Time to manage difficult stakeholders and why the road to something beautiful might be easier than you think.
In this post, I will teach you how to learn how to manage difficult stakeholders. We are making the assumption that they are difficult, they might not be, you can apply the same communication management to stakeholders that are easy to get on with, the point is I want to teach you the secret to successful communication and management of stakeholders so help them understand your category strategy.
A lot of people don’t understand procurement and to others, it may not come across as the most exciting discipline.
We need to let stakeholders know about the procurement story, who are we and what do we do? People absorb information in different ways but most of us fall into the visual category, therefore, we will talk to our stakeholders in a language they understand by creating a simple narrative. I believe stakeholders can be influenced if they buy into the bigger picture and this is achievable when they to relate to us on a more personal level. If you can achieve this you put yourself in a better position to reach your full potential.
The goal is to develop a procurement story that is concise and easy to understand. In your story, you will help your stakeholder understand your mission, your process and the benefits that will be realised from your procurement or category strategy.
A story means all stakeholders internal and external are part of the same plot.
In your procurement story, you will tell a story by incorporating familiar characters.
Setting the scene
Your story is about the value of procurement department with a desire to elevate the profile of the function and implement lasting change, purpose and credibility.
Nobody wants to hang out with the procurement gang because they are not the cool kids, they are a bit annoying, they like to try to insert their perceived power over other people and block progress, this fosters resentment and procurement gets a bad reputation as the department with a Capital P
You don’t want to go through your career without fulfilling your potential and want people to realise that your profession should be given more credit and not simply seen as a cost-cutter, or even worse the stationery buyer. Manage difficult stakeholders by creating a category strategy to win hearts and minds.
Let’s assume the organisation wants to win market share/ is struggling with profits/ wants a partner they can respect/ improve bottom line… the list goes on
The procurement story is how do we add value?
Create a category strategy with the central characters, the suppliers, and the role they play i.e. superstars, supporters or monopolist. The procurement manager maps out the value chain to the organisation and describes the “As Is” the routine day to day activity, the current performance.
Outline how you will take the routine and bring about meaningful change to make your stakeholder’s lives easier. Remember you are not a blocker you are the personification of value-add. Make sure the audience stays with you by breaking down the benefits into bite-size chunks.
The procurement manager learns to speak in the language of the stakeholders and communicates in plain English and gets rid of the jargon. The procurement manager tells everyone that his/her story to change the world is not one that they live in alone and but that the category strategy involves different members of the organisation. The procurement manager is selling the audience a lifeline to increase profit so they can spend more on building market share, they might work with the stakeholder to make tweaks to make the process easier so the focus can remain in the core areas of the business strategy.