Being a CPO – five things I’m pleased I did (part 4)

We recently featured a series about my time as a CPO and regrets around things I could have done better. But now we’re onto things I feel good about... And if you think this is a bit arrogant, you can go back and read the negative stuff to balance it! Here is number four...

I’m pleased... I developed my own profile in the profession

OK, this is a bit of a selfish one, but I’ll own up! In fact, this could almost be a regret as well, because looking back I could have done more networking at an earlier stage of my procurement practitioner career. Interestingly, Mars were not very positive about CIPS or that sort of thing generally – we weren’t encouraged to speak at conferences and there was a very strong sense of protecting our competitive advantage. (I get the clear impression the firm has changed and become more outward looking since then).

So, on the positive side, I would recommend any procurement professional to do what they can to develop their profile outside the organisation. And that is actually for both selfish and non-selfish reasons. Selfish – you never know when Fred Goodwin will buy your firm, or indeed when a new boss might decide your face doesn’t fit. Being able to show recruiters and interviewers that you have a genuine interest in procurement beyond merely doing your own job is pretty vital these days. And I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole CIPS experience, networking and meeting people, quite a few of whom became genuine friends rather than just colleagues in procurement.

But less selfishly, your current organisation will benefit as well. I’ve always been a little doubtful about some of the big procurement surveys and benchmarking exercises, unless they are very clearly focused. But what we might call informal benchmarking – sitting round a table with a handful of (non-competing) people who share some of the same issues – is something I’ve always found very useful, sometimes invaluable.

You only need two or three nuggets to justify each occasion or event in which you participate. “Have you tried doing it like this?” “Here’s how we persuaded our CIO to get on board”. “There’s a really good new firm in this sector...”

It’s hard to break out of the 9 to 5 (or 8 till 7) in the office, but it is worthwhile. I’m pleased I did what I did in terms of profile and networking, and whether it is through CIPS, other organisations, or informal routes, it’s recommended to anyone.

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Voices (2)

  1. Dan:

    The problem is, in order to network successfully, you have to like people….

  2. PlanBee:

    yep 100% agree. As Buzby once said, ‘its good to talk.’ Relationships make the business world go round, and real relationships can only really be formed face to face.

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