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Friday, 21 December 2012

Festive update

What a year - the Purchasing Coach was set up and work has never been busier, I reached the 50 milestone and survived, had 3 holidays and saw much more of friends!

Lets start with work. As I struggled to explain what I did to Janet Torley she said in reply "aren't you The Purchasing Coach" and the rest as they say is history. This blog was born and so too a description that enables others to more easily understand what I do. After all I've always been very passionate about organisations taking their purchasing seriously and always encouraged purchasing departments to understand themselves and to communicate effectively with their internal stakeholders and stop the constant us/them/win/lose with suppliers. Why would I want to stop now?

Activity in 2012 has included: sourcing strategy implementation, category management project facilitation and coaching, purchasing team development, skills gap analysis & e-enabled category management implementation. 2013 starts with some procurement e-learning development - so never a dull moment.

The work has meant a lot of travelling and there will be another blog on the subject of trying to reduce the mileage for 2013. One upside of the travelling has been being able to: catch up with friends where ever I am, visiting the theatre or shops whilst in London and trips to Glastonbury and Castlerigg Stone Circle to name just 2 on route. I'm also more relaxed about turning up at a hotel @ 2230 when I haven't booked and being able to find a room for the night!!

I even managed to take holidays this year!! They started with a few days in Cumbria lambing - I loved it even if the arthritic knees didn't. I'm certainly hoping to go again in 2013. Nothing like lambing to take you back to basics and remind you what's important. My next holiday was at Findhorn to celebrate their 50th on the subject of Love Magic & Miracles (need I say more). The final break was a week in Bamburgh for my 50th starting with a girlie weekend. Blogs on learning from all these can be found here.

In other words a year spent doing what I enjoy, visiting places that inspire and ground me and laughing much with friends.

Sending you festive greetings as this year ends and wishing you and yours an abundant and laughter filled 2013.

With much love
Alison x

The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out

PS if you get to read the blogs you'll also see there's been a lot going on to improve my health and wellbeing as the picture of breakfast on the beach demonstrates :-)


Thursday, 13 December 2012

What's at the top of your purchasing Christmas tree?


Today I share the first of 2 festive blogs using my Christmas Tree as a reflection on life. Today's blog for Supply Management has a purchasing theme. One with more personal insights will be published on 24th December as part of Alison Chisnells #advent blogs - such a great idea to have guest blogs throughout Dec (and into Jan due to its popularity) on the subject of reflection and resolutions.

As I prepare to put up my Christmas tree I am reminded of when I spoke at this time of year at a purchasing conference and compared an effective procurement function to my tree. I’m sure it’s still as relevant today as it was then.

When picking a tree it’s useful to think about the space you have available, so too the time you have available and the outlay needed to decorate it. It’s taken me years to gather together all my beautiful shiny baubles and certainly couldn’t have afforded to buy them all in the first year. Now however I do have the balls to decorate my 9ft tree. There was one year however that the tree sat their undecorated until the 6th Jan as I ran out of available time and enthusiasm.

Isn’t it the same when setting up a procurement function – you certainly need the enthusiasm, resources and budget to do it. In other words sometimes it might be better starting off with a small tree that you know you can decorate than a huge tree that could just sit there undecorated!

Every tree needs a firm foundation. For me the firm foundation for our teams are provided by appropriate leadership, management and procurement policy, processes and procedures. Without that you may end up crashing to the floor as my fully decorated tree did last year.

The lights are essential to any successful Christmas tree – so too effective stakeholder engagement. I just fear that too often they’re left to blow a fuse or bulb with the replacements well and truly hidden in that safe and yet impossible place to find. Checking every bulb before use will certainly help avoid that.

The baubles add the colour, texture and variety to the tree. They determine the theme and often the reaction from others. So too the buyers, category managers, analysts, contract and supplier managers within your procurement team. I spend some time the day after decoration rearranging the baubles to ensure they’re in the right spot to provide an evenly adorned and visually appealing tree. NB: It’s also useful to check they’re placed not too near the end of the branch otherwise the hoover, cat or anyone walking by may just dislodge them.

The star at the top of the tree (I decided against an angel or fairy this year) represents the leadership support you have within the organisation for applying best practice procurement. They provide the light that others look up to to follow their lead.

Whilst everyone might love looking at the gorgeous Christmas tree often they’re just interested in the presents that Santa leaves under the tree. For Procurement that’s the presents delivering value through cost reduction or avoidance, risk mitigation, quality & service improvements, revenue generation and so on. Funny I think they do appreciate them more when they’re gifted wrapped – although at the time of writing I have yet to buy one present so best take action and do something about it otherwise no presents under my tree this year!

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Reflections and Resolutions

What a great idea to ask for blog contributions for Advent. Here's my contribution to Alison Chisnell's advent blog on 'reflections and resolutions'.

I love decorating my Christmas tree and as I do I share reflections and resolutions that it brings to mind.

The Tree - I love buying a real rather than artificial Christmas tree just for the smell alone - although I could do without all the needles getting everywhere! This year my biggest, hardest and yet most liberating learning has been to 'just be me and know I am enough'. To know that the artificial tree's 'perfection' comes from outside itself and therefore is a poor imitation of the real thing. To know that each real tree is unique because of where it was planted and the growing experiences it has encountered as a result. To finally know, and accept, that being a true reflection of all that I can be, in all my uniqueness, is real perfection.

The Tree Base - a Christmas tree is nothing without a firm base. Last Christmas I got it horribly wrong and my fully decorated tree fell over smashing a number of baubles as the base wasn't secure enough. Perhaps I should have realised it was foretelling the problem I was to have throughout the year with my 'arthritic' knees. It's interesting that things started to come together once I'd taken steps to enable my knees to get their strength and stability back. Steps that included interventions for mind, body, heart & soul.

The Lights represent the path I have followed - each bulb a step forward. Each year a little different in quantity of lights and their brightness. Although there's always the odd blown bulb waiting to be replaced if only I knew where the spare bulbs were. Perhaps buying an extra 400 lights last week reflects my resolution to be the light in 2013 as Marianne Williamson encourages us to in her wonderful piece 'our deepest fear'.

