Search This Blog

Monday, 24 April 2017

How to use one of the Soft Skills Postcards

"How do we use the Soft Skills postcards?" was one question arising from a discussion about the newly launched Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit.

The toolkit contains a series of postcards written to Procurement from a selection of Soft Skills - there's been a couple of blogs to give you a flavour so far - one on Change Management and one on Emotions.

As with any of the unconventional tools I use in my coaching or training there's always a positive intention behind using them. ALWAYS.

In this instance the postcards have been written with the aim of starting a conversation about Soft Skills - what are they? what do they help you achieve? what are the implications of not using a Soft Skill well or at all? how is your relationship with them currently helping or hindering you? what does good look like? what about not so good? what steps might you want to take to develop a particular Soft Skill more fully? when will you take those steps? how will you check the outcome or impact of those actions? and so on.

The postcards just provide these discussions with a different perspective or two.

Let's consider the postcard sent to Procurement from Change Management:

POSTCARD

Dear Procurement,

In preparation for the launch of the Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2017 we were looking at the insights from 2016. Unfortunately I'm not sure it was such a good idea, as we ended up being very upset to see that only 46% of those participating thought Change Management was an important skill, where as 80% thought Communication and Soft Skills were.

Ignoring the semantics of whether Change Management is a soft skill, we're a little puzzled by the outcome. To that end, we've invited Problem Resolution and Creativity over for a meal during the week to help explore what we could be doing differently to raise awareness of how much of what Procurement does involves Change Management.

If you're putting in place a new system, a new process or wanting a wider set of KPIs we're involved. If you're changing suppliers we're involved both internally and externally. If you're developing sourcing, category or relationship strategies were involved. We're also involved if you're wanting to implement or roll out a new contract. In short there's very little of what you do that doesn't include us.

We agree Communication and Influencing skills are great, but how you use them is informed by what you're wanting to do, and if that involves change then there's other factors at play that you need to be aware of before you can decide on a communication or influencing strategy.

It would seem we need to adopt some of our own models to help you change your views about what we're saying. We may need to go back and review the different words we use to depict change.

We look forward to making the journey with you, so that together we can truly transform organisational Procurement.  

With Love from Change Management 

The aim of the Postcard is to provide some food for thought about your relationship with Change Management.

Questions you may want to consider or, if you're working in a group, might discuss or explore include:
  • What is change management? 
  • What other words are used instead of change management? 
  • Does the choice of word have an impact on the recipient of the words? is that impact positive or negative?
  • What are the different models of change management? When would you use them? 
  • What procurement activity does change management apply to? What activities would it not apply to?
  • What are the implications or ignoring change management?
  • What elements of change management do you need to consider before developing a communication or influencing strategy?
  • What will you do to develop this skill further? 
Hopefully this example has given you a sense of just how useful these postcards could be as personal or team prompts to develop soft skills within your organisation.

Always happy to help with coaching, training, facilitation or development of a (conventional or unconventional) soft skills programme.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking Procurement Potential Using Unconventional Tools.

alison@alisonsmith.eu +44(0)7770 538159

How to buy, and more about the Purchasing Soft Skills Toolkit here.

© Alison Smith 2017

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Dear Procurement, with love from your Emotions


POSTCARD 

Dear Procurement,

Like many emotions the timing of this card could be better.

Here we are just starting to let the world know about the series of postcards from your Soft Skills, and we're already writing about emotions! At least Change Management managed to get a word in first yesterday.

That's emotions for you - they're not exactly the thing you can predict nor manage - excitement can just come upon you with no advance warning, so too despondency.

The reason for the card today is because we went to Falkirk at the weekend and saw this, and felt it was such a great image to represent your emotions.

Yes of course, we could have waited a while before sending the postcard, but wouldn't we just be doing what it's too easy to do, and hold back emotions just like the lock gates in the postcard.  

What's your relationship like with your emotions? Who has responsibility for and access to the keys to open the lock gates to release the emotions being held back?

Just a thought!

With love from your Emotions

For more on the Dear Procurement, with love from your Soft Skills Purchasing Coach Toolkit see here. A more generic version entitled Dear Human Being, with love from your Soft Skills is also available here.

Follow the link to a post providing an example of how to use the postcards to develop you or your team's Soft Skills.
© Alison Smith 2017

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Dear Procurement, with love from Change Management

POSTCARD
Dear Procurement,

In preparation for the launch of the Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2017 we were looking at the insights from 2016. Unfortunately I'm not sure it was such a good idea, as we ended up being very upset to see that only 46% of those participating thought Change Management was an important skill, where as 80% thought Communication and Soft Skills were.

Ignoring the semantics of whether Change Management is a soft skill, we're a little puzzled by the outcome. To that end, we've invited Problem Resolution and Creativity over for a meal during the week to help explore what we could be doing differently to raise awareness of how much of what Procurement does involves Change Management.

If you're putting in place a new system, a new process or wanting a wider set of KPIs we're involved. If you're changing suppliers we're involved both internally and externally. If you're developing sourcing, category or relationship strategies were involved. We're also involved if you're wanting to implement or roll out a new contract. In short there's very little of what you do that doesn't include us.

We agree Communication and Influencing skills are great, but how you use them is informed by what you're wanting to do, and if that involves change then there's other factors at play that you need to be aware of before you can decide on a communication or influencing strategy.

It would seem we need to adopt some of our own models to help you change your views about what we're saying. We may need to go back and review the different words we use to depict change.

We look forward to making the journey with you, so that together we can truly transform organisational Procurement.    

With Love from Change Management 


The above image is one of the postcards sent to Procurement from Change Management. Where ever they go Change Management always seem to end up having to deal with the stick in the muds, as they shared in the postcard included in the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit: Dear Procurement, with love from your Soft Skills! 

The toolkit includes a selection of postcards sent to Procurement from a number of their Soft Skills. Their aim is to engage procurement in a discussion about how to use Soft Skills more effectively. Yesterday's post was an introductory postcard, tomorrow's post is a postcard from your emotions. Follow the link to a post providing an example of how to use the postcards to develop you or your team's Soft Skills.

To buy the toolkit please see the right hand side of the screen, or follow this link where you'll also find out more about the toolkit, and about bespoke versions of the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit that can be developed to meet organisational or professional needs. (A variant entitled Dear Human Being, with love from your soft skills has been developed, and is also available and applicable to a wider audience.)

There's also a few vlogs that provide insight into how a different perspective provided by the postcards might help.
© Alison Smith 2017