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IACCM - International Association for Contract & Commercial Management Contracting Excellence Magazine
 

Contracting Excellence Magazine - Apr 2009

 
 

 

In a knowledge-based world, imagination is the final boundary

 
"We all need knowledge and information, but the pressing issue today is knowing how to apply it." This comment was made by Adrian Furner, Commercial Director, Strategic Business Development at BAE Systems during a recent IACCM executive roundtable. He reflected the views of many senior managers. Today’s professionals and their organizations are wrestling with the speed of change, shifting skill requirements, the adaptability of the workforce and how best to ensure continuous learning. Tim Cummins, CEO, IACCM
 
 
by Tim Cummins, CEO,  IACCM
 
“We all need knowledge and information, but the pressing issue today is knowing how to apply it.”
 
This comment was made by Adrian Furner, Commercial Director, Strategic Business Development at BAE Systems during a recent IACCM executive roundtable. He reflected the views of many senior managers. Today’s professionals and their organizations are wrestling with the speed of change, shifting skill requirements, the adaptability of the workforce and how best to ensure continuous learning.
 
There is no doubt that the networked world has transformed the volume and accessibility of knowledge and information. Technology has also revolutionized the way we share and acquire information. But the methods by which we apply this abundance of insight have not altered. Many professionals, rather than feeling excited by the ease with which they can access data, are instead intimidated or overwhelmed.
 
As if this challenge were not enough, another impact of the networked world is the speed with which change occurs. Remaining up to date with knowledge and methods can be a daunting task. The impacts on training and development are massive.
 
          Training is increasingly a team activity, where knowledge is shared and built across the organization.
          Experts and specialists are no longer a focal point for review and approval, but instead they disseminate their knowledge to enable and empower others.
          Training and knowledge have no boundaries — they can emanate from anyone and from anywhere.
          Acquiring knowledge and know-how is cheap. Web technologies minimize the costs of learning.
 
This issue of Contracting Excellence explores how these dramatic changes are altering how we learn, what we learn and what we do with the knowledge.
 
Here at IACCM, we feel we are at the forefront of this voyage of discovery. Here are some examples of the “new world”.
 
          IACCM members undertake personal skills assessments and receive immediate feedback on the priorities for their personal knowledge and capability development. This feedback is based on a real-time benchmarked assessment that compares them with their peers.
          IACCM corporate members perform team skills assessments that provide insight into the capabilities of their staff compared to their major competitors, revealing areas of competitive advantage and weakness, and enabling rapid investment decisions.
          IACCM Managed Learning students participate in team learning where groups of people with varying seniority and differing cultures exchange questions and ideas to drive change and innovation. They do this through structured learning materials that include interactive message boards and mentoring.
          IACCM enables experts to share their knowledge through interactive web programs that eliminate participant cost.
          IACCM provides access to a global network of practitioners, allowing instant access to a wealth of knowledge and practical insights to industry, cultural or functional practices and performance.
          Is IACCM a new profession, or the first of the anti-professions? By bringing together a cross-functional group of leaders, we are challenging old divisions and establishing new ideas.
 
It is hard for seasoned practitioners and managers to grasp how fundamental the change has been. We started our professional career in an environment where the primary source of learning was personal experience and where the opportunities for sharing knowledge were limited by geographic proximity. Today, there are no boundaries except those of our imagination.

The networked world has commoditized knowledge and information. The valuable skills today are the ability to ask the right questions, to analyze and assess the answers, and to apply the results in a practical way that delivers measurable business results.
 
Tim Cummins,
CEO, IACCM.
 
 
 

 


 

Mentoring: an untapped asset for security in a down economy

 
With the unemployment rate in the United States now topping 8% (and economic pressures prompting European companies considering following suit), corporations are being exposed to a new risk: inexperience. Tim Minihan, Ariba and Mike Marshall, BAE Systems
 
 
by Tim Minahan, Ariba and Mike Marshall, BAE Systems

Key points
 
         Global economic malaise requires companies to devise new strategies and do more with less.
         Yet, layoffs and early retirements have left many companies devoid of skills and experience to respond to market challenges.
         Mentoring is one of the quickest (and most overlooked) methods to improve skills and close the experience gap of employees.
 
With the unemployment rate in the United States now topping 8% (and economic pressures prompting European companies considering following suit), corporations are being exposed to a new risk: inexperience.
 
As in previous recessions, many downsizing initiatives focus on weaning middle managers and veteran employees. This strategy makes sense on paper. Senior employees tend to have higher salaries, take advantage of more benefits (such as 401K-matching in the US), and, on the whole, use more sick days and vacation time.
 
However, culling middle managers and veteran employees often leaves gaps in skills, experience, and valuable relationships within and outside the company. One long-time procurement director taking an early retirement package recently said, “We [veteran employees] know where the bodies are buried. We know how to get stuff done. You can’t learn that in a text book. It comes with experience.”
 
With companies facing the biggest economic challenge seen in decades, such experience is invaluable. Yet, having culled roles to the quick, companies are asking their employees to do more with less. That’s a task that many younger, less experienced employees may not be up for.
 
Mentoring to the rescue?
 
What can companies do to close this gap? In the absence of budget to hire new senior and experienced talent, one of the most effective strategies is to rapidly improve the talent of younger recruits by exposing them to the counsel of more experienced and senior professionals within your organization.
 
Mentoring is built to accelerate the professional development of a protégé or mentee through the counsel and guidance of a more senior mentor. According to David Hutchins of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “A successful mentoring relationship provides positive outcomes for both the protégé and mentor through the expansion of knowledge, skill, energy, and creativity.” 1
 
Leading companies like Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, BAE Systems, and Ariba use mentoring to tackle tough problems, and accelerate the experience that traditionally only came through years of on-the-job training. To understand how other companies were leveraging mentoring as a means for leadership development, we conducted an online poll of contract, supply chain, IT, and HR professionals. We augmented this poll with interviews and discussion threads with respondents.
 
We uncovered that just half of companies have a formal mentoring program in place today (Figure 1). Our survey also found that mentoring initiatives are primarily limited to the largest companies. Yet, those using mentoring view it as a clear competitive advantage.
 
Companies with formal mentoring programs seemed to be split on their approach. Most report mentoring as a company-wide initiative, while a smaller portion say mentoring, while a formal initiative, is limited to a particular type of employee (primarily new recruits) or a particular function.
 
At Ariba, “Formal mentoring has taken root in our global consulting organization,” said Shelia Blanton, HR Director at the spend management and contract management solution provider. “Mentoring is considered a pillar of the group’s overall training and retention program.” It is also a key tactic in advancing the group’s overall productivity goals. “The faster we can turn a new employee into an independent producer or arm an existing employee with new knowledge or skills, the better off we are as a company.” 

At BAE Systems, a corporate-wide data base of mentors is held by HR and mentees are put in touch with available mentors through HR. These mentors are not necessarily from the same function as their mentees (although this can be requested) and it is often the case that a cross-functional relationship enhances the experience for both parties. The company scheme is available to all who apply but is not mandated. However, in a company the size of BAE Systems there are also smaller special schemes, for instance, the allocation of mentors to all commercial graduates during the two years they are on the company’s commercial graduate scheme.

 
Seven habits of highly effective mentoring
 
Overall, our research uncovered the following seven tactics for developing and nurturing a successful mentoring program:
 
1.         Choose the right mentor:
 
   A mentor should be an expert in their field. Most mentors are senior leaders, and are at least two ranks senior to the mentee to promote candid discussions and direction between mentor and mentee. (Although, companies like Intel select mentors not on seniority, but on in-demand skills.) Most important, a mentor should be a good coach. “The key to success is finding high quality mentors who want to participate in the program,” reported one Nancy Rehbine Zentis, CEO at HRT TalentPro.com and President of the Institute for Organizational Development.
 
