By Tania Seary
With information readily available to anyone online with just the tap of a button, the language we use matters more now than ever before. The words we type in our digital world are lasting and can easily impact the picture that is being painted around a person, topic or even a profession.
That’s an especially important consideration for procurement, as the amount of web content and online chatter around it grows. It pays to share information that demonstrates the value that procurement brings to an organization because the more positive the words and imagery that are put out there, the more we will be discovered and our value understood.
The good news is that influential advocates for the profession are already doing exactly that. Recently, we’ve had a host of positive keywords and phrases used to describe procurement on Procurious and elsewhere, including everything from “avenger” to “rock-star,” “procurement evolution” and “thinking the unthinkable.”
Just envision what it would mean when a newly-minted CEO wants to understand what we do, takes the time to Google ‘Procurement,’ and sees overwhelmingly positive language like this in their search results. That CEO will be inspired and energized by the hype and positivity he or she is seeing around procurement.
Focus on Reinforcing the Value
There has been some discussion recently about re-branding procurement and abandoning the title of Chief Procurement Officer. Some have suggested adopting language such as Commercial Operations Director or even Chief Relationship Officer. Further down the chain, only one-third of 99 different job titles used by procurement professionals actually include the term “procurement”.
But, rebranding procurement is actually an unwelcome distraction, especially since we’ve made enormous progress in educating businesses about what procurement does. Rather than having to re-educate the C-Suite about the role of a Commercial Operations Director or Chief Relationship Officer, that energy could be better spent actually showing people the value that we add to every aspect of their business.
We know that the procurement and supply chain profession has struggled to overcome outdated stereotypes, so it’s time we join forces to become collectively valued. By empowering future procurement leaders, we can change the face of the profession from the inside out, rather than worrying about the label itself.
Raise Your Voice
Modern wisdom has it that if you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist at all. If we can’t collectively raise our voices and optimize procurement through positivity, then there is a real danger that the CPO role will become increasingly irrelevant and, eventually, forgotten.
So, how can we prevent this? Through constant positive reinforcement by sharing stories, photographs and other uplifting imagery. The more that’s out there, the more it will help us. For example:
So, let’s stick with the label we have and continue to build upon it, because the momentum is with us as a profession. The more we flex our collective muscle as a procurement community, the stronger we can become.
Tania Seary is the Founding Chairman of three companies specializing in the development of the procurement profession – Procurious, The Faculty and The Source.
Procurious has been built as the world's first online social network to help a new generation of procurement professionals to "get involved and get ahead.”
The Faculty is recognized as one of Australia’s leading advisors on procurement development. Established 12 years ago, The Faculty works with leading organizations to transform and elevate the role of procurement, build high performance procurement teams and create professional knowledge networks.
Four years ago, Tania founded The Source, a specialist recruitment firm for the procurement profession. In 2013 she moved to London and founded Procurious.
Tania’s fascination and commitment to procurement development started around fifteen years ago in the U.S. After finishing her MBA at Pennsylvania State University, Tania became one of Alcoa’s first global commodity managers.
Prior to moving to the U.S., Tania’s career was focused on marketing roles within Alcoa and Rowland in Australia, and the Walt Disney Company in the UK. Tania has an MBA and a Bachelor of Business.
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