By Jake Kanter
For the past two days I have been surrounded by purchasers from various corners of Europe. What struck me about most of them is that they are blessed with a brilliant directness, which is sometimes absent from their English counterparts.
The speakers were open about their failures and proud of their achievements, in fact more than three of the presenters consistently and regularly used the statement “to be frank”. And frank they were. During a Q&A session Athanassios Boukas, manager of international purchasing offices for construction firm NCC, casually disclosed that construction procurement practices are 50 years behind other sectors. Whether this is accurate or not, you must admire his boldness.
The directness was not just confined to speakers either, when the floor was thrown open for questions, the delegates didn’t exactly beat around the bush. They launched into technical inquisitions, unscrupulous in their quest for figures and advice - such a contrast to the silence that often befalls events I have been to in the UK.
One wonders if this carries through into their relationships with suppliers and stakeholders.
Have you experienced something similar on your travels? Could British buyers learn from this approach?