The Tinsel is a sparkly and constant thread throughout my life representing the friends, family, colleagues and tweeple who support me on my journey. Each offering inspiration, support, laughter, love, acceptance, suggestions and/or feedback - all gratefully accepted. The highlight this year was a girlie weekend away for my 50th - the first time in too long where I spent time with friends sharing happy memories, laughter & our hopes and dreams for the future. Something there will certainly be more of in 2013.

The Baubles each reflect the insights gathered over a life time - each chosen to co-ordinate with the rest of the decorations. With the occasional bauble that's there despite the incongruousness of its colour and design. This year I notice the kookaburra bought in the blue mountains in Australia, purchased as a reminder to accept my laugh. Yes it can be too loud and too often but is something that others find infectious and it is often complimented upon even in the strangest of places!

The Angel on the top of the tree represents my emerging belief in my intuition and small voice inside that guides my decisions. I spent a week in Findhorn in October to celebrate their 50th and was yet again reminded of the accuracy of my intuition. I continue to be challenged daily by the conflict between wanting to know why and the absence of that why when intuited to do or say something. Practice practice practice!

The Gift Wrapped Presents under the tree represent the gifts I have still to offer the world. A reminder perhaps, as I said in a blog at the time, that life begins at 50 and there is no time like the present to get out there and just be me.

Festive greetings
Wishing you an abundant 2013

Alison Smith The Purchasing Coach   And for those really observant amongst you yes I did use the same metaphor for what good practice purchasing looks like earlier in the month for my Supply Management blog :-)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Our Deepest Fear

Over recent weeks I've referred to this a lot so thought I'd share it here too:

Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous”.
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a "Course in Miracles"

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Don't go cold turkey this Christmas

I don't want you to go cold turkey this Christmas but I would like to you to consider your addictions and the impact they have on your life and how you may wean yourself off them. After all what benefits might there be in 2013 if your behaviour was no longer determined by your next fix of: tweeting, blogging, reading emails, compliments, attention, news, chocolate, wheat, sugar, caffeine or what ever else you might be addicted to.

As you can see by addictions I'm not looking at those I have no qualifications and experience in ie addiction to illegal or prescription drugs, alcohol etc. I'm looking at the addiction we have to all the other things we say "I couldn't live without it for a day - I'd die". Perhaps a little extreme a reaction but I would like you to notice your reaction to you considering going 3 days without each of the following:
  • Access to emails
  • Access to the Internet
  • Eating chocolate or sweets
  • Drinking Caffeine in its many forms
  • Bread and other wheat products (pasta to name one)
  • Your favourite TV programme or Game (you know the one you watch or play repeatedly) 
  • Reading or watching the news
Now what about your reaction to going 3 days without:
  • Eating your favourite fruit or vegetable
  • Drinking water (by drinking other fluids instead)
  • Talking to a friend 
  • Writing to a colleague
  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music
  • Going to the library to use a reference book
If you're an addict then your reaction to going 3 days without anything on the first list is likely to be a lot different to your reaction to the second list. Although I know I am making an assumption about the unlikeliness of you being addicted to anything in the second list.

Of course some addictions hide and we're in denial about the impact they have on our lives. We only realise the strength of the addiction when we try going 3 days without something - although we do need to go 28 days to really get it out of our system.

As I've shared in blogs over the last few months I've been having problems with my knees. The doctor suggested a new knee and I thought I'd look at what else might be impacting the pain I was having. This blog isn't about the link between wheat and my pain it's a blog about how addicted I was to wheat without knowing it.

In the past, for a variety of reasons, I've tried many different exclusion diets - meat, alchol, dairy, nightshades (pots & toms) and had very few problems with doing so for up to 28 days or more in some cases. Although that first jacket potato with cheese and beans after the nightshade exclusion was pure bliss. It was a totally different story when I tried to give up wheat. A reaction that I can only put down to being addicted to wheat because it included:
  • Saying "It's impossible to have a meal without wheat"
  • Looking in my very full fridge and having no clue what I could make 
  • Being told, 4 weeks in, I was becoming boring because it was all I talked about
  • It was all I thought about too
  • Moodiness
  • Grumpy too
All I can say is if I had a healthy relationship with wheat and went without it for a time it shoudn't be noticeable to me or you. It certainly shouldn't consume my every waking moment. It certainly shouldn't stop my ability to see alternatives that exist in the situation.

What would consume your every waking moment if you gave it up and what steps will you take to easily release the hold of this addiction?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out

Cold turkey picture source: anothercreation.blogspot.co.uk via Alison on Pinterest

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Looking for the worst in people

In yesterday's blog I shared a card from the set I use when coaching clients. Today I'd like to share a couple more starting with this setback:
  • Looking for the worst in people? Expecting the worst situations? No wonder you live in a hostile and painful world *
This points to the fact that our thoughts have a significant impact on our reality. If I perceive the world as hostile I'll set my internal filters to notice all the hostile acts and ignore all the peaceful and loving acts. If I perceive the world as hostile I'll become defensive and look after myself and not think of others. If I perceive the world as hostile I'll judge every situation, every action, every word from that perception. Every person I encounter will be a potential threat and every event a potential disaster.

Even as I write the words I can feel my shoulders tightening and my face starting to grimace. Not a position it's easy to start being positive from or to start seeing the opportunities that exist within.

This second insight provides the antidote.
  • You use your critical perceptions to draw forth perfection, not tear it down *
A great reminder that we have a choice of how we use our minds. We can perceive the hostile and spiral down or perceive the opportunities and spiral up.

Next time you notice your thoughts spiralling down remember you have a choice to change direction.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Drawing forth perfection in purchasing not tearing it down

Picture above links to a video source: youtube.com via Alison on Pinterest
 It can be viewed directly here (it's a great reminder that even security camera's view the positive too - we just use them more often to focus on the opposite)

* The insight & setback cards used here are from the Transformation Game © Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Speak When Inspired

There's a card (*) I use when coaching that asks us to consider the impact of

'you speak when inspired and say nothing when you're not.'