2.         Choose the right mentee:
 
   The best mentees are those who want to learn and advance rapidly. “I believe mentoring is bottom up, a high-potential follower seeking a long-term relationship with a leader for reasons of developing leader skills while still following,” said Dr. Paul Hoffman, Adjunct Professor at Bellevue University and a recognized expert on leadership and mentoring. Match mentee goals with mentor capabilities. And be sure to consider personalities.
 
3.         Set clear objectives:
 
   Mentoring programs flounder (and participants get frustrated) when there are no clear objectives. Ensure that the mentee sets clear goals for what they want to achieve from the relationship — whether it be skills development, knowledge, or career advancement. These objectives must be clearly communicated to the mentor at the outset, so guidance can be focused appropriately. It is likely that objectives will change or new objectives will be introduced as the relationship (and the mentee) advances.
 
4.         Educate and train the participants:
 
   Most formal programs include some type of classroom or remote training to clearly define participant roles and responsibilities, and provide recommended timetables, techniques and tools for a successful mentorship. Yet, a number of respondents suggested going a step further: “If there is more of a warm hand off and follow up, the mentoring relationship is more likely to survive,” adds Zentis.
 
5.         Enforce a regular schedule:
 
   Like any relationship, mentoring must be sustained over time. Doing so requires regularly scheduled meetings between mentor and mentee, preferably with clear objectives and agendas for each meeting. The mentee should be responsible for maintaining this schedule and agenda. For example, HP uses monthly, one-hour meetings, each focused on a particular area of growth or project.
 
6.         Be flexible:
 
   Flexibility is key to the success of any sustained mentoring program. The most successful programs offer no-fault out clauses to allow mentees to change their mentors due to ineffective matching, limited accessibility, or change in role, department, and so on. The program itself should be flexible enough to change in scope or even cease as the mentor-mentee relationship matures. Some programs offer a variety of mentoring options, such as group mentoring, technical mentoring, or “reverse” mentoring, in which a younger recruit “mentors” a senior manager on the work style, communication, and culture attributes of their generation. IBM recently launched a web-based tool where employees get connected with mentors based on the skills they are trying to improve (see IBM casenote on page 5).
 
7.         Measure success:
 
   Be sure to monitor ongoing relationships as well as the overall program. Many firms use periodic surveys or audit calls of both mentors and mentees to assess both the individual matches and program format. Use this feedback to continuously improve the program or reconsider matches.
 
As pressure increases to accelerate performance and productivity with a leaner workforce, leading companies will look to mentoring as a means of meeting near-term goals and creating tomorrow’s leaders.
 
 
Tim Minahan,
Chief Marketing Officer,Ariba Inc.
Email: tminahan@ariba.com.
 
Mike Marshall,
Head of commercial for the non US business of BAE Systems,
Email: mike.j.marshall@baesystems.com
 
 
Endnote
1. David B. Hutchins, “Mentoring” SPHR, July 2002.
 
About the authors
 
Tim Minahan joined Ariba, leading provider of spend management solutions and services, after years in the technology research and consulting industries. He is a widely recognized expert and trusted adviser on supply chain, contract management, and technology issues. He is also the founder and contributing editor to Supply Excellence blog (www.supplyexcellence.com).
 
Mike Marshall’s roles at BAE Systems include responsibility for learning and development, policy and process and corporate governance for this population. BAE’s commercial population amounts to approximately 1000 people.
 
 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

A day in the life: the transformational effects of Web 2.0

 
IACCM recently interviewed Vaughn Hovey, Lecturer at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, and former Chief Sourcing Officer at Nationwide Mutual Insurance. Vaughn has focused his recent studies on the way networked technologies will transform the world of work and how professionals of the future will undertake their tasks. He also highlights the growing generational divide as new workers — skilled in the use of networking — collide with those who are more reliant on traditional, experience-based forms of learning. Vaughn Hovey, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University
 
 
by Vaughn Hovey, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University, with an introduction by Tim Cummins, CEO, IACCM

Introduction
 
IACCM recently interviewed Vaughn Hovey, Lecturer at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, and former Chief Sourcing Officer at Nationwide Mutual Insurance. Vaughn has focused his recent studies on the way networked technologies will transform the world of work and how professionals of the future will undertake their tasks. He also highlights the growing generational divide as new workers — skilled in the use of networking — collide with those who are more reliant on traditional, experience-based forms of learning.
 
This extract is taken from a paper by Vaughn entitled Improving Procurement Effectiveness Utilizing Web 2.0 Capabilities, but his interest in the topic spans all those involved in forming and managing trading relationships and market management. We will feature further “episodes” from this “Day in the life” in future issues of Contracting Excellence.
 
Vaughn will welcome input and comments at any time and can be contacted at hovey.7@osu.edu.

Background:
 
The supply management/procurement profession has made great strides over the past few decades. It has grown from being primarily engaged in transactional roles like “just doing contracts and primarily placing purchase orders” to now being involved in such major strategic initiatives as global sourcing, improved supplier management relationships, significant product quality programs, e-Sourcing and sustainability programs, to name a few. Many of the information systems used by procurement professionals are often large, complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, including other non-integrated single-purpose legacy systems. The good news is that newer technologies and applications leveraging the web are being made available at an increasing pace. These so-called Web 2.0 systems are becoming more prevalent, surpassing the initial hyped capabilities and expectations of the earlier dot.com systems that were to revolutionize our way of doing business.
 
From a personnel resource perspective, there are some concerns being raised about the ease with which the Generation Y students, graduating from our universities, are more apt to be well versed in the uses of the web, iPods, cell phone/texting, networking, collaboration, multi-tasking, and so on, compared to those in the current workforce. Furthermore, the many procurement-related systems that the graduates will be asked to work with may not only be a step back from their current ease-of-use web-based systems, but more restrictive. Also, it is believed that this younger generation may have differing interests and expectations, eg, they want ongoing learning opportunities, expect a true work-life balance with flexible/alternate work schedules, will network with people they “click with”, desire open/transparent flow of information, expect more rapid job rotation, and will use technology for speed and efficiency.
 
Adding to these perspectives is the belief that the “boomers” will be leaving their firms for other key positions, or even transitioning into retirement (though recent economic changes may mean that many seek to delay retirement, potentially adding to the pressures and generational conflicts). The usual competitive market pressures will lead to additional rightsizing of resources, while some may be impacted by the increasing growth in business process procurement outsourcing (BPO-PO) initiatives as well. Many of these situations will continue to challenge senior procurement management as they effectively manage their organization’s “talent management” opportunities.
 
Key assumptions driving the need for change for procurement executives
 
Some additional perspectives that should be mentioned as key assumptions driving the need to “change the game” for procurement executives follow.
 
Best-in-class practices
 
Due to various well-known barriers many procurement organizations aren’t fully using best-in-class practices. However, as more CEOs/CFOs realize the ongoing financial challenges to their organization, it will be an imperative for senior procurement executives to demonstrate and convince senior management of the value derived from proper investments in procurement’s best practices. These will then deliver the necessary financial/supplier performance results.
 
Talent management issues
 
Overall talent management issues and ongoing business pressures in both the business and functional units will require those that currently engage in “maverick supplier interactions, unauthorized contract approvals, and back door spend” to formally expect (or request) the procurement organizations to pick up more of the responsibility and the subsequent work.
 
