Career Development In A Crisis

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of The Procurement and Spend Management Insider report.

As you’ve read above, the procurement, supply chain and spend management communities are taking this unique opportunity to prove their value in the midst of a truly global crisis. Procurement and supply chain is in a lead role for many companies, acting as the guiding light for organisations with supply chains under immense stress or sourcing new components for essential medical equipment required by health services all over the world.

We should be proud of the contribution and celebrate it when the opportunity comes along, whenever that may be. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see our colleagues in a work or social setting!

We should also appreciate the fact that these unprecedented circumstances are offering some amazing opportunities for personal growth for the people involved.

There are opportunities to do different things that might not happen under normal circumstances in supplier collaboration and innovation. There are new challenges managing supply chain risks and visibility across multiple tiers of the supplier base, particularly for companies that rarely look beyond tier one suppliers.

For leaders, the need to bring your teams together to achieve great feats of teamwork whilst remote working presents real challenges. Employers and stakeholders are relying on you to adapt to these changes with the future of your business on the line.

For many senior management teams, seeing how your suppliers are adapting in these circumstances and understanding what they are capable of when managing their own crisis, fighting for survival, fighting for supply is a real eye opener.

Maybe you urgently need to find a new supplier or get to the front of the queue with existing ones? How are you doing that?

Whether it’s working with your stakeholders, customers or colleagues in new ways, making progress in circumstances where tools that you have traditionally relied on aren’t necessarily available to you, or overcoming problems when everything you have traditionally relied upon goes out of the window, this is all great professional experience.

And what should you do with it? Well one thing you can do is keep a diary of this period. You should document what you are doing, maybe share experiences with current and past colleagues, see what they are doing, what they are learning and what you might have done differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Because at the end of all this, it will be a great time to strengthen your CV because these are all great learning opportunities that are providing experience that will prove invaluable in the future. Experience that could be the key to your next promotion, internal or external job move because you now have knowledge that could prove invaluable when we work out what the new business environment looks like after all this.

And what if you aren’t on the front line, what if your company has furloughed you or doesn’t see the value of what procurement can contribute? Well don’t despair because that means you’ve got more spare time during all this which, if used wisely, could be very beneficial. There are so many valuable resources available to consume that will help you get some professional development.

Andrew Daley made a video about how to prepare yourself for the future of procurement. In it, he gives some guidance on how you can take responsibility for your own personal development, and for those that have more spare time than normal now is the time to embrace his suggestions and his six point plan to protect the future of your career.

You can access the video here.