It came to mind today as I searched for a subject to blog on. I've got a list of potential blog items with subjects that inspired me at the time of adding them to the list. The issue is that days have passed since then and they no longer resonate for me. They may resonate tomorrow but not today. So future blogs may touch on: not having time to listen, the impact of short term decision making, anger, lean conversations and our personal best.

This blog - well it's a reminder to only speak when inspired and say nothing when we're not. (If you forgive me the few lines it took to share the insight.)

Alison Smith
The Purchasing coach
Inspiring change inside and out

Mona Lisa picture source: en.wikipedia.org via Alison on Pinterest


* The insight card used here is from the Transformation Game © Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Fab at 50!

As I sit here in Bamburgh for a week of 50th birthday celebrations I'm reflecting on my first half century and the next one to come. I did have a vision of writing a number of lists of 50 but know the first point to be so true and thus offer a consolidated list of 50 with elements from all of these potential and imagined lists :-)

1. Keep it Simple
Something I could do well to remember more often.

2. Divorce
3. Self Employment
4. Peri Menopause!
Great reminders, if ever there was, that great things come from the challenges in life.

5. Joy
6. Laughter
7. Fun
8. Intuitive
9. Analytical
Are the gifts, that I must accept (not beat myself up about), that I share with others.

10. Follow my passion
11. What someone thinks of me is simply one opinion
12. Flow means I'm doing the right things (and walking in treacle often means I'm not)  
13. My intuition is spot on (and so I need to listen to it more/always)
14. 99.99% of what I worry about never happens
15. I get my energy from being with people - so working from home a lot isn't helpful
16. Thoughts create reality (so be careful what I believe and think)
Are the key insights from life that have driven the change from who I was, to who I am, to who I will become.

17. Politics and game playing at work (in other places too)
18. Blaming others and not taking personal responsibility
19. Profitability without giving
20. Win/lose mentality (not win/win)
21. Anger that serves no purpose
22. Us/them thinking (not we)
23. Lack of compassion
24. A health care system that thinks its acceptable to save someones life and then when the resulting quality of life is unacceptable deny them the means to die
25. Lack of communication (in soooooo many places)
Are, some of, the things I'd like to change in the world.

26. Complete writing my book and more importantly get it published
27. Stand up for, and take action, on what I believe needs to change in business
28. Continue to share insights on my blog and via social media
29. Always challenge the status quo (ie the ruts we get ourselves into)
30. Support the adoption of the living wage in every corner of the UK (with suppliers particularly)
31. Understand what advocating a living wage worldwide would mean (that sounds & feels huge!)
32. Achieve financial independence (so does that)
33. Achieve life balance - with even more fun & laughter
34. Sort my blinking knee out !!
Are on my To-Do list to be the change I want to see in the world.

35. Loving
36. Open
37. Trusting
38. Enthusiastic
39. Joyous
40. Positive
41. Challenging
Are on my To-Be list to be the change I want to see in the world.

42. Sustainable and life enhancing business practices
43. Everyone in the UK earning the living wage (or more)
44. Discussion about what a living wage means worldwide
45. People I work with inspired to make the changes they need to in their work & life
46. The qualities in my To-Be list embraced in business (politics & foreign affairs too)
Are the positive outcome of my actions (I hope, pray and trust anyway)

47. Life begins at 50
48. Age is in the imagination
49. 50 is sexy too :-)
Are things, I hope, to learn during the coming months.

On the 50th anniversary of my birth, as I celebrate the passage of time, the events, the insights, the friendships, the tears, the laughter, the frustrations, the challenges and the achievements, I remember the ultimate truth that I can....

50. Just be me and know I am enough

Happy Birthday to me,
With Love
Alison x
Encouraging change inside and out

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Business values and payment of the living wage

I suspect your business values would point to you paying the living wage - so I do hope you are already paying it or have steps in place to rectify the situation internally and with your suppliers. 

It’s living wage week this week here in the UK - where organisations are being asked by the Living Wage Foundation to sign up to paying a living wage – ie a wage that enables those in receipt of it to meet the basic costs of living. In London that figure is £8.55 and outside London £7.45 (£1.26 more than the recently increased minimum wage).

I can feel the resistance already of many organisations not supporting payment of the living wage. I'm sure as living wage week progresses there will be many others who can more adequately answer some of the concerns raised. One point I'd like to make, and it would be funny if it wasn't so serious a point as I only blogged yesterday about the validity of values statements, is this:  

Values are how we determine what action to take - the same should be the same for business values. If we have a decision to make we should be able use the values statement as criteria for determining if it's a yes or a no! Let's just see how some common business values fair when asked "should I be paying the living wage?"
  • Respect 
  • Lead by example
  • Honest
  • Socially responsible
  • Integrity
  • Open
  • Value the individual
  • Dignity
  • Standards of excellence
That's a yes then.

Even if an organisation has included the need for profitability in their values statement, and most don't, I'd suggest meeting all the other values would negate the extra £44 per week per person you may be needing to pay. Especially as a procurement professional I could save you that in a heart beat from somewhere else. At least you could then hold your head high and know your profitability isn't at the expense of respecting and giving dignity to those who work for you on a wage significantly less than most of us reading this blog.

What can you do to ensure your organisation signs up to pay the living wage internally and to it's suppliers?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for the payment of the living wage by our suppliers too

Living Wage Foundation logo source: livingwage.org.uk via Alison on Pinterest

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Business Values - do they exist?

I read a tweet about value's led leadership this morning - and whilst I don't know what the tweeters mean by the term it had me thinking. After all - every leadership action comes from a value - the problem is sometimes these actions and the arising outcomes from them are not what we'd want them to be. For example the bankers back in the noughties were making decisions based on their, and possibly even the organisation's, values. Unfortunately the value hierarchy they were operating with led to the worldwide crisis - in other words not values we'd all support!

I wrote a blog back in 2011 about whether I think organisations can even have values and share it again here.

Values are what drive all our behaviours. What values aren’t - are things we decide or even choose to have ie they’re not conscious they’re unconscious. See last week's blog for more on personal values.

