The journey towards excellence is fraught with many challenges: organisational structure, technology, business process, talent, performance, etc. Challenges are the norm on a journey, as is change. However, change is the most ignored requirement for the journey. Changing the way you think, the way you view challenges and embracing the flip side of change opportunity – is what makes the journey more enjoyable. Staying focused on the successes along the way, the great outcomes that are just over the horizon vs. the struggle and grind of the daily issues focuses a team on winning, rather than just getting by. Attitude is everything, as Jeff Keller noted in his book of the same name. Changing your attitude – the way you think and look at the world – can bring greater returns to you and your business.
Take, for example, Jane, the Indirect Procurement Director at a CPG company. She looks at her spend as data that tells her the spend types and suppliers she and her team have to manage. She uses it as a guide to tell her where her team is on the journey, what areas still need to be addressed: rationalisation, sourcing, contracts, supplier relationship management, spend/FTE, etc. It is a tool used to view that which is managed vs. unmanaged and provide her some ideas on the next steps. Data outlines her issues; thought and leadership provide her team with the direction and path towards success.
Contrast Jane with Jim. Jim is the Procurement VP at a food retailer. He already knows how much he spends and what is required at their stores to run the business, but he doesn’t have time to understand what the spend is outside of his known view. He is just too busy being a hero and fighting fires. He and his team move from category to category bringing in savings whenever a stakeholder in Quality, Finance, Marketing, IT, or Store Operations needs them to host a sourcing event, find an alternative source, or take the work off their hands. Jim doesn’t have time to stop, analyse and plan his team’s next movements. He can’t even fathom that there is a better way to do business.
Jane takes the time to think, analyse, strategise and plan her business strategy. Jim spends his time running, reacting and working hard. Taking the Time as opposed to Spending the Time – both cost the organisation the same amount of money, but only one is, as I like to say, “spending wisely while delivering a valued outcome.”
Are you Jane or Jim?