Another HUGELY successful PERT workshop!! Ok, maybe there’s some hyperbole in there but it was definitely very well received and got great feedback. Here’s an almost exact quote, “I’ve been to many an event like this and this delivered the most value – ever!” The topic was how to become an indispensable function by playing the role of a consultant. And there were many CPOs and Directors who were initially surprised by the concept but then quickly aligned around it.
We started the conversation by discussing the demands being placed on our function (see below) and how it is critical to play the role of a consultant to deliver to those demands. In addition, the CPO must not only transform the procurement organization but also needs to change the environment (context) that they operate in and that requires playing the role of a consultant.
We then asked the senior leaders to list the attributes of a good consultant and here are some of the ones they came up with:
Next we asked them to strike out those that were not needed in Procurement – crickets 😊. There was total consensus that strategic competencies were far more critical in their organizations than the typical functional ones (RFP, negotiations etc.).
We also shared how client procurement organizations end up leading strategic initiatives in areas like Revenue, Strategic Workforce Planning, Corporate Risk etc. because they embraced the role of a consultant and developed the competencies needed to play that role. There was a fair amount of a pleasant surprise feeling around that and a unanimous desire for each one of them to get there.
We challenged each of the executives to start thinking about their organization as a small consulting company with the uniqueness of having one client – their company and being owned by their client. This proved to be quite a useful construct for them to be able to use effectively. We asked them to start thinking about their organization through the filter of the following attributes of a consulting practice:
The discussion centered around how they must ensure that they always have a steady stream of “consulting engagements” which in turn means constantly selling and marketing their services and having stories to tell about their successes. This elicited quite a bit of discussion and the admission that that is what they do with most of their time and effort – they just never thought about it that way!
We then got into a very meaningful dialogue about which competencies were critical for success and how to acquire those competencies. There was a significant amount of surprise around the fact that their people could actually be taught the consulting process and develop consulting skills. They had never heard that before and were very pleased. We assured them that our boot camp integrated Consulting AND Change Management process and skills with the Category Management process and that we had helped many, many clients across the globe develop consulting skills.
The workshop included an experiential learning module and the thousands of TMG alumni will fondly remember the one we used – Lutts and Mipps 😊 😊! We mentioned that we still run into people who went through our bootcamp 10 years ago but still remember everything about Lutts and Mipps as soon as we mention it – n’est ce pas? The module painfully teaches participants to plan and determine what data they exactly need to solve a problem and without applying the basics of the consulting process, they are doomed to failure – they all got it.
And they all agreed that unless a solution or recommendation is “sold” it is of negative value:
So, are you running or are a part of a small consulting practice in your company? Perhaps you should be if you want to become indispensable. If you would like to learn more, just reach out.
Our next PERT event will be in St. Louis on May 9th. Click here.