Legacy systems
 
Existing internal “legacy” systems that procurement uses aren’t as fully integrated as desired and require increasing annual maintenance and support costs. Resources required for these enhancements compete with more strategic business priorities, thus delaying the needed updates. However, there will be a continuing stream of practical “in the cloud technology” applications from the boutique vendors and perhaps even the major ERP firms that will provide significantly lower costs and more functional choices for procurement professionals. As more of the applications move to “the cloud” it potentially reduces the support and operation costs required from the internal IT staff.
 
Procurement unit budgets
 
There will be continued financial pressure on procurement unit budgets, leading to potential reductions of the annual costs of belonging to professional industry associations, engaging consultants, initiating benchmarking projects and travel to conferences that are seen as too tactical while not adding the strategic value required. It will be expected to more fully leverage the collaborative capabilities of the Web 2.0 applications, especially networking with professional peers and accessing the wealth of supplier and market information available. Subsequently, this will lead to the increased use of targeted webinars, podcasts and participation in virtual conferences.
 
Continuous process improvements and cycle time reductions
 
There will be an increased need for continuous process improvements and cycle time reductions in the major procurement processes to be competitive and to utilize scarce skilled resources more effectively. This will be especially felt in the re-allocation of skilled and talented resources to activities that normally take the most effort within the overall cycle times, eg, market research, supplier qualification, category benchmarking, request for proposal (RFP) development, contract preparation and negotiation.
 
Business process outsourcing
 
Business process outsourcing (BPO) of procurement-related functions will increase. As the major BPO procurement managed service providers (eg, Accenture, Ariba, Genpact, ICG Commerce, IBM, Procuri) continue to expand their business (estimated market in 2008 was US$6 billion) they will be able to formally develop and deploy the best-in-class processes, using more advanced web-based systems, with competent procurement talent, to more consistently deliver the contracted levels of savings and overall performance. On the one hand, this appears to present a competitive threat to those procurement executives who retain their internal barriers, limiting their attainment of best-in-class. Yet this BPO growth will enable some industry-leading procurement executives to develop third-party sourcing strategies that incorporate a portion of externally provided non-core procurement functions. To some extent, this would mitigate the talent management issue, while still delivering the expected procurement-related financial results.
 
Effective time management
 
Effective time management is an ever present issue. Generation Y will expect to conduct all their key social and business activities via continually improved web devices (such as, BlackBerry Storm, Google Android, iPhone, and so on) and the available websites. Due to the increasing numerous blogs, wikis, websites and social networking sites, it will require people to have crucial time management competencies to be selective in allocating the appropriate amount of time with the Web 2.0 applications performing the procurement functions.
 
Purpose of this work
 
The purpose of this work is to provide some innovative ideas as to the “A day in the life” of a Generation Y procurement professional using available and to-be-developed Web 2.0 tools and applications to more effectively perform their roles.
 
The paper will offer some thought-provoking examples within the major functional procurement capabilities and processes, eg, strategic sourcing, sourcing, procurement/accounts payable, contract management, supplier management and talent management. Keep in mind that many of the existing Web 2.0 application features aren’t fully functional or even available yet, nor might they comply with the company’s requisite corporate legal, internal audit or IT policies and security practices. However, with the exploding growth in Web 2.0 tools, it is expected that this work will over time highlight other innovative solutions and opportunities that certain companies will formally address. They’ll be able to design, develop and implement the appropriate web-based systems that will provide procurement with the necessary functions and safeguards in the enhanced Web 2.0 applications.
 
Vaughn Hovey
Fisher College of Business,
Ohio State University,
Email: hovey.7@osu.edu.
 
 

Developing People Skills - Contemporary Challenges

 

Applying negotiation best practice and advances in personal productivity technology

 
This article looks at some of today’s challenges and, together with the complementary article on p 10, written by Mark Darby, addressing the role of collaboration in contemporary challenges offers some suggestions for individual practitioners and function leaders. Mark David, CommitMentor
 
 
by Mark David, CommitMentor
 
This article looks at some of today’s challenges and, together with the complementary article on p 10, written by Mark Darby, addressing the role of collaboration in contemporary challenges offers some suggestions for individual practitioners and function leaders.
 
Key points
 
         New negotiation skills are required to meet the changing geographic scope of businesses and technological advances.
         Negotiation needs to be seen as a company-wide capability within a company-wide negotiation process, not an individual skill.
         Understanding how we can use technology to our advantage is a key personal development issue. To achieve this, we need to be aware of what is out there, and assess what is relevant or adaptable to our work.
         A framework to help you deal with organizational or personal challenges includes five key elements — knowing your objectives, development requirements, competencies, development resources and attainment targets.
 
The days of producing contract documents using specialist technicians in a center of excellence otherwise called a typing pool seems like a historical curiosity. This document producing process was, however, commonplace for many of today’s commercial leaders during the formative years of their careers. Whereas no-one is looking to re-create the days of carbon paper and correction fluid, and there is general awareness of change and its increasing speed, it is interesting to reflect upon skills development to see whether today’s working practices and emerging challenges are being met, or whether the approach and content have their foundations in the mechanical age.
Negotiation challenges
 
The traditional “set piece” negotiation where participants sit in the same room and work through the issues is now the exception rather than the norm. The changing geographic scope of business, technological innovation and ever increasing work pressures mean that the bulk of negotiation is performed virtually using conference calls, webcasts, and email. The tightening of travel budgets over the last six months because of the challenging economic environment has accelerated this trend to virtual negotiations.
 
But how prepared for this are we really? We read of financial traders who make errors using their electronic systems, like the UBS trader who made a US$31 billion mistake in February — a somewhat noticeable amount. But what mistakes do we make in our automated and non-automated systems and at what threshold do they become visible? Certainly, at US$31 billion, but that is a somewhat extreme amount.
 
The reality is that our preparation for the virtual world is largely personal and historic. Looking at the negotiation programs that are commercially available, the assumption of the vast majority is that the negotiation will take place face-to-face and that negotiation is an individual skills matter rather than a company-wide capability. The work and surveys being carried out by the IACCM’s Negotiation Community of Interest confirms that there is a wide gap between the general state of negotiation and best practice.
 
So, what can one do? The ideal, of course, is being in a position to initiate or lead corporate-wide initiatives to meet the critical challenges for your company. You, however, may not be in such a position, or realize that embedding change can take time. Below, I outline ways for all individual commercial professionals to implement change.
 
Establish a replicable process
 
Ideally, this replicable process is company-wide. It is also feasible to achieve operational efficiencies and greater negotiated value by establishing a consistent process within the commercial function and using it to “manage” the other stakeholders and the overall negotiation process. Individuals can also apply this to their personal workload, although it will have less impact for the overall business.
 
Significant benefits can be realized regardless of the resources available to an organization. Changing the way in which negotiations are planned and executed by instituting a strategic approach is an option available to all commercial professionals now, and can be addressed in a focused manner or across a company. CommitMentor has worked successfully across the spectrum of process deployment, with companies ranging from small one or two person enterprises looking for guidance on establishing breakthrough strategic contracts, through to major corporations like Cisco looking to embed leading-edge negotiation processes and cross-functional negotiation capabilities.
 
Use collaborative tools
 
There are a number of proprietary software tools available to support collaboration. They tend, however, to address individual elements of the range of activities necessary to establish and manage collaborative relationships effectively. Innovative technology like the PAM software solution from Alliantist (www.alliantist.com) addresses negotiation within the overall collaborative endeavor and provides the capability to support strategic relationships in a more productive manner.
 
Tools such as these can leverage capability and resources to enable far better business results. It is, however, important to provide a health warning. Using the wrong tools can damage outcomes. For instance, treating every negotiation as collaborative is as risky as using e-auction tools for all procurement categories — commodity and non-commodity.
 
