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Forget Behavior: It’s all About Mindset


In a new Art of Procurement podcast series, Philip Ideson and I will  stop each month and take a look back at the podcasts, news, and topics of the previous four weeks. You can hear the January episode here:  Leveraging Storytelling To Better Connect With Your Stakeholders.

It’s interesting how different an idea can look when you consider it in the context of other information. Most of us read a few articles and posts and listen to a podcast of two during the month. When you have to look back at them, two things quickly become apparent:

  1. Even the best ideas fade from your memory much faster than you might expect. Something you read four weeks ago will practically seem new if you read it again.
  2. The best ideas live in the space between pieces of content. When you compare, contrast and summarize, you end up with an independent point of view that is much more valuable than any one source piece.

The links to this month’s podcasts are below, but here are some of the insights I found ‘in between’…


It Is All About People

Charlotte de Brabandt and Yannick Blattler talked about the differences between the generations currently in the workplace. As they explained, when we base our understanding of others on their behavior, we are forced to guess about their mindset. If, on the other hand, we start by trying to understand their mindset, we can see their behavior in a whole new light – one that more accurately reflects their perspective. When you add to that Joanna Martinez’s emphasis on positivity in all circumstances, I was reminded that we have to understand (and invest in) our own mindset as well. She advocates for a long-term approach that is highly reliant upon trust and relationships. After all, someone who seems insignificant today may be your boss tomorrow. Making the best of each situation requires our mindsets to meet.

Relationships notwithstanding, technology continues to be a dominant force in enterprises. We might expect that to eclipse the role of humans. My opinion is that this trend presents the ultimate opportunity to ‘grow the pie’. The more we need technology to compete, the more we’re going to need relationships to cope. Having frank, open conversations with our colleagues about change and opportunity leaves less to the imagination, and brings our mindsets together. Thinking long term also makes it easier to maintain our performance (and mental health) through the peaks and valleys of emerging technology.


Determining the Value of Category Expertise

Sarah Scudder is an entrepreneurial devotee of the print category. Her dedication to adding value in this category, not to mention her obvious enthusiasm for it, made me question my longstanding belief that in most cases, process expertise and strategic thinking are more important than specific category expertise – as long as the business knows the market well. She lives and breathes her area of expertise in a way that few of us have the luxury to. If that swung my point of view in favor or category mastery, a new initiative launched by the State of California made me wonder what procurement will do without it.

California’s new “Procurement Innovation Sprints” shift sourcing emphasis from requirements to objectives. That’s an easy idea to get behind. The scary part (my opinion) is that they do it by relying almost completely on the knowledge of external “industry experts” and non-government “SME’s”. The new process relegates procurement to a completely process-driven role. Who will be qualified to manage the contract and supplier relationship(s) through the changes that are bound to take place during the contract term? If there are no ‘Sarah’s’ in house, the resulting dependency will limit performance and delay decision making.


The Power of Language

Now this one is right up my alley (words are my BAG, baby!). Phil and I have been studying the impact that storytelling can have in content generation and industry outreach. For instance, if you look at the newly redesigned Art of Procurement website, you’ll see very little “we” and a whole lot of “you”. After all, it is what AOP can do for you that gives it a reason to be.

It isn’t easy to explain yourself in the context of your value to someone else, but it is a worthwhile exercise. If you’re interested in trying it, here’s your opportunity. The first few people who send us their ‘pitch decks’ or the slides you use to explain procurement to internal stakeholders, will get some complimentary feedback on how you can make your words work for you.


Here are links to the posts and podcasts included in our conversation:

Podcast Episode 234: How To Help Your Millennial And Gen Z Colleagues Succeed And Shape The Future Of Procurement W/ Charlotte De Brabandt And Yannick Blättler

Podcast Episode 235: Building Meaningful Brands On Personal Connections W/ Sarah Scudder

Podcast Episode 236: Embrace The Churn: Real World Advice On Positive Disruption W/ Joanna Martinez

Is California Reinventing The RFP Process? Philip Ideson, 16 Jan 2019


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