Craig Lardner, CIPS President – has he achieved his KPIs?

Being CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) President is a piece of cake really - just the odd fancy dinner and conference speech, really. Nothing to it, is there?

Well, let's just give you a snapshot of current President Craig Lardner's recent diary. He was in the UK for the CIPS conference on October 2nd, then on Monday 6th met me for a soft drink only lunch (and this chat) before travelling to the combined Herts and Beds, Chilterns, and Harrow branch meeting in Watford.

The following day he travelled to Cheltenham for another branch meeting, with the Gloucestershire branch, and had dinner after that with the branch committee, getting back to his Heathrow hotel at 1am. He had a breakfast meeting at 8.30 the next morning before flying to Dubai to do another CIPS meeting in the Emirates on the 9th. Then he flew home to Australia the following day.

But he's kept up this pace pretty much all year. When he told me last year that he aimed to visit every UK Branch, I thought he was mad. (I managed about half a dozen in my Presidential year). But he's done it. Here is how he is judging himself against this personal KPIs:

Visit all 30 UK branches - achieved

Visit 50 branches worldwide – almost achieved - 48!

Personally meet over 4,000 CIPS members (at branches, conferences etc) - achieved almost 5,000. Lardner reckons he has attended around 70 separate CIPS events.

Visit 10 countries – achieved. He's visited three African countries, three in the Middle East, China, as well as UK and Australasia of course.

It is a very impressive set of “results” and Lardner reckons to have spent around 25% of his time this year on CIPS business. Now he has the advantage of running his own business, so he’s not on the nine-to-five treadmill. But on the other hand, that means no-one is giving him a corporate pay-cheque whilst he's doing this CIPS work. It really is a very admirable achievement, the only problem being that all future Presidents will be measured against his performance this year!

When we met, we talked about how CIPS "manages" its Presidents, which has improved out of all recognition in the last ten years - credit to David Noble, the Easton team and the various CIPS committees for this. Presidents are more rigorously briefed, they are "looked after" by a designated Easton person, and generally there is much more of a professional approach to getting the most out of the President and the Presidency than there used to be.

I asked Lardner what the highlight of his year has been. "Getting out and meeting people" was his first response, but he also highlighted the way members have embraced his Presidential theme – the “pay it forward” idea of doing a good deed for someone, who will then do the same themselves and so on.

“What members have done is wonderful – it’s been generous and creative. I hope it becomes part of the DNA of the profession for the future” he says. He’s also been touched by the appreciation members have shown to him, recognising his efforts in getting out and about so vigorously. “That’s been really motivating, and makes all the 23 hour flights worthwhile”!

Then, the killer question - anything you would do differently if you did it all over again?

"I would look to organise my all-staff meeting at Easton House earlier in the year. It was so useful and I realised I should have done it right at the beginning rather than half way through the year".

So Lardner will go down as one of our more notable and influential CIPS Presidents I’m sure, both as the first antipodean, but also for his herculean efforts in connecting with the wider membership. Congratulations to him, to CIPS and to the nominations committee of course, that mysterious group that makes these decisions on the top appointments.

BabsLet's hope their choice of Babs Omotowa as the new President works out as well for 2015 (and congratulations to him as well).  He's a seriously senior guy, and according to his LinkedIn page, his theme will be "The Institute Has Come Of Age - Raise Your Game, Raise Your Voice", so we look forward to learning more about that too.

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