Increase skills and capabilities
 
There is a multitude of negotiation skills training companies that provide individuals with increased tactical capability. Far fewer organizations provide strategic negotiation insight and capability. Appreciable benefit can be achieved by tapping into the thinking of the strategic thinkers, for instance, by reading the papers and books produced by the participants in Harvard’s Program on Negotiation. The IACCM Negotiation Community of Interest provides an excellent focal point for driving this learning. Additional material can also be obtained by contacting myself.
 
Coaching
 
If there is no negotiation coaching program where you work, you can institute one. Engage with fellow negotiation professionals to seek and offer coaching. Take care when using your personal network outside of your company, but this can be beneficial if you are able to ensure that confidential and commercial sensitivities are not compromised.
 
Rehearse negotiations
 
Instituting negotiation rehearsals for those key negotiations, whether they be virtual or face-to-face, can provide deep insights into both the business issues that need to be addressed, and the individual/team capabilities. The simplest form is practising your negotiation opening in the privacy of your home or office. In its fullest form, replicate the negotiation environment, dynamics and players to carry out a complete “mock” negotiation. Anywhere on the line between these two points will be a wise investment of time and energy.
 
Technological challenges
 
Every now and then a new technological application enters the public’s consciousness. “Twitter” achieved this recently after posting the first picture of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. Suddenly, there are references to Twitter across the media, with articles on the people who use it (Barack Obama, Stephen Fry, Britney Spears, to name just three). Many of us would have heard of it before the ill-fated flight from La Guardia airport, but who among us has consciously determined whether it can be used beneficially for our business, profession or career? Who remembers Twitter being a discussion point at the IACCM Americas Conference in 2008?
 
There is no doubt that technology has had, and will have, a huge impact on how we live and work. The key personal development issue is whether it is something that will happen to us or something that we embrace and utilize to our advantage.
 
With so much going on in the technology world, the key is awareness of what is out there enabling an assessment of what may be relevant or adaptable. To help with this, following is a list of 10 technologies that have been identified as enhancing personal productivity. Some are relevant on a personal level rather than for a team or organization. Some are relevant in the Apple domain. All, however, show what is possible and should stimulate thought as to what you can use for your benefit.
 
•     Things
www.culturedcode.com/things/
•     Evernote
www.evernote.com/
•     Squarespace
www.squarespace.com/
•     Dropbox
www.getdropbox.com/
•     TweetDeck
www.tweetdeck.com/
•     Googledocs
www.docs.google.com
•     RTM
www.rememberthemilk.com/
•     Xobni
www.xobni.com/
•     KallOut
www.kallout.com/
•     OneNote
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/
 
There are also a number of technology thought leaders and observers who blog (and Twitter) regularly. Shortcuts to finding them include Techmeme (www.techmeme.com/), TechCrunch (www.techcrunch.com/) or Alltop’s ego portal (http://egos.alltop.com/).
 
Personal and organizational development challenges
 
It is often easy to feel too challenged to address personal development. Survival can sometimes seem like the overwhelming priority. The reality is, however, that focusing on personal development is the best way of addressing challenging times and surviving. Investing in the future, whether done through sponsorship from your company, or self-initiated and self-funded, will pay dividends.
 
The key is establishing an appropriate framework to enable what actions will help most — buying that book, listening to a podcast, attending an IACCM Ask The Expert call or attending a workshop. The framework that CommitMentor uses for development has five key elements that can be adapted for organizational or individual use.
 
1. Objective: Crystalizing what you want your organization to achieve or what you want to achieve.
2. Development requirements: What are you going to invest to do your job now, to meet your objectives and — often overlooked — what do you enjoy?
3. Competencies: A clear understanding of your existing and future state competencies.
4. Development resources: What resources can you access? Some may be free or of little cost, like podcasts from iTunes, books, IACCM events.
5. Attainment targets: How do you know you’ve got where you want to go?
 
Meeting the challenge
 
There are huge possibilities at both an individual and a functional level. The key is putting yourself in the best position to take advantage of the opportunities as they become available, or as you make them happen. Please share your stories with us. One of the best ways of learning is by learning from others and adapting that to your own circumstances and objectives. The IACCM provides an excellent forum for this type of exchange.
 
 
Mark David,
Principal, CommitMentor,
Editorial panel member, Contracting Excellence,
Email: mark@commitmentor.com,
www.commitmentor.com.
 
In collaboration with:
 
Robert Handfield, PhD, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University, and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.
 
Rene Henschel, PhD,Associate Professor in Business Law at the Centre for International Business Law, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Denmark.
 
 

Developing People Skills - Contemporary Challenges

 

Addressing contemporary challenges — collaboration

 
Having read Mark David’s article on the contemporary challenges in developing people skills, I began reflecting on how much things have changed. As senior executives, we now do our own typing and analysis, and work remotely more often than in the past. But paradoxically we also rely on others more than ever to get the results we need; not for typing, but for complete business success. So people who can’t communicate or collaborate well and are unable to use social business software and online decision support tools will become increasingly marginalized in business. Mark Darby, Alliantist
 
 
by Mark Darby, Alliantist
 
Key points
 
         Social business software and online decision support tools are becoming integral to good collaboration and communication in strategic trading relationships.
         Strategic relationships need to be a blend of “softer” factors — formed through personal relationships, and “harder” factors — incorporating structure, process and appropriate safeguards. They cannot be sustained without both parts in balance.
         For our important trading relationships we need to shift our behaviors to accommodate more collaborative and relational models, and to recognize the opportunity cost and long-term implications from not doing so.
         There is already evidence of how technology can be the catalyst for addressing the challenges of collaborating well internally and externally, helping you get the reputation and results you deserve.
 
Having read Mark David’s article on the contemporary challenges in developing people skills, I began reflecting on how much things have changed. As senior executives, we now do our own typing and analysis, and work remotely more often than in the past. But paradoxically we also rely on others more than ever to get the results we need; not for typing, but for complete business success. So people who can’t communicate or collaborate well and are unable to use social business software and online decision support tools will become increasingly marginalized in business.
 
One of the best things I learnt during my time at Deloitte was to “show my working”; fundamentally being able to package information to share my recommendations and conclusions with others succinctly and effectively. And that is essential today because we no longer have time to read 50 page reports, let alone produce them for “time poor” executives.1 The ability to collaborate internally and externally is particularly important where we rely on individual, team and organizational relationships to help us deliver the desired results.
 
Businesses are about people, the relationships they form and the factors that drive them, with many strategic alliances crafted on the back of existing personal relationships in a relatively informal fashion. This may be a good starting point for discussion but it is not enough to guarantee success. Balancing these “softer” factors require the “harder” factors such as structure, process and appropriate safeguards. However, if you go overboard with the harder factors and fail to address the softer ones, the relationship may also hit the rocks pretty quickly, with a lack of trust or motivation to perform also being common factors stifling success. Yin and Yang evolved from the belief that mutually dependant opposites cannot live without the other, and it is the same for winning relationships; they cannot be sustained without both parts in balance. This is set out more in my book and past IACCM articles, where we describe how to develop an “effective relationship architecture”2 for your strategic relationship. There are other sources as well for learning how to deal with both the soft and hard aspects of a particular area in a joined up fashion. For example, CommitMentor demonstrates how to bring about success through developing more holistic and systemic negotiation capability.3
 



While balance is important, there is a need to shift our mental models and behaviors to accommodate more collaborative working for these new contemporary challenges (see Figure 1 for examples). We are operating in tough times, so there is pressure to keep to the left of the table, but we must openly recognize the opportunity cost and long-term implications from such practices. It’s not just a good idea either; there is significant research, both empiric and academic, to reinforce the ROI from adopting these practices. Some time ago, IDC research4 reinforced that alliances and partnerships must become less art and more science if they are to contribute to the business in a meaningful fashion, and my book explores much of the research on the subject.
 
