Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management – Change is Worth It!

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A new year has started and so have the New Year’s resolutions.  I am no different than anyone else – I want to lose XX pounds and this is the year I am finally going to do it.  In the back of my mind, though, all I can think of is “it’s going to be HARD!!”  I know because I have tried it before and failed miserably and have no reason to believe that this time it is going to be any different.  On a another note, as I was trying to decide on my topic for today I came across an article in HBR that provided me with inspiration, both personally and professionally for this blog – “Stop Using the Excuse, Organizational Change is Hard”.   I hear this excuse every day from clients that are trying to make the journey from Purchasing to Strategic Sourcing and from Strategic Sourcing to Category Management.  Some have tried two to three times and like me (with my weight) have failed.  They have adopted the mindset that “Change is Hard” and have given up. 

We all know change is hard but change is also WORTH IT.  It requires a strategy, commitment to fulfill that strategy and effort (not necessarily easy things to do).  We (The Mpower Group) held a webinar yesterday on our “Secret Sauce” to successfully making the journey from Strategic Sourcing to Category Management and Change Management was a key element.  One of our polling questions for our 100+ attendees was: Does your group have a Change Management process that is fully integrated into your Sourcing / Category Management process?  The results were frightening (grrrrrrr):  80% said NO; 20% said YES.  Now, I understand why clients make numerous attempts to make this change and the results are always the same – failure.  It might be time to do something different – develop a change management strategy, commit to fulfilling it and make sure you devote the time, EFFORT and resources to make it happen. 

For years, the theory was that 70% of change efforts fail; traced back to the 1993 book “Reengineering the Corporation” by Hammer & Champy.  Having heard this over and over for more than two decades has planted the seed in our mind that failure is the norm and has in many ways become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Every little failure/setback along the way (and they will happen) becomes the indicator that failure is inevitable.   I, for one, would like to change the narrative to “Change is Worth It”.  If it wasn’t, why do we keep trying to make it happen again and again?  If we start to focus on all the benefits we can derive from the change as opposed to the pain, it will exponentially increase our chance for success.  Here are the benefits of making the change from Strategic Sourcing to Category Management:

What is reflected above is a list of the benefits your organization can achieve by making the change.  But, each individual that is being asked to change must see the benefit for themselves.  If you are a Sourcing professional this change WILL significantly enhance your career:

  • Increased skill set (strategic competencies)
  • Highly sought after in the marketplace
  • Highly sought after by other departments within your own company
  • Higher compensation
  • One step closer to the “C” Suite
  • Stronger internal relationships
  • Exposure to and experience in influencing Executives
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

Let’s use this new year as the starting point for a different conversation.  Instead of “Change is Hard” let’s focus on “Change is Worth IT” and put in the effort and energy to make the change happen.  By the way, I am one week into my personal “change” and, so far, it is going well and it’s Worth It 😊!   

Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . . . . . 

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Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.

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