The challenge is can we translate personal values into business values? I know many organisations have published values statements but I wonder can we really suggest the current values statements used by most organisations are the same or even similar to our personal and unconscious values? And therefore should we be even calling them such? I’d suggest not - for a number of reasons:
  • When eliciting personal values we start with an individual’s behaviour to understand the value(s) driving that behaviour. Business values seem to work the other way round and simply become aspirational choices rather than something that reflects or explains current actions. 
  • Personal values cover ALL our actions. Many business values seem to concentrate on the ‘softer’ aspirational values and forget about the ‘harder’ values that would inform for example the strategic direction, profitability or pricing choices made. 
  • Even if people have the same core value, what behaviours they judge to be acceptable or unacceptable will differ greatly. Why else, for example, are there numerous linkedin group discussions exploring what integrity or honesty mean. Business values statements are therefore useless without a statement of behaviour to identify what the values looks like for that organisation. 
  • Because they’re our personal values it’s automatic for us to behave in ways that support them. Unless our values are aligned with an organisation’s it’s likely we may find taking on its values and associated behaviours difficult. If they’re in conflict with our own even more so. I certainly don’t see much evidence of values based alignment in interviews or restructuring when new or updated values statements are published.
  • Making any changes to our personal values and/or their hierarchy (ie their relationship to each other) is not easy. Yet many organisations’ management teams seem to issue a new and improved values statement every few years and assume it’ll work.
Which all means I’d much prefer we found a different term for all those business values statements and yes even for values led leadership. After attending a session with Alisoun Mackenzie this morning on heart centered leadership I wonder if that's what we should be aspiring for?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for purchasing behaviour aligned with business values heart centered leadership

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Coaching insights on being heard

I use a tool with individuals and groups called the Frameworks For Change Coaching Process *. It's a wonderfully insightful tool and as it's been a long time since I shared it via social media I thought I'd do so today on a challenge faced by many in procurement. 

Let's imagine I have a situation where what I'm saying is being ignored. I know what I'm suggesting makes sense. I know it will benefit those I'm speaking to and the business as a whole. In fact I'd go so far as to say it will help the business achieve it's goals - especially around reducing costs and increasing profitability. It will even help reduce risks and in some organisations increase revenue. What is there to not to want to engage with? Yet many stakeholders don't want to and will do everything they can to ignore us. I touched on stakeholder engagement in a previous blog but I wonder what additional insights the Frameworks For Change Coaching Process * may have to offer. Let's see. 

There are 3 sets of cards and it's the response to the question asked by each of the different cards that provides the insight to the situation. Obviously here in the blog it's only my insight you're getting. In coaching sessions it's richer for others' points of view and the dialogue and enquiry that takes place around each card.

Insight card: You were brilliant, firm, and steady in a very rocky situation
I know for me that I can come away from some conversations and think I was perhaps too firm and that small voice inside starts to question my style. Perhaps I should have said it this way not that etc and on and on... and sometimes... on and on.

I think my takeaway from this card is that sometimes we do have to be firm and steady even when the other person is clearly unhappy with our response. For me so long as I listen to my intuition on when to be firm and not my ego I'll be ok!

Remember sometimes people have to hear a new idea many times (some would suggest over 7) before they start to accept it's validity or even start to be open to think about it's applicability to them. So keep going and keep engaging.

Potential Setback card: You are setback by COMPLAINING in the current situation.
Ouch! I wrote a blog about taking personal responsibility last week and not blaming others. By doing that we understand what we can do to facilitate the change we want to see in the situation rather than sit back and wait for the other person to take action.

This card, however, isn't simply about finding a solution to the complaining - it's about recognising the impact complaining has on us and on those we're communicating to and with. Complaining is very time consuming and it's also a very draining and negative activity. It, therefore, can't but help have negative consequences on the rest of our day.

Remember it's very difficult to be inspired and creative after we've just had a good moan! I'd suggest therefore it's about recognising the 'complaining' energy before it gets hold of us and our stakeholder and make a choice to change tack - even if that's just to one of constructive feedback. That at least will shift the energy to a more positive one that allows for solutions to be found and opportunities discovered. I'm not sure a complaining energy allows for that! I wrote more on state management in yesterday's blog.

Insight Card: You value and express the quality of ACCEPTANCE in the present situation.
It's easy to get carried away with wanting to change the world or your part of it anyway. The challenge is in understanding the difference between firm and steady and being like a bulldozer! Acceptance gives us that understanding. Acceptance that others may never see it the same as us, acceptance that others have other goals, acceptance that they disagree with us, acceptance that we can't have the change today and it might take a bit longer.

Releasing our expectation and attachment to a certain outcome can allow for a more open and free energy between us and our stakeholder. Who knows what then may transpire as a result. 
  
Mentor: Trust
This card asks us to think about someone who is a role model to us for, in this instance, Trust. What would they do, feel, say in the situation. For me I get a sense that's not about giving up, it's about continuing to be firm, continuing to communicate and continuing to have faith and trust that the message will get through - in time.

I'd love to hear what insights you got from the cards and this exploration of them.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective personal and interpersonal skills for your purchasing team

* The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from the Frameworks for Change ® Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com.

* I wrote some notes many moon and life times ago on 'Keeping on track in a downturn' and whilst out of date regarding my contact details it may provide some insight on how this tool might be used in a group setting.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What state are you in?

I went to the top of Glastonbury Tor at the weekend and it was a beautifully sunny, if also very cold and windy, day. Once at the top I managed to get right up against the Tor and shelter from the wind and spent over an hour and half there.

A tweet I sent at the time reflected that it's one of the few places in the world that I am able to stop. I don't fidget. I don't feel the need to move. I don't feel the need to do much. I wouldn't say lots of thinking goes on either. Generally I just look out and chat with others who join me for their 15 mins at the top.

On further reflection I realise that it's a place that helps me be more grounded - a trait I can sometimes misplace and allow the headless chicken to take control.

I wondered about the difference places that I visit - each with a different state they help me achieve:
  • Glastonbury - Grounding
  • Findhorn - Intuiting
  • Cumbria - Peaceful
  • Bamburgh - Relaxed
  • Florida - Laughing
  • Sydney/New York - Inspired
  • Uluru - Connected
I think my current home here in Burntisland perhaps offers a little of all of these which is why I stay when so much of my work is down south.