Of course, it’s not always easy to achieve these new mental models. especially when working in complex organizations where there are so many factors affecting collaboration. These factors are shown in Figure 2 and discussed at length in my book and previous IACCM articles.5 Each factor needs to be assessed and addressed in order to enable and assist the stakeholders to develop the appropriate mindset and belief structures required for success.
 
Alliantist has evolved from coaching and advisory offerings to now include innovative software services that equip people to get better results, together with their strategic partners and internal stakeholders. Because of that I often get asked whether firms should focus their efforts on the people or the technology. It’s not a case of “either, or”, it’s “both”. We are already seeing evidence6 of how our technology can help people “change their minds” and be the catalyst for addressing the challenges of collaborating well to help you get the reputation and results you deserve.
 
Figure 2 expresses where some of the shifts need to occur. As you read it consider where you and your organization may benefit from change.
 


 
 
Mark Darby,
Principal, ALLIANTIST,
Email: mark.darby@ALLIANTIST.com,
www.ALLIANTIST.com
 
Endnotes
 
1   A good book for helping frame your thinking and presentation is the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto.
2   Alliance Brand: Fulfilling the Promise of Partnering, p 300; IACCM Contracting Matters Dec 07, Oct 08. See also, “Achieving success with collaborative negotiation is about more than
just negotiation” (2007) CE 1(2) p 15; and “Getting the most out of your relationships during tough trading conditions” (2008) CE 2(1) p 9.
3   See www.commitmentor.com
4   IDC Executive Brief October 2003 Strategic Alliances October 2003: Best Practices and Trends.
5   Alliance Brand: Fulfilling the Promise of Partnering, p 149, IACCM Contracting Matters Dec 07, Oct 08.
6   See the customer case study at www.alliantist.com/software/pam-benefits.
 
About the author
Mark Darby leads Alliantist. Alliantist equips individuals, organizations and their partners to get better results, together. Solutions include PAM, the software platform for partnering success, as well as coaching, advisory and training.
 
Mark is the author of Alliance Brand: Fulfilling the Promise of Partnering.

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


 

The role of universities and business schools in developing leadership

 
When still waters become turbulent, everybody knows it is important to adjust the ship — the sails must be trimmed and loose objects tightened. If the storm continues it might be necessary to adjust the ship’s course — and maybe even find more friendly seas to explore. Rene Franz Henschel, University of Aarhus, David Lowe, Manchester Business School and Robert B. Handfield, North Carolina State University
 
 
by Rene Franz Henschel, University of Aarhus, David Lowe, Manchester Business School and Robert B. Handfield, North Carolina State University
 
Key Points
 
         The skills and competencies required for leadership differ from those required for management.
         Leaders require a deep understanding of trust and relationship management.
         Leaders must challenge the status quo, look to the future and develop new ideas.
         Business schools and universities have recognized the importance of developing leadership skills and competencies, and offer a broad range of education and training.
         This education and training specifically focuses on learning by doing, and by connecting theory and practice, by using real life cases.
         Business schools and universities constantly seek to improve their courses, and are always open to input and new ideas.
 
When still waters become turbulent, everybody knows it is important to adjust the ship — the sails must be trimmed and loose objects tightened. If the storm continues it might be necessary to adjust the ship’s course — and maybe even find more friendly seas to explore.
 
Day-to-day management and setting the right course require different skills and competencies. Leaders must challenge the status quo, look to the future and develop new ideas. Looking constantly at the bottom line and to the future at the same time is impossible.
 
In order to develop new ideas, leaders must be able to seek inspiration from others, show originality and have the courage to be their own person. They must also both earn trust and learn to show trust in their relationships, as blind faith in control and systems may hinder the development of new ideas that can support innovation and leadership.1 But this is not easy in a time that calls for focus on the bottom line, stricter systems and more control.
 
How do business schools and universities support the development of leaders who can turn the ship back on right course, ride the wave to new opportunities and make way for growth and more profitable business for all? How can business schools and universities supply the skills and competencies necessary to be a leader? Is it something you can learn at all?
 
Our informal survey shows that business schools and universities do indeed focus on developing management skills and competencies — as well as the theoretical and practical skills necessary for change management, innovation and leadership.2 This is provided as part of a Masters, MBA and short-term courses. Our belief is that leadership skills and competencies can be taught. The following synthesis summarizes the core of the change and innovation leadership curriculum, as universities and business schools see it in relation to supply chain management, contract and commercial management and specialized programs in change management and innovation.
 
The skills and competencies that leaders need to have
 
Leaders must be able to analyze their own corporate culture and capacity for change. This requires reliable investigation techniques and data, eg, systematizing supply chain management data, interviewing managers, and creating reliable information flow systems.
 
Leaders must also be able to analyze the decision process and decision-making behavior in their own organization. This means having an eye on the overall organization design; the role of contract and commercial managers; and the differences in cultures and behavior in the different parts of the organization and in different countries; and the organizational constraints and opportunities, including how individuals work together in teams.
 
This must be combined with the ability to find new strategic business opportunities. In a contract and commitment management context, attention must be on cost-reduction and financial and risk management, and how this can be supported by technology and management innovation. Special attention must also be given to customer relationship management and to business cooperation and networks.
 
Customer relationship management is crucial in any successful contract management or supply chain management strategy.
 
Cooperation is important for success. This is particularly true at a time when trust, transparency and relationships mean more than ever for business. Leaders must understand the importance of, and be able to facilitate, networking with the right people and connecting relationships, competencies and opportunities to the benefit of the company.
 
Leaders must also know the theory and practice of change processes. This means knowing the basics of establishing a strategy; understanding how change management works with customers and suppliers and how to best implement the required changes; and understanding both the theory and practice of corporate communication and coaching as a management tool. Competency in these areas will give leaders the basic tools and skills required in a leadership role.
 
But leadership is not taught by way of theoretical courses alone. The way leadership is developed is also by learning by doing in networks. Practice and feedback from peers is important to the learning process. Workshops, assisted by business psychologists, are important in developing personal leadership traits. Students must present projects from their own company on management and leadership challenges to give them experience in solving management and leadership-related problems in their own companies. Finally, they must be able to present a thesis or paper which synthesizes all they have learned, and demonstrates their ability to identify, initiate and implement an opportunity for change relevant to their company.
 
In conclusion, leadership requires tools and skills that can be learned —working in networks, creating trust and managing relationships. Universities and business schools are working hard to supply the business community with appropriately educated and trained graduates. We are interested in hearing your experience with graduates on these issues, and how business schools and universities can help the community further in developing leadership excellence.
 
Rene Henschel, PhD, Associate Professor in Business Law,
Centre for International Business Law,
Aarhus School of Business,
University of Aarhus, Denmark,
Email: RFH@asb.dk.
 
Dr David Lowe,
Programme Director MSc Commercial Management, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Management, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester,
Email: David.Lowe@manchester.ac.uk.
 
Robert B. Handfield, PhD
Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management, North Carolina State University, and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (http://scrc.ncsu.edu). Robert also serves as a Visiting Professor with the Supply Chain Management Research Group at the Manchester Business School.
Email: robert_handfield@scredesign.com.
 
Endnotes
 
1   See, for example, Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas: Leading for a Lifetime: How Defining Moments Shape Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, Harvard University Press, 2007.
2   The survey is based on the Aarhus School of Business (University of Aarhus) Executive MBA in Change Management and Innovation; the Manchester Business School (University of Manchester) MSc in Commercial Management; and the North Carolina State University Supply Chain Management Program (SCM).
 
