Jack Welch once noted that the only two departments that drive revenue directly to the bottom line are sales and procurement. He noted that the other departments were basically overhead. I would also include supply chain professionals in this revenue generating group.
Why do organizations continue to use high priced consultants and consulting firms instead of their own talented employees? Before I answer this, I must confess that I am an experienced consultant having worked for both small and large consulting firms.
Procurement’s role in an organization touches across many departments, suppliers, countries, and competitors. This situation requires that procurement professionals possess excellent communication skills and the ability to quickly adapt to different cultures, perspectives and crises.
Leadership by Storytelling: The Best Way to Learn Good Leadership Skills, by Dr. Tom DePaoli, is the latest in a long line of books that are firmly based in reality and provide advice that is easy to put into practice. I’ve read and reviewed many of Dr. Toms’ books and you won’t find the same kind of time-tested, easy to read books from many other authors in our field. If you find yourself thinking that most procurement books seem too academic, he may just be your new favorite author.
In this latest book, Dr. Tom focuses on the importance of developing leadership skills by leveraging storytelling, a practice he employs in the book. He shares many of the best leadership experiences from his career and clearly points out the lesson to be learned from each one.
Dr. Tom DePaoli recently released Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse. It is a collection of the best advice he has to give on topics ranging from relationships to negotiation to Kaizens and storytelling. Since I’ve read all of Dr. Tom’s books, I consider it something of a personal challenge to uncover the material he has added – either because the focus of the book is different or because professional priorities continue to change over time.
Like Dr. Tom’s other books, this is for professionals that don’t have the time (or desire) to lose themselves in a 300-400 page book of polished academic theory. His sections are short and to the point and draw in material from third party sites as well as his other writing. You can read one or two sections as time allows and not have any trouble picking up in a different place the next time you sit down.
One of the most powerful things you can do with broken windows management is to empower your employees to fix their own issues whenever possible.” (p. 35)
In his fifth business book (seventh overall) Dr. Tom DePaoli takes broken windows theory and combines it with liberal doses of lean methodology and his own no-nonsense approach to process improvement. While this is not a long book, just 70 pages long, it is a working book. This is emphasized by the pages at the back that are specifically designated for “Doodles, Notes, and Ideas.”
This is (probably) the last in what became an impromptu three-part series on The Point about the value of storytelling for procurement. Part 1 considered applications of the idea in general. In part 2, Dr. Tom DePaoli provided a real world example and some further guidance. The post that started it all, on Executive Presence by Chip Scholz, can be found here.
Editor's note: on July 24th, I wrote a post 'On Storytelling and Procurement' in response to an executive leadership and communication post by Chip Scholz. Dr. Tom DePaoli, an author and management consultant, offered up some comments based on his own experience that were far too good to leave buried in a comments string. They are as follows:
One of the oldest methods of passing down knowledge is oral storytelling. Usually an ancient sage would be the keeper of the stories and pass them down to other tribe members. I highly recommend this method for supply chain professionals.
It is not unusual for me to get an email from a colleague asking me to read an article or post and then share my two cents. It is unusual that following through on such a request would take me on the wild ride that it did this week.
Let me retrace the steps – starting at the very beginning…
Kaizen Kreativity is the fifth book by Dr. Tom DePaoli, and the third one I have reviewed. Like his other books, Kaizen Kreativity combines examples from his diverse professional past with easy to comprehend definitions and background. His lack of pretension is particularly appreciated since he often relates cases about Lean and Six Sigma. For anyone without experience using these methodologies, the terminology can be off-putting at best, and in the worst case scenario may deter people from realizing their benefits altogether.
Two years ago, we posted our review of ‘Common Sense Purchasing’ by Dr. Tom DePaoli. In September 2012 he published a new book that reflects a broader perspective on his experience and our profession. By taking a step up – or back – however you chose to see the difference between purchasing and supply management, Dr. Tom takes a new look at the challenges and opportunities in supply management and presents them by sharing many of his own experiences as an independent management consultant in 'Common Sense Supply Management'.