WHY CREATING A COACHING CULTURE IN YOUR PROCUREMENT ORGANIZATION IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST TO BECOME A STRONG BUSINESS PARTNER IN A VUCA WORLD
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If you think about the key challenges your procurement organization faces today, what comes to mind?
What will affect your work in 1-5 years?
If you are like many organizations, you will be affected by at least these three major developments:
DEVELOPMENT 1: IMPACT OF INCREASED AUTOMATION AND THE NEED FOR AGILITY
Many organizations see the impact of increased automation of transactional activities: Robotics and cognitive automation (Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms) that will shift the tasks of the human workforce to deal with complex systems. In complex systems more is unknown than known (see Ralph Stacey’s complexity matrix. Stacey RD. Strategic management and organizational dynamics: the challenge of complexity. 3rd ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall, 2002). Agile is the best approach for Complex Adaptive systems and procurement organizations need to become Agile to succesfully face new challenges and thrive in a complex world.
Agility is defined as: “rapidly and deliberately respond to changing demand while controlling risks, flexibility to rapidly adapt, ability to innovate”.
Agile working brings increased visibility, increased business value, reduced uncertainty, more ability to change.
DEVELOPMENT 2 : STRATEGIC RELEVANCE AND THE NEED FOR BUSINESS PARTNERING
Procurement organizations over the past 20 years typically have been successful in delivering costs savings, supply reliability, cash and innovation and have struggled to play a more strategic role.
“Only one in four procurement leaders believe they are excellent business partners contributing signiﬁcant strategic value” (source:The Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2018)
Procurement needs to become a strong, credible business partner in identifying and delivering value to the business in an increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.
DEVELOPMENT 3: DEMAND OF THE WORKFORCE AND THE NEED FOR MEANING, PERSONAL GROWTH AND LEARNING
Greying of population requires employee retention. The generation that needs to succeed the current workforce, the Millennials (generation born between 1980 and 2000) more than any other generation are looking for meaning and personal growth in work and organizations are challenged to keep them engaged.
PROCUREMENT ORGANISATIONS ARE CHALLENGED TO BECOME AN EXCELLENT BUSINESS PARTNER WITH A SHRINKING AND INCREASINGLY DEMANDING WORKFORCE IN AN INCREASINGLY COMPLEX ENVIRONMENT AND MEET THE NEEDS FOR AGILITY, BUSINESS PARTNERING AND MEANING AND PERSONAL GROWTH AND LEARNING.
HERE IS HOW A COACHING CULTURE HELPS YOU MEET THOSE NEEDS:
- A coaching culture improves the learning on soft skills that are required as a result of increased automation.
“Talent developers are preparing their workforce for automation by naming ‘training for soft skills’ their #1 priority” (Linkedin 2018 learning report)
- A Coaching culture is a catalyst for Agile organizations and a key skill for Agile Leadership at all levels in the organization
- Agile starts with agility in people. You cannot achieve Agility without a coaching culture that supports agility in people. Organisations don’t change, people do.
- Business partnering requires advanced skills in understanding and collaborating with other disciplines to define value and strong leadership to focus on value creation. The business partner is essential in reaching the next level of success for procurement. Procurement has delivered successfully on savings, cash, risk reduction and innovation and is now faced with what leaders and coaches know: success doesn’t solve your problems. It creates higher level problems. In this case, how to successfully partner with the business to deliver strategic value.
WHAT DOES A COACHING CULTURE LOOK LIKE
In a coaching culture,
- The team is empowered
- There is strong ownership of tasks
- There is a high level of trust among the team and the ‘managers’
- The environment is psychologicaly safe
- People dare to speak their truth and there is transparancy on what is happening
- Advanced listening and communication skills among team members and management
- The team manages itself most of the time
- Managers communicate purpose unambiguously and from their heart (in a coaching culture you will not hear a managers say, ‘I don’t agree to this, but we have to do it from the boss’)
- People feel a strong sense of purpose in their work
- Environment of continuous feedback and challenge in behavior, choices and actions in a constructive positive way (specific, actionable, leads to shift in perspective and personal growth)
- Action oriented
- Result oriented
- People are authentic
- People are curious
- Diversity is embraced
- Team members are aware of what they bring to move the team forward.
- There are no ‘hero’ bosses.
- Customers are delighted
- Coaching is embraced as a companywide platform for continuous improvement
WHAT ARE THE GAME-CHANGING EFFECTS OF COACHING?
Coaching cultures have strong positive influence on a company performance.
In the top 3 of Fortune’s list of most admired companies 2018: Apple, Amazon and Google we see leadership values that are embraced and supported by a coaching culture:
- Action oriented
- Courage to speak their truth
- Curious, open to learning and challenge their thinking
- Strong decision maker
- Result oriented
- empowers team
The International Coach Federation survey report ‘building a Coaching Culture for Increased Employee Engagement’ (2016) shows that Companies with strong coaching cultures report higher levels of employee engagement and stronger revenue growth than their peers.
WHERE TO START?
‘Soft skills’ are often the scariest to address. Systems and processes are nicely rational and we can address the issues with our intellect that we are comfortable with through years of school and academic training. In dealing with people it becomes less comfortable. It becomes unpredictable, messy, emotional and confrontational and our own beliefs, ideas and emotions start to get in the way.
The best start is to build an environment of trust and safety and teach listening and feedback skills by a tailored program that evaluates willingness, readiness, ability to adopt coaching behaviours. Such a program would typicaly be 6-9 months and go through the phases:
- Defining the objectives and asses if you are ready and willing for a cultural change.
- Assessing the learning needs to improve ability
- Tailoring and delivering a program that is a combination of reading, online resources, peer presentations, peer coaching, professional coaching
To further strenghten agile working, you can introduce new roles into your organisation that would follow the scrum approach. The role of business partner would take the rol of the product owner in scrum and have authority on the ordered list of items that are valueble to the business. The category and operational teams would be self steering and work with the business partner to identify the deliverables to work on. A coach would make sure everybody in the organisation understand the roles and would focus on the continuous improvement of the team.
ARE YOU WILLING?
What is the purpose and goal of the transformation that is so compelling that you are willing to go through the transformation that will set you in a roller coaster? Will you be able to connect to that purpose and goal in the most difficult phases of your change? This is where a professional coach can help you discover that purpose and clarify your objectives. In this phase it is also a good step to identify if there is enough clarity and connectedness with the goals and who supports and obstructs reaching that goal (using e.g. Kurt Lewin’s force field analysis); This assessment should give you an idea if your purpose is strong enough and if there is enough support for the change, or that you have to do some work there or abandon the change at all.
ARE YOU READY?
Can you allow enough space and time for the transformation and learning? What do you need to arrange to be able to focus on your transformation program? Is now a good time or should you postpone? This is where a professional coach can help you clarify what can be in your way and what you want to do.
ARE YOU ABLE?
The first step in your program will be to assess the learning needs of the people in your team (e.g. by using 360 assessments, human potential assessment or other tools. There are many excellent tools in the market). This also give you a great opportunity to actually track progress towards reaching improvement objectives On the basis of the specific learning needs you can best have a tailored program to learn skills through reading, online resources, peer presentations, peer coaching, professional coaching.
To support the business case for transformation, the benefits of the program can be tracked to calculate the Return of Investment of these efforts.
What other benefits are you looking for? What would be success of such a transformation for you?
If you want to have a more in depth discussion what it would look like in your case, you please drop us a message via email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form.
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