 

 

 


 

Organizational capabilities versus functional skills - The battle between groups for ascendancy

 
In the 21st century, companies are faced with the ever pressing challenge of matching the needs of a constantly changing business landscape against the development of the skills of their key employees. Listing, prioritizing, recruiting, and assessing the many workplace skills needed in modern organizations are daunting tasks. It is best to start with two general categories, both of which exhibit internal tensions:   •         management versus professional capabilities; and •         personal skills or qualities versus system-wide or “cultural” traits.   No aspect of either category can be neglected because each is vital to the overall success of the organization. Thomas D. Barton PhD, California Western School of Law (photo right) and Thomas M. Larkin, Credit Suisse, Supply Management
 
 
by Thomas D. Barton PhD, California Western School of Law andThomas M. Larkin, Credit Suisse, Supply Management
 
Key points
 
         With staff more and more involved in cross-functional teams, virtual workspaces and, the “management” skills they need require a focus on the holistic business aspects previously kept within the boardroom.
         Within contract and compliance management especially, the complications of globalization have exacerbated the risk management, industry knowledge and legal implications of a role that historically was transactional in nature.
         Complementary roles of management and professional/functional capabilities often compete for ascendancy, with the result that the organization as a whole suffers.
         An option is to segment the employee population into professional versus management levels, so that different skills can be grown while common skills can be shared.
         By allowing for varied developmental paths, organizations can retain top talent and focus them on the critical business needs that continue to emerge.
 
Workplace skills — organizational capabilities versus functional skills
 
In the 21st century, companies are faced with the ever pressing challenge of matching the needs of a constantly changing business landscape against the development of the skills of their key employees. Listing, prioritizing, recruiting, and assessing the many workplace skills needed in modern organizations are daunting tasks. It is best to start with two general categories, both of which exhibit internal tensions:
 
         management versus professional capabilities; and
         personal skills or qualities versus system-wide or “cultural” traits.
 
No aspect of either category can be neglected because each is vital to the overall success of the organization.
 
Management versus professional capabilities
 
“Management” capabilities are those that address the organization as a whole
 
Historically, “management skills” were relegated to the few choice individuals that occupied corner offices. Today, with the advent of cross-functional teams and virtual workspaces, the “average employee” is taking on more and more self-management in addition to basic and advanced project management. The development of skills to accomplish this shift requires a focus on the holistic business aspects previously kept within the boardroom. The constantly changing business landscape necessitates that business skills evolve much quicker and move immediately into mainstream business requirements.
 
Examples include:
 
         strategic planning — establishing and communicating mission statements, formulating organizational goals, developing strategies and particular initiatives, and allocating resources among parts of the organization;
         leadership qualities — motivating and working with others toward common goals, facilitating others towards personal development and organizational contribution; and
         administrative capabilities — smooth and efficient implementation of operations and initiatives, documenting events and ideas for future reference, anticipating risks, preventing problems, and effective resolution of problems that do arise.
 
While these skills were seen to be the purview of the “manager” in 20th century companies, 21st century global organizations have become flatter and leaner, and require employees to have a broader knowledge of the organization. Managers today, however, have to ask themselves, “At what cost?” Has there been a sacrifice of professional capabilities inherent in specialist positions for the global management requirements of the fast-paced 21st century company? Or, rather, have professional skill requirements grown in complexity even as more managerial skills are also being demanded from the professionals?
 



 
Professional capabilities are more specialized but more highly developed
 
In the days of Henry Ford, operators along the assembly line knew their places, their daily output quotas and skill requirements. The skill requirements of a 21st century professional are more varied and more highly developed. Within contract and compliance management especially, the complications of globalization have exacerbated the risk management, industry knowledge and legal implications of a role that historically was transactional in nature. Examples of the skills now required by this profession include:
 
         contract and commitment management — discerning beneficial trading opportunities and partners, establishing mutual trust, negotiating and drafting workable agreements, balancing risks and benefits, organizing and overseeing contractual performances, and modifying agreements to meet changing conditions;
         identifying market trends and production needs — gathering and evaluating information, understanding historical cycles, and projecting changes prompted by technological innovation; and
         legal compliance and protection — understanding legal issues, anticipating legal risks, and employing legal means to safeguard organizational interests.
 
The battle for ascendancy
 
Too often, the complementary roles of management and professional/functional capabilities compete for ascendancy in status, power and employee remuneration. The organization as a whole suffers if such competition results in insulation and lack of communication between one group and the other. A management uninformed by those with specialized functional capabilities risks inefficiency and forgone opportunities. A professional cadre that remains unconcerned and uninformed of organizational interests risks underutilization and personal stultification. Within many industries, finding the proper balance between the roles of management versus professional capabilities has been daunting. One emerging view of this balance is to structure the organization, compensation and hierarchal structure to support both groups equally. Figure 1 is an example of one company’s answer to this conflicting battle. By segmenting the employee population into professional versus management levels, different skills can be grown while common skills can be shared. Individuals identified as having the “right stuff” to lead people can move from the professional track to the management track. Individuals known to possess critical professional skills can be kept and grown into senior levels while focusing solely on their professional capabilities.
 
Each individual within an organization develops differently as they grow and mature in their role. By allowing for varied developmental paths, organizations can retain top talent and focus them on the critical business needs that continue to emerge. It is the nature of companies to develop in linear models that are clear and straightforward. Balancing the tightrope of these two polar positions is the responsibility of the 21st century professional. But the world in which we live is not two-dimensional in nature, there is a third (and perhaps) fourth dimension that needs to be included in this melting pot of developmental opportunities: personal qualities of individuals, and systemic traits of the organization. It is the inherent nature of individuals to bring other developmental inconsistencies to the workforce that also challenges the skills development of the organization. How should an individual manage the inherent skills of the professional and management requirements against their own personal codes of conduct, and also against the social, or systemic, cultural traits imposed from outside?
 




Personal versus systemic traits
 
Personal traits are those possessed by individuals and are inherent in their personality makeup or, more precisely, “what we learned on our parent’s knee”. “Qualities” like honesty, diligence, attention to detail or initiative are characteristics that develop over the course of individual development from birth. Capabilities like high intelligence, creativity, insight, or the ability to express oneself clearly or persuasively, combined with interpersonal skills like sincerity, empathy, openness, tolerance or cooperation, all make up the unique signature of ourselves as human beings.
 
Systemic traits are attributes that emerge from an organizational “culture”. Within corporations, there are “rules” that govern everyday activities. Whether managing the effective lines of communication for organizational goals and strategies, expectations and accountability of individuals and groups, feedback about effectiveness, or development of new ideas, corporations impose habits upon individuals that define the corporate culture where failure to obey is punished by expulsion. Checks and balances within an organization are in place to safeguard against the opportunity costs of “groupthink”. Personal agendas that compromise enterprise goals are typically discouraged, except where they are the norm as in the case of Enron executives. Limited vision or appreciation of risk by any one person or small group of people, or an overemphasis on short-term results rather than long-term success, can all reflect behaviors of the principals of an organization that get passed down to the lower ranks. Positive systemic traits can, however, nurture a deep-seated loyalty to the organization. Employees who are respected and offered opportunities for personal and professional growth, and customers who are impressed by the company’s products and willingness to keep promises, all stem from the corporate culture of the organization.
 
