Blow Your Own Trumpet

Muhhamad Ali

Procurement field has undergone a phase of negative publicity over a number of years due to allegations of corruption world over.  For instance in Kenya the president asked all public procurement officers to step aside leaving a big dent on the image of procurement profession in East Africa. This is added oil to the fire in an under-respected field of procurement.

Procurement players have to work extremely hard to turn the negativity into a positive vibe; blowing your trumpet in this under-respected field such as procurement is the starting point. My feeling is that, if people don’t know what you’ve accomplished in procurement, they will assume that you’re doing nothing.

CEO’s often don’t know all of the things that a procurement department can do or should be doing.  Internal customers certainly don’t.

Heck, I’ve even seen procurement directors and vice presidents promoted from other functions like finance not have a clue what value procurement can deliver!

So, if important stakeholders don’t know the value that procurement can bring, there’s a strong likelihood that they think procurement exists merely to get in their way and make their lives difficult!

Therefore, it is key to not be shy about communicating the value that procurement brings to the organization.  Blow your own trumpet, if you will.  It can be a path to winning respect and, more importantly, cooperation.

In many instances in life, people don’t realize how good something is until they hear someone else saying how good it is.  Think about musical artists, or viral videos, or TV shows, or that one bakery in every town that just slays the most amazing pastries.  Their success was often the result of word of mouth, whether it be a one-on-one conversation, sharing on social media, news coverage, or any other type of validating event.

So, in procurement, sometimes you need to get third parties to share how great you are before your important stakeholders will believe it and treat you accordingly.  Just quietly doing your job isn’t enough. People won’t pay attention.

As you aim to be the procurement champion, these simple acts will earn you bragging rights:

  • Your procurement work was covered in a magazine
  • You or your procurement team won an award
  • Your procurement work was given recognition within your organization.
  • You earned a third-party certification
  • Actively participate in procurement events
  • Your procurement work was featured in an industry case study

All of a sudden, it will seem that the world knows you’re great at procurement.  Your internal stakeholders will start thinking – subconsciously or consciously – “Hmmm.  I didn’t realize that procurement was doing such good stuff.  Maybe I’ll pay closer attention.”

Think of your Human Resources department.  How good is it?  Don’t know?  Never cared to research it by yourself?

Well, just like you probably aren’t spending your time trying to discover how great your HR department is, your internal stakeholders are not spending their time trying to appreciate procurement.  The problem is, if they knew how good your procurement efforts are, they would be more willing to provide you with the valuable cooperation you need to drive procurement improvements throughout the enterprise.

So, I say blow your own trumpet loud.  Blast your procurement accomplishments loud.