The five characteristics of high-performing teams

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
30 October 2014

Successful strategic procurement is about leadership, not purchasing, according to the CPO at Sydney Trains.

Mike Blanchard, general manager of strategic procurement at Sydney Trains, made the point while addressing delegates at the CIPS Australasia Conference this month.

He said high-performing teams have the following five characteristics: they share the same vision; have a healthy team culture; clearly defined roles and expectations that encourage excellent performance; everyone is held accountable and; the leader of the team acts by example.

The company runs trains in the greater Sydney suburban area and operates and maintains the metropolitan rail network and provides maintenance services to NSW Trains. Its aim is to “keep Sydney moving by delivering safe, customer-focused, reliable, clean rail services”. The purchasing vision that sits beneath that is a plan to become the number one procurement team within the New South Wales Government. Blanchard said it aimed to achieve this by becoming the most trusted advisor to its stakeholders, becoming a customer of choice to its partners and attracting and retaining employees by creating a great place to work.

Category management, supplier development, investing in staff and simplifying processes so the business adopts them are all part of the foundations of the approach taken by his team, he said. And all the members of the procurement team have signed up to a list of core values that say they will be professional, reliable, take ownership, be collaborative, united, responsive, engaging, motivated, ethical, noteworthy and trustworthy. These values add up to spell out ‘procurement’.

The team has also set out principles that guide its approach to the business. Among these are to "delight customers with effective, user-friendly processes", manage risk and "develop the capabilities of the team to deliver greater productivity for less cost".

Blanchard said the progress of the procurement team is measured and recorded using scorecards and communication is both regular and transparent.

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