Steps required to harness skills and achieve a unified culture
 
Just as both management and professional skills should be facilitated, so, too, should individual skills be recruited while an organizational culture is being built. Individual skill development efforts within an organization are important, but so are the articulation and rewarding of organizational values. Balancing the aspects of skills development for an employee is like balancing a spinning top on a wobbly table. Over-compensation to one extreme or another can upset the delicate balance that keeps the momentum of the top going.
 
Thomas D. Barton PhD,
Professor, Louis and Hermione Brown Professor of Law,
California Western School of Law, San Diego, USA, Email: tdb@cwsl.edu.
 
Thomas M. Larkin,
Head COO SM & MIBM, RSR, Credit Suisse, Supply Management,
Email: tom.larkin@credit-suisse.com.
 
 

Specificity in skills and expectations

 
Possessing the right skills to be successful in any endeavor is important. When one looks at being “capable”, one must examine the specific context in which it will function. Being “capable” is as much about effective policies, processes, practices, systems and tools as it is about individual skills. Experience has led me to conclude that building a competent and capable organization requires defining with great specificity the skill (and behavior) requirements relative to the environment and expectations in which they will operate. LAMAR CHESNEY, Suntrust Banks Inc.
 
 
by LAMAR CHESNEY, Suntrust Banks Inc.
 
Key points
 
• Building a competent and capable organization requires defining with great specificity the skill (and behavior) requirements relative to the environment and expectations in which they will operate.
• Segmenting skills into the various elements of specialization requires defining the attributes and behaviors that exemplify the skill or competence. Doing so aids personalization and internalization of the skill or competence.
• IACCM connects skills, competencies and behaviors through its managed learning programs — providing online skills and experience assessments for individuals, line manager reviews and peer benchmarking.
 
Possessing the right skills to be successful in any endeavor is important. When one looks at being “capable”, one must examine the specific context in which it will function. Being “capable” is as much about effective policies, processes, practices, systems and tools as it is about individual skills. Experience has led me to conclude that building a competent and capable organization requires defining with great specificity the skill (and behavior) requirements relative to the environment and expectations in which they will operate.
 
From an individual business contributor perspective, being skillful requires segmenting such skills into the elements of technical or functional skills, managerial skills and leadership competencies. Each is distinct and serves different purposes, all in the search for being competent and capable.
 
From a supply chain management or procurement perspective, technical/functional skills are comprised of proficiency in areas such as research and analysis, logistics, risk management, negotiations, contract management and the like. Managerial skills encompass change management, team building, program and project management and communications, to name a few.
 
Lastly, leadership (that often overlooked requirement that is assumed to be satisfied by promoting good “managers” into such positions) is comprised of such competencies as exemplifying systemic thinking, utilizing judgment and common sense, demonstrating openness and self-confidence, activating organizations and building and accepting accountability.
 
Segmenting skills into the various elements of specialization still requires more clearly and precisely defining the attributes and behaviors that exemplify the skill or competence. Doing so aids personalization and internalization of the skill or competence. By way of example, attributes and behaviors that demonstrate systemic thinking can be defined by when one (i) uses his/her own framework for explaining and assessing information or events; (ii) sees patterns and interrelationships in seemingly unrelated information or events; (iii) understands the underlying reasons for events and their interdependencies; (iv) undertakes actions to impact events by addressing underlying reasons for event occurrence; (v) develops and uses new frameworks to explain large amounts of information; and (vi) creates new concepts and ways of thinking to help achieve strategies.
 
IACCM’s own contribution to connecting skills, competencies and behaviors is illustrated by the way it operates its managed learning programs. It provides online skills and experience assessments for individuals, line manager reviews and peer benchmarking. This results in a tailored personal development plan, focused on specific identified skills gaps. The individual progresses through the managed learning process using online training modules, enhanced by periodic peer team webcasts. This is where behaviors, competencies and skills are brought together in open forum, targeted to address current real live business issues. By way of example, an individual may raise on the call the question of financial viability of a real supplier. The forum would then discuss different risk mitigation aspects, and perhaps describe how past solutions no longer provide comparable protection (especially given today’s economic environment). Through the medium of such a group discussion, the theory, practice and real-time behavioral experience of all parties are brought together, and real shifts occur, resulting in better solutions and (more importantly) reinforcement of new skills and competencies.
 
As evidenced by the foregoing example, defining the right behavior requires alignment with context. Businesses, markets, products and organizations vary in maturity and readiness/receptivity to capabilities interjected into the mix. Skills required to be capable today will certainly differ from those of tomorrow. Hence, one can see the importance of tying broad concepts of skills and competencies with specific behavioral attributes germane to the current environment and current expectations. This linkage is vital to securing genuine “capability”.
 
 
W. Lamar Chesney,
Executive Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer,
SunTrust Banks, Inc.,
Email: Lamar.Chesney@SunTrust.com.
 
 

Developing commercial and contract management skills and competencies in an MBA for commercial executives - survey findings

 
In 2008 Manchester Business School (MBS) in association with IACCM launched a suite of programs, which included a specialized MBA for commercial executives, delivered using blended (distance) learning. To ensure that these programs met the requirements of the commercial and contract management community, and engendered appropriate skills and abilities, MBS and IACCM surveyed IACCM’s worldwide membership to obtain their views on the proposed content of the MBA for commercial executives in March 2008. This article presents the findings from that survey. David Lowe, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
 
 
by David Lowe, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Background
 
In 2008 Manchester Business School (MBS) in association with IACCM launched a suite of programs, which included a specialized MBA for commercial executives, delivered using blended (distance) learning. To ensure that these programs met the requirements of the commercial and contract management community, and engendered appropriate skills and abilities, MBS and IACCM surveyed IACCM’s worldwide membership to obtain their views on the proposed content of the MBA for commercial executives in March 2008. This article presents the findings from that survey.
 
Established in 1965 as one of the UK’s first business schools, MBS has developed a reputation as a leading center for management teaching and research. It is a pioneer in the use of blended learning, combining self-study with face-to-face workshops and IT support systems.1
 
An MBA for commercial executives
 
The MBA for commercial executives has been designed specifically to address the needs and aspirations of practicing commercial and contract executives; comprising a unique blend of general management and specific commercial modules. It provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on both the theory and practice of management in a commercial context. It has been designed to be practical and relevant to the specific needs of commercial and contract managers who support the demand or supply side of an organization, or both, and to managers across industry sectors.
 
The program is designed around eight core MBA modules and four specific commercial modules, plus an industrial group project (a paper or thesis of 6500 words) and a personal project (of 10,000 words). For a description of the core MBA modules and the specific commercial modules, please email David Lowe at David.Lowe@manchester.ac.uk.
 
Relevance of content to commercial and contract management practitioners
 
Those topics considered by the commercial and contract management community to be highly relevant were related to the proposed specific commercial modules:
 
         commercial and contract management (CC&M);
         risk management (RM);
         law and ethics in global business (L&E); and
         organizational behavior and human resources (OB&HR).
 
While those topics considered relevant were associated with the core MBA modules:
 
         strategic management (SM);
         project management (PM);
         financial management (FM);
         managerial economics (ME);
         supply chain management (SCM);
         business information systems (BIS); and
         marketing strategy (MS).
 
In descending order, the following topics were considered to be highly relevant, relevant, or neither relevant nor irrelevant:
 
         Highly relevant: C&CM — techniques; RM — risk and uncertainty, L&E — legal facilities; RM — process; OB&HR — communication; OB&HR — leadership; C&CM — principles; C&CM — process (supply—side); and C&CM — process (demand—side).
         Relevant: L&E — government regulation; PM — principles; OB&HR — organizational change; SM — implementation; L&E — litigation; PM — processes; FM — financial management; SM — competitive environment; ME — strategic rivalry and the competitive process; SM — corporate level strategy; MS — creating values; MS — customer values; SCM — SC design concepts; FM —accounting; ME — management objectives and stakeholder value; SCM — SC implementation and control; SCM — SC and business strategy; BIS — e-business, ME — cost leadership, and PM — techniques.
         Neither relevant nor irrelevant: MS — marketing research.
 
