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Thursday, 15 June 2017

The world needs your inner hero - NOW

If 200 firefighters could walk into that burning building anything is possible. Imagine therefore what difference we would make if we all acted from own inner hero?

Little did I realise at the start of the year how much I would be reminded of our shared humanity as the year progressed. At the time I shared my desire to ensure that we don't leave our humanity at the office door. 


As recent events here in the UK have demonstrated it's our humanity that we have in common. It's our humanity that means people will put their differences to one side, and go to extraordinary lengths to help another. It's also our humanity that means that people are now looking for sustainable change so that the mistakes of the past are never repeated.

If we can continue to keep our hearts open, and take the level of humanity we've seen in recent weeks and months into the work we do - just think what difference we could all make in organisations, politics and beyond.

The world needs your inner hero - NOW. 

More here on what started out as a potentially stretching objective for the year - 'to not leave our humanity at the door'.

Alison Smith
Unlocking potential using unconventional tools

#innerhero #humanity

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Self-Confidence - the difference between success and failure


Self-Confidence is often the major differentiator between failure and success – which is why it surprises me that we so often ignore what we could be doing to increase our own, or our team’s confidence. I'd go as far as to say that, certainly in the UK, anyone expounding their confidence too loudly and saying "I believe in me" would be labelled as arrogant rather than assured. Despite confidence's positive impact on personal and organisational performance. 

When I undertook my modelling project on negotiation I discovered that the major differentiator between a successful negotiation, and an unsuccessful one was the level of confidence someone felt before entering the negotiation room.

Not so unsurprising really when you think about it.

It leads us to then consider what benefit a 5% increase in confidence delivers? Or does the benefit only get interesting when confidence increases 50% or perhaps even 100%. Or is confidence on a more digital scale where we simply do or don't have confidence?

Confidence banishes a number of emotions and thoughts that hinder success, and delivers other characteristics that support our success. In and of itself not a guarantee of success, and yet something that certainly improves the probability of success.

Why bother some ask? And that's the crux of this post – I bother because it's the single biggest outcome of the coaching sessions I provide. I know that as a result of that increase in confidence my client is able to do something that they previously wouldn't have been able to do.

Confidence can banish, reduce or negate
  • Fear or dread
  • Doubt
  • Negativity 
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Comfort zones
  • Resistance 
  • Rigidity
Confidence can provide, enhance or support
  • Clear thinking
  • Clarity of communication
  • Creativity & innovation
  • Improved decision making
  • Motivation for action
  • Openness to change
  • Flexibility of approach
  • Ability to address or tackle issues head on
  • Joy for life
  • Self expression
All aspects that impact performance - on an hourly not just daily basis.

Confidence can wax and wane, and the key for anyone is therefore understanding what work's for them in getting confidence back when it's evading them.

Future posts this month will explore the processes for increasing our confidence.

What benefits does confidence provide you - please do leave your suggestions in comments below or on the LinkedIn discussion I started. More importantly what tools do you have in your toolkit for ensuring your, or your team's, confidence is available when it's needed?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking Potential using unconventional tools 
alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 7770 538159

You may also find the postcard written to Procurement with love from confidence of interest - it's one of many postcards written from our soft skills brought together in the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit. The toolkit provides an unconventional means of exploring soft skills and their development. 


The notes from a recent talk at a CIPS branch meeting on Soft Skills for Procurement Success, that used the toolkit as the content for the session, may also provide insight.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Would your team win gold at Chelsea?

I love watching the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – it’s the time of year when I yearn for greener fingers – or perhaps it’s just more time to use them.

The pride, passion and enthusiasm for all things horticulture is conveyed in the many TV programmes as they interview the winners, runners up, and anyone involved in this wonderful show. 

Tears, laughter and relief mix as they finally receive the feedback on all their efforts.

Yesterday it was announced that the M&G Garden designed by James Basson won the prestigious Best Show Garden 2017. (The above video is the making of the garden based on a quarry in Malta - here's a tour of the finished garden). 

Every year hearing their stories has me considering what is needed in order to even get to Chelsea never mind win gold or even best show garden. For me it includes:
  • Commitment & passion for what they do
  • Effective Team work
  • Great design, planning & creativity – often having taken a year or more to do
  • Attention to detail
  • Timely implementation – they have 3 weeks on site to get the gardens ready for judging on the Sunday (brought forward a day this year), followed by a week of visitors
  • Spot on plant selection & quality – with weather significantly impacting what’s at its best for that one short week
  • Careful and loving planting
  • Meticulous plant care and maintenance
The project success has much to do with all the things I've listed - failure on any one of these and they might have failed. As head gardener and designer for the project James Basson will have been responsible for ensuring it all worked perfectly.

For whatever you're head gardener of - could you say the same?

Would your effort on tending to those in your team enable them to win you a best in class? Do you have the passion? How much planning have you done? Are you attending to every detail? Are you giving it, and them the care they need? and would you delight in their success?

What seeds do you need to sow today for your team to win best in show later in the year?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach

Unlocking potential using unconventional tools

Another Chelsea inspired post this week was entitled Benefiting from the fruits of your labours, I also wrote a LinkedIn post about learning from Chelsea in order to bust some moulds, shift perceptions and expand comfort zones whether in Procurement or more broadly.