Dealing with stakeholders and how to succeed in procurement

In today’s post, I’m going to try to share some of the things that I’ve seen work or put to practice myself – the list is non-exhaustive and also not sorted in particular order:

Invest in your time building relationships across the organization (both vertically and horizontally)

Spend time familiarizing yourself with your peers, executives, and organization members. Understand the objectives, goals, and bottlenecks they’re going through – become an internal ‘consultant’ for the business.

Lead with passion and inspire others

Sometimes, it’s the small things that make the difference. Show your team and organization that you’re passionate about your work, and come energized and highly engaged. Try to move things forward, and take small steps to build momentum and recognition.

Roll your sleeves up

Walk the talk and deliver tangible value for your stakeholders. Try to understand their pain points, help calculate business cases using Procurement data, and discuss and resolve an issue with a ‘difficult’ supplier. Whatever it is, that gets you on their ‘radar’ and helps you build trust.

Build a great, diverse team

My last team consisted of subject matter experts, data scientists, great communicators, and influencers ranging from 23 to 70 years old. That variety kept it interesting, fun and challenging at the same time. Not the approach many would take, but variety is better than having a team of yes-men/women.

Pick your fights wisely

Not every problem is equally important, and you need to recognize when you’re trying to solve something with a lot of potential and added value and when you’re just wasting time.

The below approach from Kearney is a great guiding principle and framework for organizations to prioritize their efforts in 3 key areas:

  • Team excellence
  • Category excellence
  • Supplier excellence


I hope that the above provided you with some tips and practical advice on overcoming difficulties in dealing with stakeholders and propelling the function toward a higher level of maturity.

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