More on Peter Rushton’s speech at CIPS dinner

It's a bit of a CIPS-y week really, with the new magazine, our exclusive on governance and now we're back to the President's speech at the CIPS dinner last week.

I've known Peter Rushton for many years but not well;  always seemed smart and sensible when I have met him. But he appears to have been a fairly low profile President to date in terms of public profile.  That may be unfair, but Googling his name doesn't come up with much.  Perhaps he has been busy behind the scenes though; we were treated to the debut of a new CIPS promotional video, before last week's dinner. And generally Rushton seized the opportunity very well I thought to present himself and CIPS to the throng.

The video promotes CIPS directly and why procurement generally is jolly important; about 4 minutes long and very professional. I liked it; but I'd suggest a 90 second edited version for those of us with short attention spans!  It did raise an issue for me though around how closely CIPS wants to be perceived as part of the 'establishment' – there's a lot in the video about working closely with governments, United Nations etc. That's probably a sensible strategy in many ways but I can see that positioning being a turn-off to some individuals and indeed companies.

But coming back to his speech, it was delivered very well; no attempted jokes about badgers and Clapham Common*, just the right length and good balance of comment and general welcome / thanks stuff.  CIPS order book is 50% up year on year; and procurement is mentioned more than ever in the media, even in the Daily Mail! But future success requires adaptation - we have to "seize today, embrace tomorrow".

And Rushton made a telling point; his teenage son had a careers day at school, and there was no mention of procurement; his son had to explain to the staff and fellow pupils what it was all about. (Glad that didn't happen when my daughter was that age, she didn't have a clue what Dad did...this lad should go far). But that was a sobering conclusion to an upbeat speech; and just shows we have further to go despite the apparent success of CIPS and the profession over the last few years.

* See "Worst received jokes of all time"  (Wikipedia - Ref. P Smith's speech to CIPS dinner, 2003) I'm sure some readers still wake up at night in a cold sweat recalling that moment... I know I do.

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