I had a completely different blog ready to go today, but realized that we are on the cusp of Member Appreciation Week, so my "New Years Resolution" blog is just going to have to wait (and how apropos...putting off those resolutions just a little longer)... As we get ready to celebrate our members next week with tokens of appreciation, phone calls and a drawing for a Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet, I'd like to say what I personally appreciate most about our fabulous SIG members:
With many of the world's leaders gathered in South Africa to honor Nobel Prize winner and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, it seemed only apropos to acknowledge the many leadership lessons that he imparted. To say he was a great man would be an understatement. How he spent 27 years in prison and walked away with an attitude and spirit that allowed him to rise above the experience and become one of the names most associated with peace and forgiveness is beyond understanding. When he spoke, many listened. Below are a few of his words of wisdom, and my take on how we can use them wisely.
"It always seems impossible until it's done." How many times have you looked at a project — either business or personal — and thought you could never get it done? Not enough time, not enough resources, not enough support...and yet somehow you find a way to do it. Most people celebrate the big successes but overlook the little ones. Yet sometimes breaking big projects into little steps is exactly what you or your team needs to make the impossible possible. Don't wait until you cross the chasm to enjoy your successes. Celebrate the little victories too.
"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again." It's a little hard to imagine judging Nelson Mandela given the magnitude of what he was able to overcome and accomplish, but the message is a good one. You can't succeed if you don't try...and the fact is that many of us are afraid to try because we are afraid to fail. Failing isn't a requisite for succeeding...but it sure can be helpful you when you're trying to anticipate all the things that could go wrong in any given situation. Think back to some of the greatest innovators of our generation. Take Steve Jobs, for example. He left Apple in the '80s because of a series of failures, only to come back and create some of the most revolutionary technologies our world has ever seen.
It's that time again...the final leg of the race...the last hurrah...the end of an era...the week before a Summit. Dawn summarized it nicely last spring when she talked about the elves busy at work preparing for "the big event." It is a lot of work...but by the time we get to this point, we know that right around the corner, we get to just enjoy the fruit of our labors. Unlike the holidays, the SIG Summits roll around twice a year, so we don't get twelve months to work off the extra weight gained from the ice cream sundae breaks. In fact, between this Summit and the one last spring in Amelia Island, we've had a mere FIVE months to prepare. But all the nagging we’ve done for presenters to turn in their abstracts and decks...all the emails we've sent reminding you to register...all the phone calls we've made asking for you to use your seats have paid off! We have an INCREDIBLE line-up of companies and speakers coming to our Summit next week. Once the Summit begins, we can sit in sessions and hear the amazing presentations we've read about for several months. We can meet the members we've communicated with by email. And we can enjoy learning about new issues our members are facing and hear the latest concepts to address them. The agenda is so rich, it will be difficult to do it any justice. The list of companies presenting is, in itself, a reason to attend...
This post originally appeared in the Allegis Group Services blog, but is relevant and with a few minor edits, worth posting here as well. Lets face it...not so long ago, being in procurement wasn't seen as a very sexy occupation. Ok...I know some of you are chuckling thinking it's still not that exciting, but I beg to differ. And I'll give you five good reasons why you should give procurement and sourcing professionals more credibility and respect.
Two years ago, McKinsey & Company published an article on Big Data, calling it "The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity." I recently ran across the article and it struck me that in many ways it was spot on. Frankly, analyzing large data sets isn't a new concept...it just has a title now...Big Data. And now that it does, as I mentioned in my last Big Data post, I can't stop thinking about what it is and how it can be better used in the world of sourcing, outsourcing and supply chain. One of the things that really captured my attention in the McKinsey article was their reference to the issues that need to be addressed regarding Big Data, including privacy and security. Imagine the collective power of the information consumers give to various sources--banks, loyalty programs, online retailers, healthcare providers--most of the time, the information you provide in one place isn't meant to be accessed by another. We expect our information to be kept private and confidential. Disclosing personal data is a slippery slope. As Jeff Bertolucci recently said in InformationWeek, "...companies implementing big data strategies might consider this informal motto: 'Don't be sneaky.'" Be honest with how you plan to use the data you collect and don't share it without prior knowledge, unless you are ready for the mistrust that will follow. Ideally, Big Data should result in something that benefits both the company collecting the information and the consumer or organization providing it. Why else would people be willing to give freely of private information?
If you are reading this blog, then you already know that a new day has dawned at SIG...and no, we don't mean there is a new Dawn or that Dawn Evans is making any changes...only that SIG is moving forward. After a year of planning, designing, programming, testing, fixing, redesigning, reprogramming, retesting and reorganizing, we have finally launched a new website! We are so excited to share this site with you. We hope you find the site easier to use…and the information you are seeking, easier to find. We’d like to point out some new features so you can maximize your time visiting the SIG website:
Calendar of Events - Want to plan ahead and make sure you can attend the next Summit or see if there are any events coming to a city near you? Our full calendar is on the home page of the website. Click on the blue links on the calendar for more information or to register. We even have all the Summit dates listed through 2017, so you have no excuses for not attending!
Sneak Peek: Peer2Peer - Our Peer2Peer (P2P) resource is one of our most popular ways to share best practices and learn from one another...and we’ve made it even easier for our members! Log in and post a question in any of the categories listed to open a dialogue directly…or if you’d rather do it "the old-fashioned way," complete a form and we’ll send an email out for you.
The Spotlight - We love this! In this area, we are highlighting recent and/or relevant white papers that are in our SIG Resource Center (SRC), compliments of our provider members. Click on the arrows or dots at the top to see the three we are featuring this month and download them for more details! Industry News - Each week we'll be updating this section with some of the hot articles trending in the space. Check in frequently for the latest news in sourcing or outsourcing OR relevant articles about one of our member companies.
This blog was written just before our Summit last month in Amelia Island: Right now I feel a bit like Santa. It is the week before Christmas (read: Summit) and the elves are hard at work and the reindeer are being exercised and the turbo sleigh just had a tune up but still, so many things can go wrong. What if the doll legs or logo’d wine glasses don’t come in? Why did the price of memory skyrocket at the last minute for the robot brain or in our case flash drives? Who is on the naughty list (still don’t have their final presentations) and who is now on the good list (confirmed for executive roundtables)? What if it rains on Summit Eve? What if someone is unhappy with their toys or their room? How do I keep the elves motivated to put in 80-hour weeks right now and then still smile and execute flawlessly? And is there enough time to make sure I can still fit in my red suit? Seriously though, this is a time of great anticipation at SIG. While occasionally you can see that someone is stressed, everyone pitches in to make sure that all the work gets done successfully. We have now worked extensively with every presentation, sent some of them back and forth with feedback four times. The Resource Guide is at the printer, the signage has all been designed and the app has launched. We have met with every general session speaker and know they are on track to be awesome. We have procured our 60 pounds of registration desk chocolate, and picked up the wine and beer for my team during the final days of prep. We are now having sticker parties (putting labels on luggage tags), pen parties (marrying pens to padfolios because the factory forgot to do so), tipping our UPS and FedEx men due to the cases and cases of items they have to carry up to the office (we are on the second story of a historic building, sans elevator).