leader and the whole programme goes belly up!
I believe these five principles will help to transform your procurement organisation and allow you to sustain it in the long run. It’s not about ticking boxes and marketing, rather it is a way to instil a sustained culture change and taking everyone with you.
To register to become a guest blogger for the I am a Procurement Leader campaign or to find out more about the initiative, click here.
This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.