We often think our state is determined by what's happening to us - a bad day means a bad mood, a good day the opposite, a long awaited meeting possibly apprehension and our first date excitement. It's true these events can lead to us choosing to feel that way. We do, however, have a choice - it's not the bad day that directly led to a bad mood - in between there was a choice made about our response to the day.

When it's hard to make the most resourceful choice that's when doing things that help us achieve the desired state kicks in. I might not be able to go to Sydney every time I want to be inspired but I can tap into the people, books, films, clothes, colours, music etc that help me become inspired.

What state would help you most today and what could you to do to access it more easily?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for resourceful states for all your purchasing team (in the whole of the UK and even more work in Scotland would be GREAT)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Who am I?

As part of the theme on self awareness and the ways that it's lack can be the cause of much distress in our lives, at work and at home, I'd like to look at our identity. That is the person that we believe ourselves to be - the answer we give when asked "Who are you?" or even sometimes the answer we give to "What do you do?"

I'd like you to read each of the following in turn and then take a moment to try it on. That is to act as if that identity is meaningful to you and to notice what you notice - what happens to your body posture, to how you're feeling, thinking and noticing and what you're doing?
  • I am a woman/man (delete as appropriate)
  • I am a mother/sister/daughter/wife/father/brother/son/husband (delete as appropriate)
  • I am a friend
  • I am an old woman/man
  • I am a middle aged woman/man
  • I am a young woman/man
  • I am a leader
  • I am a follower
  • I am an entrepreneur
  • I am a businessman/woman
  • I am an employee
  • I am a troublemaker
  • I am a peacemaker
  • I am a purchaser (replace with your own profession)
Perhaps you felt very comfortable, or uncomfortable with some of these, did you fidget or perhaps sit up straighter? The fact is that what ever identity we have about ourselves in a given context will impact how we feel, how we think and how we behave. It can't therefore but impact the reaction others have to us in that situation either.

For example:
  • 'I'm a follower' might lead to passive behaviour in a meeting even if you really have the solution to the problem.
  • 'I'm an old woman' might lead, subject to your belief about age, to a choice of less than energetic pastimes and saying "No" to others' suggestions more.
  • 'I'm a troublemaker' might lead to disruptive behaviours.
  • 'I'm a purchaser' might lead you to behave as if anyone who isn't a purchaser, or what ever profession you're a member of, doesn't know as much as you.
Rather than allow old and possibly out of date identities to hijack your activities why not choose the perfect identities for you, ones that enable the most resourceful you to be present in every situation. This week I'm going to take the following identities with me into my work and notice what I notice:
  • I am a problem solver
  • I am a facilitator
  • I am a writer
  • I am a communicator
  • I am a beautiful woman :-) 
What identities will you choose?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds to purchasing understanding their identity and its impact on others

Peanuts picture Source: paulabliss.com via Alison on Pinterest

Saturday, 20 October 2012

How our values get in the way!

I wonder if you recognise any of these statements that you may have uttered about others in the past:
  • They're lazy
  • They just don't respect me
  • They're dishonest
  • They're just not focused enough
  • They treat some people so differently
  • They're selfish
  • They're too wishy washy
  • They just never finish anything
  • They talk all the time
  • They don't talk enough
These statements may or may not be true. What I find interesting is that our judgement of others, such as those made above, are impacted by our values. Other people with different values may not even understand such a statement made about someone, never mind agree with you, and may often ask "what do you mean?"

Values are what drive our behaviour. For example someone with a value of achievement might work late on a Friday night to finish a piece of work, whereas someone with a value of affiliation might instead leave work on time to go to the pub with everyone and finish the work on Monday. Their behaviours support them meeting their values - that is they do what's important to them. What your values are will determine which of these individuals you'd join on the Friday night and how you'd judge each of them.

The issue when we get annoyed with others is we forget that it's our values that are supporting the judgements we're making. We act as if the judgements we're making are true, factual and objective statements about the person. They're not - they're simply our view of the world.

Let's take "They're dishonest" as an example. The factors that might make someone utter these words depends on their definition of honesty which might be any one of the following:

  • They tell the truth
  • They tell the truth at work
  • They tell the truth when asked
  • They don't keep secrets
  • They don't tell lies
  • They only tell white lies
  • They do what they say they're going to do
  • They're true to themselves even if that means breaking a promise to someone else
With this list demonstrating as much about my definition for Honesty as anything. I was watching a film this weekend and realise I could also add:
  • They're honest about their feelings
  • They don't steal
I'm sure this list could be expanded further - please let me know what I've missed.

Even if we have the same definition (ie mix of the above) we might have different criteria for determining if someone meets the definition.
  • Assumed to be honest until proved otherwise (how many times would they need to get it 'wrong'?)
  • Assumed to be dishonest until proved otherwise (how many times do they need to prove it?)
In actual fact there are as many definitions for honesty as people having a view on it - each subtlety different from each other.

Next time you rush to judge someone why not explore the value that's impacting this judgement and understand how others might judge that behaviour differently. Perhaps more importantly if it's one of your core values recognise that the 'emotion' attached to your judgement is more to do with your relationship to the value than their behaviour.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for understanding in procurement teams

'I love honesty' picture source: legaljuice.com via Alison on Pinterest

Friday, 19 October 2012

Self awareness helps resolve issues


Here we continue the journey to explore the many solutions to purchasing's problems. One cause of problems is lack of self awareness of those within purchasing. I'd suggest it's also a common cause to many business problems but we can only change ourselves not others and therefore the solution discussed in this blog lies within. 

Many of my blogs share my own personal journey of self awareness which didn't really start in earnest until 2000 when I attended an NLP workshop. Once started it never stops - now I'm always looking at the impact of my own thoughts, feelings and actions on whatever I'm doing. Especially if the outcome I'm getting isn't the one I want.

It's so easy to blame others for the wrong/off tangent outcomes we find ourselves in. You know the sort of thing:
  • It's their fault
...mmm there I was expecting to type a list and realised as soon as I started typing it's simpler than that. As long as we're acting as if it's someone else's fault we are saying we can't do anything to change the situation and that's not correct.

