Inspired by Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, Market Dojo are investigating what the first 100 days of a successful CPO would look like. Grey Tennyson, Chief Procurement Officer at VSP Global and formerly CPO at Salesforce discusses his thoughts on how he would transform your procurement team in the first 100 days.
You’re hired! After the jubilation of accepting a job wears off and you’re successfully on-boarded to your new company, you learn you have 100 days to develop a plan. This plan that will begin a journey of procurement transformation that surpasses the expectations you shared during the new hire process. The opportunity is ‘greenfield’: building out a procurement function where one didn’t previously exist or where the function never took hold for one reason or another.
You have 100 days to develop a plan. What’s first?
There are various approaches to transformation and the key is to find the right one for your project. The approach I will share is based on my personal experiences building out the procurement function (source-to-settle) at a Fortune 50 company, at a hyper-growth entrepreneurial company, and (most recently) at an established, well-diversified healthcare company.
First course of business – assess the current state if you didn’t do so during the interview process. Have a conversation with anyone willing to engage starting with your new team, executive leadership, and cross-functional stakeholders. You need to understand your inherited brand firsthand – including the perspectives and opinions of your inherited procurement function. These discussions are important on several fronts because they:
I recommend partnering with a change management guru and a project manager to articulate the business requirements that will form your vision, set a definition of success, and develop a communication strategy and cadence. Do not underestimate the impact of change and the new behaviours that are required to effect better business outcomes.
At my current company, we took a slightly different approach to transformation based on our unique combination of vision, culture, and employee demographics. Early on we reached out to Marketing to create a ‘drip campaign’ comprised of video vignettes, campus signage, and direct outreach. The whole effort centred on our mascot – Moolah, a big fury, purple creature that was accompanied by a tagline – ‘Spend It Like Its Yours’ (loosely based on the acronym ‘SILIY’ – pronounced silly). The objective was to have fun with the initiative, which is one of our values. The result was celebrity status for Moolah and greater acceptance of the initiative. Frankly, it was fun to see employees taking selfies of Moolah at all-hands-on-deck meetings.
Included below is a checklist based on my experiences to help develop your plan. Again, model or pivot based on what you observe in front of you and the expectations of procurement. There is no absolute right answer.
Appreciate that procurement transformation is a journey with a starting point that is unlikely to ever end. You iterate, detour, and adapt to meet the needs of the organisation. Investment is required in the three buckets of people, process, and technology – and most importantly, the leadership team – to stay relevant.
You will encounter setbacks, and your ability to recover will test the team. How they (and you) respond will determine the overall success of the initiative. Most importantly – have fun if you are fortunate enough to have that as a key value at your company.
If you’re interested in discovering more from Greg Tennyson, listen to the Art of Procurement discussing “A CPO’s View on Building Effective Procurement Teams“.
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