Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management? Working in Teams REMOTELY

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Before I start, please know that The Mpower Group has all our readers in our hearts and prayers as we all get through this very difficult time.

As Strategic Sourcing OR Category Management we are quite familiar with working in teams. It is THE most powerful way of building a collaborative environment and getting work done. As you move from Strategic Sourcing to Category Management this becomes even more important. Even though many of us work in a global organization where remote teaming is the norm, the recent restrictions we are all facing is presenting new challenges. How do we stay connected in a way that continues to build those VERY critical relationships (our Procurement colleagues, internal business partners and suppliers) that we all depend on?

Today, you are most likely working from home as are ALL of your colleagues. If working from home is NOT part of your normal routine, it is different to say the least. It has been made even more complex by the fact that it happened suddenly and did not give us much time to plan. A recent article in HBR, “A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers” offers some great advice on how to make working remotely most effective. While this article is geared toward managers and their staff, there are many take-aways for those of us that may be leading remote teams. Here are a few key take-aways from the article and from my own experience:

Maintain your daily routine – As the leader you need to quickly get into a daily work routine that mirrors what you did when you went to an office. Consider waking up at the same time and go through your normal daily morning activities and ask your team to do the same. Mentally, it will help you to set up your day as ‘business as usual”.

Video check-ins – Establish daily (or twice daily) VIDEO check-ins with your teams. Video does make all the difference in the world because it helps to replicate the in-person experience. Ensure that your team has the technology necessary to be able to participate. These days most video meetings can be conducted from a mobile device.

Add a personal moment – Your daily check-ins should include a touch of social interaction. Ask each team member to share something personal, much like what they might do at the office as they socially interact with their teammates. It can be as simple as talking about a new article they read or a new TV show they saw. This is a great way for your team to feel less isolated.

Be sensitive – We will all be dealing with personal distractions in the background that we need to be sensitive to. One team member may have an elderly parent wandering around the house, another may have a small child pulling at their pant leg while another may have a big dog barking in the background (that would be me 😊). Let’s understand that we all have “stuff” we are dealing with and need a little more patience these days.

Just because the world has been turned upside down does not mean that we can’t try to maintain a sense of “normal”. Reach out to your internal business partners and your suppliers at this time and maintain communication. Set up video calls to touch base – my guess is that they will appreciate the outreach as well as the distraction. We all need to feel like we are still connected so take this time to be a little more diligent in doing so with your teammates and your partners.

This too shall pass so let’s all stay safe and connected so that we come out on the other side better than ever 😊!

Please stay safe everyone! Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . . . .

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Anne Kohler
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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