Others' reactions to us are impacted by our behaviours (body language, tone or words) and our behaviours are impacted by our:
So when in conflict with others, or blaming them for the lack of success it's useful to explore which of these may be impacting the outcome and what changes we may want to try to shift the situation - after all if you keep doing what you've always done you'll get what you've always got. Forth coming blogs will discuss the impact of a number of these (I'll add links as I write the blogs).

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for self awareness in your purchasers

picture source: amazon.ca via Alison on Pinterest

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Communicate, communicate, communicate


Often blogs about stakeholder engagement, communication and influencing (such as my blog earlier this week) focus, quite rightly, on: listening to your stakeholders, finding out more about them, talking in a language they understandtaking responsibility for misunderstandings, finding out what motivates them, engaging with them and asking for their input and support.

But you know what - sometimes we do have to be on transmit rather than listen, we do have to focus on our objectives, what we're up to and what we want our stakeholders to do and we do have to tell them what we want and why. And here I mean not keep it a secret, or have them second guessing what we're up to. I can't tell you the number of times I've worked with clients and the cause of the problem is lack of information in the minds of the stakeholder.

That is procurement, or what ever department or individual is wishing to influence a stakeholder, seems to be providing information on a need to know basis - and wrongly assessing how much information they need to share with their stakeholder. The causes for this incorrect assessment are many but might include:
  • making assumptions about what the stakeholder already knows
  • not understanding how much information you're taking for granted
  • making a decision that there is information they don't need to know
  • believing that if you tell them they might take all the credit 
  • believing that if you tell them everything they might do it themselves
  • believing if you tell them they'll break confidence and tell everyone
As a rule of thumb always assume your stakeholder needs more information than you're giving them.

Who do you need to communicate more fully with?  

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective communication within your procurement team
 
Picture curtesy of Pixabay

Monday, 15 October 2012

Stakeholder Engagement is often the solution

Following yesterday's blog sharing the potential root causes of purchasing problems I'm jumping straight to Stakeholder Engagement. That is ineffective or no stakeholder engagement is a common cause to many purchasing problems. 

There's a number of reasons I start here not least that a few weeks ago I promised Laura a blog on this. Another reason is I saw a picture of the Dalai Lama on facebook today taken during a talk entitled 'Finding common ground' and shouted "Yes" very loudly and realised now was the time for the blog. As I type this I can also hear "This is the time, this is the place" wafting across the airwaves from the radio in the kitchen :-). So I guess I have no excuses!

What does stakeholder engagement mean to you?

No - please don't rush to read on and find out what I have to say - please do take some time to think about what it means for you and in your work. Who would you define as your stakeholders? What contribution do they have on the work that you do? and on its success? What contact do you have with them currently? and what is the format and style of that contact?

Stakeholders can include customers and suppliers but for the purposes of this blog I want to concentrate on internal stakeholders. Internal stakeholders - that for purchasing might include operations, manufacturing, quality, engineering, design, new product development, finance, marketing, sales, accounts payable, facilities, legal etc. This list will also include the senior leadership team and other senior managers.

As a result the answer to "what contribution do they have on your success?" is "HUGE" - you can't do it without them. Well that's a lie - you can go off and tender and put in place a contract without them. True success for the business, however, is in unlocking the value and that is only achieved when they use the contract - and they won't do that if you've told them what to do without asking for their:
  • Involvement
  • Input
  • Ideas
  • Potential pitfalls
  • Problems to solve
  • Goals
  • Understanding
  • Permission
  • Support
I've heard it all before why engagement isn't possible and it's all poppycock!
  • "If we tell them what purchasing is all about they'll then do it themselves" - in reality if we take time to tell them the full breadth of that purchasing involves and the skills needed they'll realise they can't and don't want to do it and would welcome our input.
  • "They just won't listen to us" - so change how you communicate with them - it's up to you to communicate in a way that facilitates others listening.
  • "We don't have time" - how much time does it take to sort out the problems arising from putting the wrong contract in place?
  • "They don't want to save money" - having common goals and language is imperative and purchasing goals need to be understood and supported by the whole business. You can't agree them in isolation.
  • "If we involve them they'll just tell us we have to use their favourite supplier" - and will continue to do so irrespective of what you do unless you both go on a journey to discover what supplier is right for the business.
I recently facilitated a procurement project kick-off meeting. One of the internal stakeholders said "This is great - in the past I've had to persuade my team to use suppliers purchasing have put contracts in place with without any of us knowing why we've changed supplier and the benefits we should be seeing. Especially when we've seen problems increase not decrease. Today's meeting has helped me understand the tools and criteria you use and will help me support what you do. Thank You." and more importantly followed by "Do let me know what I can do to help."

Isn't that what we want - finding common ground so that our choices are supported by those who have to implement them?

What will do today to improve your stakeholder engagement?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective stakeholder engagement in purchasing

Collaborative hands picture source: blog.taigacompany.com via Alison on Pinterest

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Integrative solutions to those purchasing problems

Following yesterday's blog sharing the potential root causes of purchasing problems I'm jumping straight to Stakeholder Engagement. That is ineffective or no stakeholder engagement is a common cause to many purchasing problems. 

There's a number of reasons I start here not least that a few weeks ago I promised Laura a blog on this. Another reason is I saw a picture of the Dalai Lama on facebook today taken during a talk entitled 'Finding common ground' and shouted "Yes" very loudly and realised now was the time for the blog. As I type this I can also hear "This is the time, this is the place" wafting across the airwaves from the radio in the kitchen :-). So I guess I have no excuses!

What does stakeholder engagement mean to you?

No - please don't rush to read on and find out what I have to say - please do take some time to think about what it means for you and in your work. Who would you define as your stakeholders? What contribution do they have on the work that you do? and on its success? What contact do you have with them currently? and what is the format and style of that contact?

Stakeholders can include customers and suppliers but for the purposes of this blog I want to concentrate on internal stakeholders. Internal stakeholders - that for purchasing might include operations, manufacturing, quality, engineering, design, new product development, finance, marketing, sales, accounts payable, facilities, legal etc. This list will also include the senior leadership team and other senior managers.

