Take pride in your successes and don’t be afraid to share them, urged Cath Hill at the CIPS Annual Conference.
Addressing delegates in a breakout session on soft skills and career development this week, Hill, group marketing and membership director at CIPS, challenged: “What’s the point of having brilliant procurement skills if you don’t communicate them? Raise your voice so people know what you can do.
“My mission is to try to explain to other marketers that you like doing the stuff we [other marketers] don’t and you’re really, really good at it.”
She recommended that to progress and succeed individuals should ensure they establish credibility; become trusted advisors to their organisations; understand the overall goals of their business; be brave, passionate and confident.
Hill suggested to be recognised as strategic, procurement professionals should tell people what they intend to do before they do it and then tell them when they’ve achieved it. “Otherwise it might look like a happy accident,” she warned.
Her advice was to think commercially and bring ideas to the business beyond procurement’s usual remit; be creative; do things that are out of one’s comfort zone – such as tackling broader challenges like slavery or cyber security; communicate; act as code-breakers between the business, suppliers and stakeholders; and be in control.
She said as chair of judges in the 2016 UK CIPS Supply Management Awards she was “blown away” by the creativity that comes out of procurement. “We marketers think marketing is where creativity comes from but you understand the business better than us – you just have to talk about these successes. Be vulgar and shout them from the rooftops.”
Highlighting the incredible importance now placed on good emotional intelligence (EI) in business (with 90% of top performers having a high EI quotient), Hill said it wasn’t about changing personality but managing responses and being self-aware. “The physical manifestation of an emotional response, like anger, takes 90 seconds to go through the body. Any more than that and it’s up to you how you react.”
She also advised people to understand and try to respect the differences between them and others: “Easy to say, harder to do – because we all like those who are created in our own image.”
And imparting advice on how to build a personal brand, Hill said: “You need to know your unique selling points; carry out market research on what your customers need; build your own style and profile; take on tasks; and drive value-add strategies.”