Utilizing Soft Skills to Navigate Change Management

Kimberly Morelli discusses how essential components such as soft skills and change management can be.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program student Kimberly Morelli works at Driven Brands. She shares how essential components such as soft skills and change management can be and how she is implementing newly polished tools and best practices to tackle organizational challenges.

In the CSP program, students focus on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.

My enrollment in the CSP Program from SIG University has proven to be timely and I am excited at the opportunity to have lessons that can be readily applied to our procurement organization. I also was heartened to find emphasis by SIG on positive supplier relationships versus an adversarial stance as used to be popular. The procurement team I am on has been in a state of transformation over the past few years, shifting from transactional buying to category management with a specific focus on increasing our sourcing processes. I found the CSP program to have laid a strong framework that is applicable to my organization, both in procurement and business areas.

Unpack and Repack

The approach of the lessons, starting with core building blocks (contracting, RFx, outsourcing), allowed me to “unpack” my foundational knowledge about various sourcing elements and fully consider previously held notions about sourcing strategy, negotiations and supplier relationship management. I appreciated the robust, detailed pieces of the sourcing wheel and I plan to leverage the quadrant specifics in building a defined framework to be shared across my team. As we add new members to the team who will need to strategize and execute on a defined sourcing program, I plan to take each of these quadrants and the team development topics to ensure we understand the value of the steps. Then we can build tools, checklists and key communications to support the development of processes that willfully inform strategies.

When I think about my specific categories, I reflect on the large amount of change my organization is going through, both in procurement as well as our broader organization. This course will ground my planning on future engagement and development of category strategies. The focus that SIG University provided on soft skills, change management, stakeholder alignment and influence are very topical as I head deeper into 2020. In my category of management consulting, having a new executive and leadership group will require a fresh look at my approach – understanding links to business objectives, ensuring solid understanding of the market and key supplier capabilities while aligning those with our overall goals.

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With changing leadership, the value procurement brings to business planning and process improvement will need to be demonstrated as a way for their own goals to be met. As I leverage my category strategies and focus on partnering with stakeholders, it will be important to reference the points on effective communication and positive influence to gain alignment. I did not expect the focus on softer skills in the program, but in all transparency, I found these lessons to be a good reminder of how a good portion of our role is to sell our services and value.

Having A Defined Plan

While I do not select the specific members on cross-functional teams, the topics around successful creation and change management with these teams and the specific practices can be easily translated into preparation for sourcing events, strategic business reviews and overall stakeholder engagement. In the lessons, there were points regarding the importance of ensuring we take the time to listen and to plan. If for some reason I forgot what I learned in the program, one point of emphasis I wouldn’t forget was to ensure you have a defined plan – a plan for gathering requirements, sourcing strategy, implementation, relationship management reporting or category playbooks.

After finishing this program and understanding the challenges facing our team, I now feel energized by the newly polished tools in my toolkit and practices that were presented in a compelling manner, which will allow me to do the same.

Kimberly Morelli, Senior Category Manager

I currently work as a Senior Category Manager with Securian Financial in St. Paul Minnesota. Our procurement team is focused on indirect procurement and my primary categories of responsibility are marketing and management consulting. This will be my first certification related to Sourcing; prior to Securian Financial, I worked for Target Corporation in merchandising after graduating from the College of St. Benedict.