As a result the answer to "what contribution do they have on your success?" is "HUGE" - you can't do it without them. Well that's a lie - you can go off and tender and put in place a contract without them. True success for the business, however, is in unlocking the value and that is only achieved when they use the contract - and they won't do that if you've told them what to do without asking for their:
  • Involvement
  • Input
  • Ideas
  • Potential pitfalls
  • Problems to solve
  • Goals
  • Understanding
  • Permission
  • Support
I've heard it all before why engagement isn't possible and it's all poppycock!
  • "If we tell them what purchasing is all about they'll then do it themselves" - in reality if we take time to tell them the full breadth of that purchasing involves and the skills needed they'll realise they can't and don't want to do it and would welcome our input.
  • "They just won't listen to us" - so change how you communicate with them - it's up to you to communicate in a way that facilitates others listening.
  • "We don't have time" - how much time does it take to sort out the problems arising from putting the wrong contract in place?
  • "They don't want to save money" - having common goals and language is imperative and purchasing goals need to be understood and supported by the whole business. You can't agree them in isolation.
  • "If we involve them they'll just tell us we have to use their favourite supplier" - and will continue to do so irrespective of what you do unless you both go on a journey to discover what supplier is right for the business.
I recently facilitated a procurement project kick-off meeting. One of the internal stakeholders said "This is great - in the past I've had to persuade my team to use suppliers purchasing have put contracts in place with without any of us knowing why we've changed supplier and the benefits we should be seeing. Especially when we've seen problems increase not decrease. Today's meeting has helped me understand the tools and criteria you use and will help me support what you do. Thank You." and more importantly followed by "Do let me know what I can do to help."

Isn't that what we want - finding common ground so that our choices are supported by those who have to implement them?

What will do today to improve your stakeholder engagement?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective stakeholder engagement in purchasing

Collaborative hands picture source: blog.taigacompany.com via Alison on Pinterest

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Integrative Business Solutions

Wouldn't it be great if there was just one definitive answer to every problem or challenge in life? Just think how much easier it would all be.

The first challenge, however, is there isn't one solution - there's many solutions. Also the solution that works for one person, team or business wont necessarily work for another and vice verse. I'd also suggest that what solution works for them today won't necessarily work in a month's time. The key, therefore, has to be how to access the right solution for that situation and for today.

Find someone who knows - ask them - is often one of the things we try. Yet having spoken to a handful and more of 'specialists' about my knee I realise that what we get is what their specialist area would proclaim to be the solution. The solutions offered for my painful, troublesome, inflexible and apparently arthritic knee have included:
  • a new knee
  • a realigned knee
  • injections in the knee
  • pain killers
  • weight loss
  • special shoes
  • insoles
  • specific exercises
  • cutting out certain foods - e.g. wheat
  • eating more of other foods
  • digestive enzymes
  • herbs
  • releasing the fear
  • being me
No one 'specialist' was able to offer all these potential solutions - I had to ask questions of many specialists and assimilate my own list of potential solutions. My arthritis Pinterest board is a testament to how many different solutions there are to consider.

With my knee I'd suggest the answer lies in a number of these:

The pain killers work in the short term and enable me to exercise the knee to strengthen the muscles that have become weakened with pain. These strengthened muscles can then be trained to work more effectively by more and yet different exercises using those specialist shoes to take the weight away from the grinding bones whilst doing so. Weight loss will help that too. Taking potentially inflammatory foods out of the diet and putting more anti inflammatory ones in will help the body to heal that area more easily. The digestive enzymes will help me digest the food more easily to ensure the minerals I digest are available for use in the repair of my knees. Releasing the fear and being me will stop my constant doing and tightening of the muscles that stop the knee doing what knees do. When the digestive system is working more effectively the foods I took out or foods, herbs and enzymes put in will need to be revised. So too the exercise regime needed to continue to allow the knee to strengthen and repair. All solutions working together to avoid the dreaded solution of a new knee! All solutions working together so that I may continue to be Auntie Alison who cartwheels and jumps on the trampoline not one in the corner watching it all going on around her!

Isn't it the same in business? Short term fixes will only work if more long term solutions are implemented to ensure more healthy systems, processes, procedures and ways of working are utilised and embraced. A new process wont work if it's not aligned with the values of the business or beliefs continue to be held that "it's not how things are done around here." Success will be tantalisingly out of reach without communication and engagement with internal and/or external stakeholders. Not forgetting the impact a healthy environment, both within and outside of work, will have on the individuals making the changes.

With both examples the journey has many twists and turns. Solutions used in the early days fall away as the conditions for new solutions to be tried arise. It requires a constant assessment of the impact of the ripples arising from the actions - with new and different solutions used to tweak and gently bring the person, team, project or business back into healthy alignment with their goals.

What do you need to change to ensure you embrace a more integrative approach to finding solutions to your problems? Me - I'll be writing more blogs on this subject over coming weeks.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for integrative solutions for purchasing

Ripples in the water picture source: mindbodycounseling.com via Alison on Pinterest

Monday, 8 October 2012

Stop, Look, Listen

Before I went on holiday life had got very very busy - you know the sort of thing: get up and immediately turn on the PC, eat on the go, too much time spent on planes, trains and automobiles, eating too much of the wrong foods, no time for me or friends (or laughter for that matter), collapse in front of the TV for some mind numbing 'entertainment' to wind down before collapsing into bed. Oh yes ... not forgetting that irritability with the world and especially at the lack of speed everyone else was going!

What a difference a week can make!

It was a holiday of sorts - a week retreat if you will at a conference and training centre celebrating its 50th birthday. There were many local, national and international speakers offering lecturers and workshops for 7 hours a day for each of the 7 days I was there.

