Spend Matters welcomes his guest post from Mickey North Rizza of BravoSolution.
By now I’m assuming you know about the importance of aligning procurement’s initiatives with larger business goals. I’ve written about it, other Spend Matters authors have written about it and I’m sure you’ve heard it discussed at various conferences.
Yet few companies are making real progress on alignment. So what’s holding them – and perhaps your company – back?
Maybe you’re overwhelmed about where to start, or you think that your team or company is too small for alignment. It’s not true. Every procurement team has the ability to improve their alignment strategy and move up the maturity curve. There’s no cookie-cutter formula to achieving alignment. You have to figure out where your greatest challenges lay and then determine your own strategy to overcome them.
Here are the most common roadblocks that stand in the way of procurement transformation – and why you shouldn’t let them stop you.
- This isn’t a priority for our leadership team. This might be one of the most challenging and frustrating positions to be in, but you still have an obligation to show to them why it’s important. The best way to do it is to speak their language. Make an executive business case that focuses on the results and greater business benefits. Shifting the focus away from the tactical helps everyone to see the bigger picture paybacks.
- We’re just not ready to change. Fear and resistance are a normal reaction when you’re starting to do something transformative. Don’t let it stop you. Find coworkers who can see, or help you to develop your vision and roadmap. Working together you can leverage each other to slowly gain buy-in from the rest of the team and organization. Consider the needs and motivators for everyone involved, and make sure that you can clearly show how this change will benefit them.
- We don’t have the right talent. It’s time to start training your staff – but strategically. Training, especially during a time of fundamental change, cannot be “one size fits all.” Take a look at annual reviews and talk to the managers of your staff members to determine who excels at what. Also ask your staff what they’re most interested in learning about! Often times you’ll find that someone is passionate about learning a new skill that they just haven’t had the opportunity to explore.
- We tried, but didn’t succeed. There will always be unexpected hurdles and curveballs that can slow you down, or put you down a completely different path, but don’t let that stop you. You need to have a flexible plan that can be adjusted for any obstacles that you didn’t expect to have to deal with. Make sure that you continuously measure your progress to show your team and stakeholders how you’re doing and what may be holding you up.
Do you still think that your procurement team can’t transform and better align with greater business initiatives? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @MNorthRizza. I love a challenge, so tell me what’s holding you back from alignment!