Thursday, 17 May 2012

I've moved

Do please join me on my new blog:

I'll be blogging about the same things. I'm just reminding everyone in the title why I do what I do and that's to make a difference in buying, purchasing and procurement activites in business.

Do join me there and also on TwitterFacebook, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn too.


Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
+44 (0)777 538159

Friday, 4 May 2012

Interview or naked party?

I attended a CIPS local chapter meeting last night facilitated by Lynsey & Jack from Hays here in Scotland. The topic was CV's and interviews - and whilst I'm not looking for a job, and was there mainly to network and connect, I still came away with many things to do differently.

One overriding message, for me anyway, was a reminder that the words we use impact what's going on in our head and therefore have an impact on our state. This in turn then impacts our behaviour.

For example we use the word Interview. Our head may then form a picture of an interrogation. This may then lead us to start imagining angry people shouting at us, all the things we don't know the answer to and/or being asked questions that have us siting there in dumbfounded silence unable to utter a word. With these images going around our head it's easy to understand how stress levels increase and our ability to think clearly starts to diminish.

If there's a link then to the words we use, the pictures they create in our heads and the resulting actions we take I'd suggest it's useful to be aware when these are helpful and when they're not. If unhelpful we then have 2 options:
  1. Change the word we're using to a more helpful one.
  2. Change our representation of the word.
The tip most offered for interviews is to imagine the interviewer naked which is simply option 2 in operation. In the session yesterday Jack suggested we see an interview as a meeting where we're exchanging ideas. Where both parties are checking the other out to see if they like each other. Which unless you also get nervous in meetings may very well work. In a tweet today someone suggested we go a step further and imagine it simply being a chat or even as a party! Whether the use of party works for you is really down to the state the word generates in you and the actions you're then likely to take as a result. I'd suggest a naked party might be taking it a little far!

Alison Smith
Helping Procurement find the right words when dealing with stakeholders

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Respect - what does it look like to you?

Yesterday I blogged about our relationship to time. As a result of tweeting about the blog I asked did someone being late show a lack of respect. It was a trick question really because as I explained in the blog - those with a preference for In-Time won't believe so and those with Thru-time preferences will.

And they're both right - from their worldview anyway. I suggest it's up to both parties to understand the other's worldview. Those In-time should understand that their colleagues with Thru-time preferences may judge their behaviour to be disrespectful and understand the repercussions if someone holds that belief about them. Those Thru-time should understand that those In-Time would believe that their undivided attention in meetings is more respectful.

Which had me thinking about our values - of which respect might be one.

Our values are what inspires and motivates our daily actions. They're what determine what we will do and what we won't do. They also determine what we do and don't admire in others and therefore how we judge them - and ourselves for that matter.

Even at it's simplest level what values are in our top five can and will lead to disputes between individuals about what to do and what doing it means. As another blog in Supply Management suggested when I chunked our values into Achievement, Affiliation & Power. Someone valuing Achievement and Success may very well want to manage a project differently than someone valuing Affiliation.

Every action is motivated by a need to achieve a value - yes even actions that a majority of us would deem to be unacceptable. Which brings me to the added complexity that our values are nominalisations and we each have our own definitions for what achieving them means.

If I take respect for a moment then it might mean any, or none, of the following to someone:
  • Being on time for meetings
  • Giving our undivided attention in meetings
  • Listening to what others are saying
  • Acknowledging you have heard what others have said 
  • Saying thank you
  • Doing what you say you're going to do (see blog on being faithless and therefore trustworthy)
  • Being honest
  • Doing what they want you to do
  • Respect for yourself
  • Respect for others
  • Respect for the planet
  • Fairness (which I'd suggest is in fact another value)
The key is understanding that your definition of respect is just that - yours and that others are likely to have a different understanding of what respect is or may not even value respect as highly as you.

Alison Smith
Helping Procurement understand their and their stakeholders' values.   

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Are you always or never late

If I was to ask "which of the following applies to you when arriving for appointments?" most of us would be able to find one that applies most often:
  1. I'm ALWAYS early
  2. I'm early 
  3. I arrive just in time
  4. I'm late
  5. I'm ALWAYS late
I'd suggest I'm 3 most of the time with equal distribution for 2 (if I have no idea where I'm going) and 4 (if I get caught in traffic because I didn't allow much time for delays).

The fact is both 1's and 5's get frustrated with each other for different reasons. 1's will think that 5's don't respect them because they're late, 5's think 1's are being over sensitive. Both will certainly think they're belief about the other is right. And from their worldview they're both right.

In NLP there's 2 descriptions used for our relationship to time which help explain this difference:
  • In-Time - where you're living in the present fully experiencing what's happening in the moment 
  • Thru-Time- where you're viewing time from a distant - thinking ahead to the future or back about the past
Those who arrive early I would suggest are likely to be Thru-Time - thinking ahead about what they need to do to get to the meeting on time but they may be seen to be distracted in an earlier meeting. Those who are late are likely to be In-time - fully present and in rapport with those in a previous meeting but not aware of the time and approaching next meeting.

We each have a preference for which style we use most but the key is being able to be flexible and switch between them as appropriate. I'd also suggest we need to realise when we've got stuck in one mode and take action, as I think I demonstrated in my 'Hare or Tortoise' blog based on my 4 day adventure on the farm recently. When I went from Thru-time Hare to In-Time Tortiose.

Alison Smith
Helping procurement work in and thru time appropriately