Five ways to find your motivation in procurement


Motivation. Building a stellar career in procurement is like any other when it comes to needing this. Whether you’re an experienced buyer, team head or working your way through the ranks, your motivation levels are fundamental to how well you do.

Individual and team motivation may be the key to career development, job satisfaction and employer profits, but it doesn’t always come naturally. While procurement professionals know they’re central to the success of their organisation and that they’re in a position to make a big difference to numerous people’s working lives, the challenges of the role can inevitably undermine things at times.

Suppliers who don’t meet performance requirements, colleagues that make competing demands or significant product quality issues can, over time, threaten to shaken the outlook of the most optimistic individual. So, how we do find, re-gain or hang on to our motivation?

Here are five tips for successfully finding and keeping this all-important quality:

1. One goal

Having too much in our heads at once can be overwhelming. Rather than thinking about multiple issues, try to establish one crucial end-goal that will be your steer through everything. Once you put your energy and focus into that goal, it’s more likely you’ll be better placed to positively tackle the other things one at a time and feel more driven.

A goal is only as good as the plan you put in place to achieve it. For setting goals, think about you and your employer’s needs. Have you got a personal work-related ambition that ties in with your employer’s aims? You need to fully understand your company’s goals, so speak to management about all their aims, not just those linked to procurement.

Think about what you enjoy most at work, where you achieve your best results and then see if there is a common thread between what the business needs and where you can contribute most. Once you set down this one goal, it will focus your mind on what to spend your time on, any training you may need and where you need to concentrate your energies.

2. Inspiration

Doing similar things day after day is bound to feel repetitive even for the most ambitious person, so inject elements of inspiration into your routine and workspace. Spend five minutes a day reading words of wisdom from other business leaders, find out what procurement leaders around the world are doing, or how organisations in your sector are working. Can you benchmark your performance against others?

A vibrant and welcoming workspace can drive inspiration, with greenery, colourful desk accessories and comfortable office chairs and lounge seating just a few elements that can make a workplace feel much more creative

3. Make it public

Make yourself accountable by sharing your goal with appropriate colleagues, friends and family. While not everyone is the right audience for your innermost thoughts and ideas, those who will help you reach your success should be brought on side. Once it is in this semi public arena your goal will be less easy to forget about and it will be harder for things slide back to where they were.

The right people will ask you questions and potentially challenge you but will in most cases help you to shape your goal and make it clearer. You may find it changes, becomes bigger or more structured, but the chances are it will improve with good people backing you.

4. Work with others

If motivational issues are team-wide, try the goal-setting process out with colleagues. Think about a team away day, brainstorming session or informal meal out for a chat about where the department is and what you all need to move to the next level. The most successful outcome is likely to come from a plan that everyone has had a hand in, so ask everyone to put their thoughts and issues forward and ask for their ideas to improve or solve matters.

Once you have created a shared vision, this needs to be formalised in writing and clear actions set down for moving towards it. Review progress at regular intervals and look for opportunities to improve this as you move along.

5. Celebrate success

Every contract signed, every saving made and every quality issue resolved should be a matter of celebration. No matter if this is what’s expected and ‘all in a day’s work’, you and your colleagues will be more motivated if successes are properly acknowledged.

A culture of motivation ensures greater loyalty and hard work, so it’s in the interests of managers to respect every forward step taken. Congratulate people personally and at team meetings, have an office pinboard or whiteboard where small and large successes alike can be flagged up and go out for lunch with the team after the biggest wins.

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