Barbara Ardell at ISM 2014: Influencing Change

We (that is, Jason Busch, Pierre Mitchell, Sheena Smith, and I, as well as Lisa Reisman of MetalMiner) are going to ISM’s 2014 conference in Las Vegas next week. You can read my post from yesterday on what Jason, Sheena, and Lisa will be talking about in their presentations. Now, I will be interviewing Barbara Ardell (VP, Paladin Associates Inc.) on the topic of “influencing change.”

I think Barb has come up with an interesting way to get organizations to break away from their sourcing plateau and move from confrontational and tired purchase price reduction discussions that often annoy business stakeholders and suppliers alike to something more productive. It’s a concept that originated outside procurement, and Barb has applied her years of procurement and consulting experience and given it the right color to work for people involved with supply base activities.

I encourage you to check out Barb’s presentation on Wednesday (May 7) at noon in conference room H (rooms 1 & 2). The presentation is called “Influencing Change – The Solution to Procurement’s Change Challenges.” She will be presenting with Al Switzler, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Influencer. If you are stuck in an implementation/adoption rut or feel overwhelmed by your numerous and complex change challenges, give this a try. You should walk away with some fresh ideas. You can also catch Paladin directly on the expo floor at booth #128.

I sat through part of the very first semi-public session Barb delivered here in Atlanta, and I thought it showed great promise even in its early iteration. Based on our feedback from the first session, she has polished it further, tied it to more specific procurement-speak with more relatable business case challenges, etc.

The marketing pitch for the Influencing Change method is predictably boisterous – claiming improved success rates at the 10X level. Having seen it firsthand, I think it’s less about the power of the success it can deliver and more about avoiding the painful mistakes, personal animosities, bad decisions, and other performance and results sapping negatives outcomes that so often take place, and instead march toward better goals and more effective cooperation.

You can read up on this further here on Spend Matters (see Related Articles) as well as look up information about the underlying methodology through Influencer.

Barb has delivered this to several procurement organization and shared a few quotes with me:

  • “The Influencer model provides a framework. It forced us to be more robust in our planning and approach. We were deliberate in employing all six sources of influence to drive our change.” – VP, Supply Chain
  • “The follow on Success Checks are very beneficial. They help to keep us focused on our priorities.” – eProcurement Project Team Member
  • “I think this work [the playbook] is remarkable. I love the format and level of detail that has gone into this. Barbara, you may have set the bar a bit too high for the rest of us when it comes to post-workshop documentation!” – Organization Effectiveness Manager
  • “I have recommended this to our CFO to help with adoption issues.” -- CPO

In my opinion, this is an approach that will do best at organizations that have realized that they miss project expectations and/or create negative outcomes on an ongoing basis, but haven’t figured out a way to address this. I think the methodology as such is equally applicable to all firms, but smaller organizations probably don’t have the maturity to realize that they do things wrong – if you do, more power to you, and check out what Barb is up to.

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First Voice

  1. Barbara Ardell:

    Thanks for the endorsement, Thomas. I look forward to seeing you and the Spend Matters team at ISM.

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