Are you singing from the same song sheet?

11 June 2012
Alison Smith, the Purchasing CoachPhrases such as ‘a little hippy’, ‘kum ba yah’, ‘woo woo’ or ‘soft skills’ are among the terms applied to the behaviours we use to achieve what we do every day. In using this language we’re in danger, of course, of forgetting the impact effective communication and collaboration can have on the outcome of any activity and in achieving our goals. I attended a workshop last week entitled ‘Whatever the problem, community is the answer’. I can hear your accusations of ‘kum ba yah’ as I type the words. But if we accept the premise - and act as if - community is the answer, it leads us to a question asked by Drew Pryde of the Scottish Institute of Business Leaders: “Who is your community?” Could you honestly say you see your colleagues or other procurement professionals as your community? Do you use them to support and provide feedback to you? When did you last present a sourcing or relationship strategy for review and continuing professional development purposes? For that matter, when did you last invite them to a post-project review to get insights from those less involved or to enable them to learn from your mistakes?

A good metaphor used at the workshop was likening a community to a choir: a choir collectively singing the songs they love, fully utilising their strengths and being heard, rather than being a quiet voice singing alone in the corner. Great examples of this are Gareth Malone and the Military Wives and Gary Barlow and his Commonwealth choir for the Jubilee celebrations, which hit number one in the charts this Sunday. And I’m glad they sang Sing and not Kum bay ah (although Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da did get a look in at the end).

What song is your team singing? And would it have people crying in disgust or delight?
Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen (DE)
Competitive salary and great benefits. Relocation assistance available.
GBP38000 - GBP42000 per annum + Benefits
Bramwith Consulting
CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates