The Hidden Law That Could Be Undermining Your Business

Do you walk the walk, or talk the talk? You can’t do both, so which is the most effective for your business?
An interesting perspective from ‘Yes, Minister’ helps us to open our eyes to a hidden corporate culture. In the initial chapter, we are introduced to the Open Government white paper. This document provides proof that they intend to help the minister implement his stated policy goals. However, as times goes on it is revealed that this document is actually a prime example of the Law of Inverse Relevance.

“The less you intend to do about something,

the more you have to keep talking about it.”

Understanding the Law of Inverse Relevance, might seem far away from what you considered the business environment to be like. However, once you surpass the confusion, it all become clears.
For example, you are scouring through a global conglomerates website and come across their well scripted mission statement.  In relation to the Law of Inverse Relevance, this statement is merely a piece of text that they want people to believe that represents their company and what they do. However this representation isn’t what they’re actually doing.  Simply writing a good quality mission statement isn’t enough – don’t just talk the talk.
This law provides explanation of why you are more likely to get ripped off at “Honest Harry’s Hardware Store” than a basic hardware shop. Another good example is an MD stating that his workforce is “one big happy family” when the reality is it is a group of dissatisfied, unhappy workers. The Law of Inverse Relevance also explain why companies employ Ethics Officers, Diversity Policies, CSR and Environmental Standards departments. It is a purely for perception.
But don’t panic, all this talk is actually saving you money! Because it’s keeping you from getting things done.
This law has brought to light some interesting revelations, including:

  • Some of the most successful businesses don’t have mission statements, because they know what they are aiming for.
  • The top innovative businesses rely on their customers to decide whether their new products are good.
  • Socially responsible businesses act responsibly from personal interest rather than for a good perceived reputation.
  • The best leaders portray great leadership rather than spending time and effort claiming to be excellent leaders.

The principle is simple you either “talk the talk” or you “walk the walk.”

Times Are Changing: The Future of Supply Chains

“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. Those who only look to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

In order to develop a tactical procurement team that will add value to your business, you need to learn to adapt. Procurement has been done in the same way by contingent workforce leaders for years. However, the world of sourcing and contingent workforce management is transforming. Traditional sources dominate in contingent workforce management. While staffing suppliers, agencies and personal networks source most contingent talent today. But that is likely to change quickly.

During the 2000s, a few factors combined to cause additional changes in purchasing. Corporate social responsibility became critical due in part to the Internet, easier access to data, strategic sourcing and partnership working. Collaboration between procurement teams, colleagues and suppliers became more frequent. Professionals began to think deeper than cost and how to add value onto overall enterprise. Not to mention the rapid increase of outsourcing and global sourcing requires much greater levels of service contracting management.

It’s evident technology has affected procurement considerably. There has been progression from a focus on physical supply to much broader questions around value. We see, links between procurements effects inside and outside organisations, which developed from understanding both are important for procurement success. Although the world we work in has become much more complex and unpredictable, the internet provides more than enough assistance, to help us make sense of it.

The key to preparing for changes is anticipation, preparation, and the appropriate adjustments. Procurement is changing, so be prepared with these four ways to get ready.

  1. Share your knowledge: The most transformative objective to achieve will be making every member of the team better at procurement. Team performance will have a direct impact on your organisation’s bottom line. When you build a “procurement mentality” in your staff, you can increase compliance, reduce risk and create more cost savings.
  2. Be strategic: Procurement must move away from the presiding focus on unit cost reduction that is still the primary focus in many organisations. You need to play a wider and more fundamental role in the organisation.
  3. Expand spend visibility: Spend visibility is an important part to all changes in procurement. If you want to control supply effectively, you need to manage spend. Spend is what you pay and supply is what you get. To manage spend you have to see it.
  4. Be prepared to use technology: The speed of technological development is only going to get faster going into the future.. Procurement professionals need to be familiar with technology and know how to use it to manage supply chains and get great business results.

“The Times They Are a-Changin” – Bob Dylan

Celebrating In The Workplace

Many leaders struggle when faced with a celebration in the workplace, and can be left wondering whether they should or not. The argument arises “why should we celebrate, people are already aware that we are succeeding” after yet another milestone has passed. The best answer is to get an equal balance between celebrating when necessary and not overdoing it. However, more than often celebrating when reaching a goal is forgotten about.

In procurement we regularly talk about how to maximise the effectiveness of your workforce, and this can be done through recognising and rewarding achievements.

Why should we celebrate progress?
There are two clear reasons for celebrating progress and this is to reinforce focus and momentum within your employees. During long and tedious projects, focus can get lost as employees concentrate on reaching an end goal. Employees can become engrossed and can easily miss the progress that they have made. It is very important for leaders to help employees to recognise the progress and rejuvenate their focus and team momentum.
How should you do it?
We have identified 7 simple components that will help you when considering and executing a workplace celebration.
  1. Base it on milestones.
In order to justify a celebration, you must understand the progress that has been made. Having a completed project plan will be an excellent reference, allowing you to see the milestones that were set and when they were achieved.

  1. Get the team involved.

Inform the entire team when a celebration is due and allow them to get involved in the process, from organising when and where its taking place, to selecting a gift. Giving this responsibility to participants who may not have had a direct involvement in the achievement will let them feel meaningful.

  1. Don’t be shy.
Don’t celebrate half heartedly. Let your employees know how much you appreciate their hard work, commitment and overall progress.

  1. Keep the celebration in perspective.
The purpose for the celebration should be clearly outlined. This is not an opportunity to celebrate everyone and everything. Make the individuals involved feel special.

  1. Be authentic.
There is little point in holding a celebration if you are unable to give them a genuine congratulations. If you are not feeling it, hold back on doing the celebration. Authenticity is vital.  

  1. Make it an event.
It doesn’t have to big or extravagant, but it does need to be an event. Spread the word around the office so everyone knows when it is.

  1. Consider gifts/rewards  
A gift can be a great surprise to add to any celebration. Why not consider a personalised card, vouchers or something else? This also relies on your office’s existing gift-giving culture. Remember that the gift should be appropriate for the specific achievement.

We hope that these suggestions will aid you in your celebration decision-making. When used effectively, celebrations can increase employee motivation, productivity and overall morale.

The Procurement Group

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