Next Practices Xchange – a “Community of Practice” for Executives and Leaders

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We are often approached by senior executives lamenting the fact that they don’t really have a place to meet with their peers and xchange ideas, challenges, solutions, etc., etc.  They don’t like to go to conferences because either they don’t get to interact with their peers, they keep getting sales pitches because organizers are charging suppliers for generating leads, their topics are not addressed, they don’t have a mechanism to follow up with others, etc., etc.  A number of groups  they are part of charge exorbitant fees ($50K+) and  do not deliver commensurate value.  It was with this in mind that the Best Practices Xchange was launched a few years ago and it was very well received.

It was such a success and was generating enough value that the group decided to rename itself   “Next Practices Xchange” with the notion being that NPX would provide the members opportunity to exceed (Next Practices) what  others were doing (Best Practices).  With severe budget crunches during the financial crisis, it went into hibernation but the exciting news is that a number of the original members have been pushing for re-invigorating the group and we are very excited to announce the re-launch of the Next Practices Xchange.  We are almost done reforming the Advisory Board (thank you to all of you that agreed to participate).

We would encourage each one of you to make sure that senior executives/leaders from your Supply Chain/Sourcing organization are aware of NPX and encourage them to join because here is what members have had to say:  

… An opportunity to discuss my ideas and plans with my peers … saved me endless hours in continuous improvement …”

“A great way for purchasing executives to share ideas … the intimate setting and member-driven agenda are much more useful than any annual convention.”

“..great forum for Supply Chain professionals to share challenges, solutions and successes … professionally coordinated, planned and executed.  I am looking forward to the next session.”

“..I can’t begin to tell you how much this meeting enlightened me to technology acquisition.. Hearing first hand from an executive who recently went through … is going to give me a huge advantage, both in selling the plan internally, and in negotiations with the vendors. I feel like I have an ace up my sleeve.”

There are some significant changes that are being made by request from the members.  Fundamentally, the goal is to establish a “Community of Practice” where this intimate group of leaders is learning and sharing with each other.  Towards that, there will be  more pro-active engagement  between meetings.  Sub-groups might be formed to tackle some issue and report back to the entire community.  Membership fees will be structured in such a way as to encourage bringing some direct reports to the session.  The inclusion of direct reports at these sessions (workshops) will ensure that they are hearing the same things as their leaders and then working on how to Adopt the ideas back in their organizations, in their own breakout sessions separate from the leaders.

While you may not think that this blog has anything to do with our regularly covered topics, I would point out that this is actually a model for collaboration (even amongst competitors and across industries) which has lots of application in stakeholder and supplier relationships.  NPX  is also a model for forming effective teams and group decision making.  Developing Communities of Practice should be on every single leader’s agenda.  And how to not only foster innovation but also get it Adopted must be of interest to all?

So please help us and your organization by making sure that you actively consider membership in NPX.  We promise that your organization’s quote, extolling the great value you received, will be on the next mailer.  And we keep our promises!

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Dalip Raheja
Dalip Raheja is President and CEO of The Mpower Group (TMG). Dalip has over 30 years of experience managing large organizations and change initiatives. He has worked across the spectrums of supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and management consulting.
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