Over forth coming blogs I'm sure I'll share some of the insights shared during those lecturers/workshops but on my first day back in the office I'd like to share what I learnt about the pace of my life and more importantly the changes I'm making.
  • Stop: Stop the constant doing. The 7 hours of lectures were spread over 13 hours a day. That is we had lots of time to stop. 30 mins break in the morning, the same in the afternoon, nearly 2 hours for lunch and 3 hours for dinner. Initially I was frustrated with all this 'wasted' time. Now I realise it gave us time - it gave me time. Time to eat and then digest the food that had been prepared for us, to digest what we'd heard, to connect with others, to take time out or to catch up with any other activities we needed to attend to. It's interesting how often we try to fit these into the time we've set aside to attend to our To-do'ing.
  • Look: I'm sure my constant doing in the past, with that all too familiar physiology that goes with it - head down and a fast speed of walking, means I've missed much. Last week I had time to look around and notice the world around me - the people, nature and my own thoughts and feelings. That very 'looking' enabled me to connect to an energy that's been missing in my life for a while - a spontaneous, creative and expansive energy that is one that I need often in the work I do. Let's just hope I don't get too busy to let it slip through my fingers - again! 
  • Listen: I didn't attend every one one of the sessions on offer. What I did was listen to that quiet voice inside that suggested this lecture was one I would attend and this one wasn't. What that facilitated was a week where the information and insights came at a pace I could handle. It certainly wasn't about listening to that other critical voice inside that said "You might miss something." "But you've paid for this!" "What will others think?" This is one significant change that I'd like to continue now I'm home - taking time at the start of the day to listen to that quiet voice about priorities and To-dos. Which this blog is an example of because I wrote it first before looking at the emails!     
I'll let you know how I get on in embracing these changes. Certainly as I peek at my inbox for the first time,  with its 858 emails, I can feel the all too familiar voice whispering "quicker, quicker". Think I may need to print a copy of the road sign above to remind me of my commitment to change.

What changes do you need to make to enable you to connect to an energy that's needed for your work but has slipped through your fingers recently?  

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Ensuring your purchasing team takes time to stop, look and listen.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The conspiracies we support on our wellbeing

I don't generally buy into conspiracy theories - you know the ones where political and self interest motivations are given as reasons for us being manipulated into believing an event happened a particular way - like going to the moon - when in in fact the theory suggests it didn't ever happen.

For me the reason many of these theories remain as as just theories and not proven fact is because despite the evidence put forward to refute that the event ever happened:
  • There's always evidence it did
  • There's always arguments that explain away the conspiracy theorists 'evidence'
and the most compelling for me and the definition of a true conspiracy theory is:
  • No one ever comes forward and says "here's the evidence of what did happen instead" 
If this later criteria is not met then I'd suggest it's not a conspiracy theory either.

However I am starting to wonder about the conspiracy we're all buying into with respect to our well being. Perhaps conspiracy is the wrong word - but use of conspiracy at least acknowledges that we're presenting facts in a way to distort them. And whilst I could point fingers at manufacturers & pharmaceutical companies it's us that I'm accusing of conspiring together - after all they argue they're only giving us what we say we want. Why conspiracy - because we'd prefer to bury our heads in the sand and believe the stories we're telling ourselves than make the changes we know we should be making. In fact we so don't want it to be true we label the facts as 'conspiracies' and the 'conspiracies' as facts!

I know I might be at one end of the continuum on well being from others and of course I realise I may too be buying into just a different conspiracy theory but I can't help but feel we all know that too much of the following can negatively impact our health:
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • salt
  • the wrong sort of fats 
  • processed foods
  • couch potato like tendancies 
and at an individual level we may also have allergies (that we generally do take action on) or intolerances or reactions to other food groups such as, but certainly not limited to:
  • dairy
  • wheat
  • nightshades - pots, toms, peppers
  • preservatives & chemicals
  • meat
  • carbs (too many of them anyway)
  • etc
It's such a shame that most of us only make changes when provided with the motivation to do so via ill health - sometimes too late to make changes that would determine a different outcome. Instead we ignore the signs along the way such as fatigue, nervousness, irritability, digestive upsets, aches and pains etc and put them down to age, too much work, not enough sleep last night etc. (Here's a blog I wrote earlier this week on the illusion of the quick fix both in well being and business.)

The impact ignoring the above has will be different for each of us because, unlike going to the moon where there is only one way it happened, we're each unique and impacted by different things. The question remains though - what conspiracy do you know you need to stop believing and what changes will you make?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective purchasing and also for well being & life balance for purchasers and non purchasers alike.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Would you trust a consultant who offers quick fixes?

Over recent years my doctor's appointments have all had the same pattern:

"This is what's wrong with you, go away, take some pills and you'll be fine"

The only difference between the visits has been the diagnosis and the pill being prescribed.

The recent visit was regarding my knee. Osteoarthritis was diagnosed and pain killers prescribed. Which is all well and good but that won't solve the problem. An alternate solution was offered - a replacement knee - but then withheld due to my age (not old enough - not sure if that's :-( or :-) ).

Many people in similar situations, if the support groups on the internet are anything to go by, have been quick to agree with the prognosis and solution provided believing:
  • Osteoarthritis is wear and tear and can't be reversed
  • It will only get worse
  • Pain killers are the only solution - until we're old enough for that major operation that is
  • I've just got grin and bear it (and talk about how bad it is with others who have the same problem)
The issue with that is that is every one of the above statements may not be true for you irrespective of what the Xray looks like - as you will see from my Pinterest board of all the potential solutions to a diagnosis of arthritis.

I've certainly been busy since that doctors appointment 4 weeks ago and have tried many things and have many more to try. The surprising thing is my knee has got soooo much better since I took wheat out of my diet. Since it's early days there may be other factors impacting the improvement but as my personal trainer said - it still proves the mobility can be regained and pain reduced. Fingers crossed the improvement continues.

I didn't go for a quick fix but that's what the doctor offered - I'm just pleased I took personal responsibility to find out what other options I had.

In business it's easy to be like many of those in the support groups - perhaps a little too quick to accept the easy quick fix answer. The problem with accepting the quick fix is the underlying problem hasn't gone away and will rear it's ugly head just as much as my knee waking me at night, refusing to bend and stopping me from enjoying life will. It also assumes that the diagnosis and prognosis are correct.

Next time you're looking for a solution - spend a little more time on the diagnosis and exploring the options - you might just deliver real and sustained benefit to your organisation rather than be putting a sticking plaster on it.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for effective long term solutions to your problems

Egg picture source: morethanasundayfaith.com via Alison on Pinterest