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Unconventional Tools

I use unconventional tools in much of the work I do to unlock procurement and personal potential - not exclusively - but they're certainly my point of difference and USP.
These tools might include collages, pipe cleaners, moving your body, using metaphors such as nature, exploring the words and sayings we use such as can't see the wood for the trees, and much more!

A recent addition to the unconventional tool is the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit which brings together a number of postcards to procurement from your soft skills. It's entitled Dear Procurement, with love from your soft skills. More here.


I use unconventional tools in the work I do for a number of reasons.
  • They're very effective at inspiring change.
  • They're very good at removing resistance to change and bypassing the barriers put up to taking responsibility to resolve the situation.
  • They’re also very good at helping individuals access the potential (some might even say inner wisdom) that’s hidden beneath the resistance.
  • They help the individual find the solution themselves – thus avoiding them putting up the barriers when other people tell them what to do.
  • They're different - which means they retain people's attention longer as individuals puzzle and wonder about what's going to happen next.
  • They really are effective in a business context - as, for example, the CIPS board of managementScottish Institute for Business Leaders, and Professional Speaking Association in Scotland can confirm.
I also use them because:
  • I love using them, and I'm very good at using them to unlock potential. The feedback I get supports that I keep the session grounded and aimed at achieving the goals, at the same time as expertly using my intuition to guide clients in the direction of maximum growth to unlock their potential. 
  • I like new, creative and innovative tools that tap into our unconscious - because just like an iceberg the solution is more likely to be found in what we're not logically and consciously aware of. 
Please note: I don't use every tool in every session, and some sessions stick with more traditional tools. Some group's resistance to unconventional tools also steer me in other directions. That is, the aim of achieving the outcome for a session is paramount - with the means of achieving it being adapted to suit the outcome, audience and organisation.

That said, how many times do we need to keep trying to resolve challenges doing the same things to realise we need to do something different! The unconventional and yet effective tools I use are certainly different. (See post Where has convention ever got us for a plea to embrace the unconventional a little more, and benefit of the doubt where I invite you to suspend judgement about these tools not working with others even though you love the idea. The index of posts applying unconventional tools to challenges faced by procurement may also help demonstrate the power of the tools to facilitate change, provide new perspectives and unlock that potential.)

If you'd like to find out more about how a session with your team might work do get in touch - alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159


"Alison brings a unique blend of effective facilitation skills together with an in depth understanding of the corporate world. This enable her to subtly lead executives through the frameworks for change process that eliminates the barriers to moving forward and enables both individuals and teams to find the right track to improve performance, results and personal wellbeing.

I can highly recommend Alison to leaders who are looking for, and are prepared to explore something that is different but is so very effective.”