Global relevance
 
The survey revealed a high degree of homogeneity based on the respondents’ regional location, with significant differences found in their responses to only three of the 30 topics areas: C&CM — process (supply side); L&E — litigation; and L&E — government regulation. The content of the MBA is considered, therefore, to be appropriate for delegates irrespective of their global location.
 




 

 

 

 

 

 
Functional relevance
 
Regarding the program’s applicability to those who support the demand side, supply side, or both sides of organization — again, there was a relatively high degree of agreement in the responses to the survey irrespective of the function undertaken by the respondents. Where differences did occur, they were linked to the peculiarities of the function; for example, the obvious link between procurement and demand side processes, and supply chain management. The content of the MBA is considered, therefore, to be appropriate to delegates, irrespective of their C&CM function.
 
Prior experience and length of involvement in C & CM
 
No significant differences were found in any of the topic areas between subgroups based on prior education. However, some differences were revealed between subgroups based on length of involvement in C&CM; these appear to show a similarity in the responses of those with the least and the most experience concerning the perceived importance of C&CM and PM processes. Additionally, those with 5–10 years’ experience seem to perceive project management as being less relevant to their role.
 
Skills and abilities considered important
 
Respondents were asked to rate 40 skills and abilities, comprising both “soft” core skills (individual and interpersonal processes and behaviors) and task-specific competencies believed to underpin the contract and commercial management role.
 
Those skills and abilities considered to be highly important (in order of importance) were:
 
         negotiation;
         communication;
         analyse and manage risk;
         understand business objectives;
         contract management;
         problem solving;
         commercial awareness;
         think logically;
         manage relationships;
         influence others;
         analytical;
         manage conflict;
         take a broad perspective/think laterally;
         collaborate;
         work in cross-functional teams; and
         draft contracts.
 
Analysis of the responses enabled the items to be subdivided into core and secondary/additional skills, plus core and secondary competencies.
 
These results are generally consistent with previous IACCM surveys, although the list of potential skills and abilities used in this current survey was considerably more extensive.
 
The main area of divergence in this survey is the relatively low importance given the skill/ability to: manage documents, numerical (math skills); subdivide work into packages; manage cash flow and IT. These skills and abilities had been found to be important to commercial managers working within the UK construction sector. Further items considered to be of moderate importance were: develop new business; use CM/Sourcing software; and marketing. Additionally, it is interesting to note that “leadership” was only rated as a secondary/additional skill, considering commercial managers’ aspirations to seek a more strategic role within organizations — but to achieve this they need to be seen as “leader”.
 
As with the content in the MBA for commercial executives, tests for differences between subgroups based on the regional location of the respondent, function/type of contract professional, level of academic qualification, and length of experience in C&CM revealed a relatively high degree of commonality in the respondents’ responses. This was particularly true for regional location and prior education of the respondents.
 
In terms of the relative importance of the skills and abilities between the different functions represented in the sample, the differences that did occur are generally consistent with the roles undertaken by the different functions.
 
Finally, the results indicate that those with the least experience (particularly those with less than five years’ experience) consider the skills/abilities associated with bidding, building teams, project management, marketing, IT, managing documents, use of CM/Sourcing software and thinking logically to be more important than those with longer experience. These tasks are perhaps more pertinent to their current commercial role.
 
Will your company help you acquire the skills for the future?
 
A previous IACCM survey found that while 42% of the respondents thought that their company would help them acquire the skills they need for the future, a further 42% were unsure that their company would and 16% considered that their company would not help them. It also established a clear positive relationship for both job satisfaction and career path with support from the organization in the acquisition of skills and knowledge, and in providing clear and meaningful rewards for high performance. Organizations should consider introducing (or enhancing existing) mechanisms that recognize and reward high performance and enable staff to acquire new skills and knowledge.
 
 
Dr David Lowe,
Programme Director MSc Commercial Management/Programme Champion MBA for Commercial Executives, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Management, Manchester Business School,
University of Manchester,
Email: David.Lowe@manchester.ac.uk.
 
Endnote
 
1 MBS’s MBA is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and was ranked 4th in the UK, 10th in Europe and 22nd in the world in 2008 by the Financial Times.
 
 

From the front line

 
 
 
Thomas Oswald asks: How can a non-lawyer strengthen their understanding of terms?
 
Responses:
 
Mark Hope: A quick way of grasping the guts of these three issues would be to review a contract your company has negotiated with a “reasonable” customer which hopefully has resulted in fair and reasonable terms being thrashed out. I say this, as if you look at many companies’ standard contracts, particularly in the UK, your research won’t lead you to understand what is reasonable and good practice. Also, if you review a contract in respect of goods/services you are familiar with, the context will be much clearer.
 
In essence, in my view, a reasonable contract (in the UK) would include the following:
 
Limitation of liability
 
a Unlimited liability where liability cannot be limited (eg, employer’s liability, liability for fraud, good title under sale/supply of goods/services legislation).
b Liability only if negligent.
c Financial cap.
d Exclusion of liability for consequential losses, loss of business etc.
e Reciprocal — same for both parties.
 
A reasonable clause shouldn’t be asking the seller to indemnify the buyer against all losses — this is basically unlimited liability.
Indemnification
 
Most of the time there is just an indemnity against IPR [intellectual property rights] infringement. This is a different issue to limitation of liability, as the intent here is that the seller deals with any infringement/alleged infringement and protects the buyer from the issue rather than being liable to pay losses/damages.
 
IPR
 
Main provisions will be a warranty specifying that the seller owns the IPRs or has the right to licence the product/service to the buyer to use, the grant of a licence to use and the associated IPR indemnity.
 
As others have said, experience helps with all this so the good news is that it only gets easier!
 
Tim Cummins: Tom, as you know, IACCM has material on this in the Managed Learning modules. There are also some good books and I will be happy to recommend a few, based on the contract type that you are dealing with. You might also explore the IACCM library and I would especially recommend that you look at the Americas conference presentation from April 2008 delivered by Lothar Determann and Rene Henschel, where they covered the top negotiated terms.
 
Charles Rumbaugh: I suggest you start with your own organization and corporate history, eg Why change a term in a future contract with a current (long-term) customer without a reason to do so; ie, you need a very good reason to change! So, collect internal data, read contracts, and so on.
 
Get a training budget and attend several sessions on terms and conditions and, in particular, for your specific industry. A couple of books, eg Contracts in a Nutshell by West Publishing, should be a great start.
 
Tim Nuckles: Another suggestion would be to take a business law class online or through a university, extension, or vocational school. A good portion of any such class will address contracts. Or, you may be able to identify the textbook used for such a class, buy it, and read it on your own.
 
Christine Boettger: I absolutely agree with enrolling in a business law class or, if it’s federal contract, a government contracting class. I have taken several during my undergraduate and graduate programs and they are worth their weight in gold. Always take advantage of the wealth of resources available. And don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues questions.
 
 

Want better results? Motivate, don’t mandate — experiences of Hess Corporation

 
C-level attention is always a good motivator. Yet, mandates alone do not yield intended results. Hess Corporation finds success requires the right metrics to drive the right behaviors and results.   An unpredictable global economy, heightened supply and customers risks, and tight credit, have many companies looking internally to drive greater productivity and lower costs. Increasingly, top executives are imposing new mandates for employees to curb expenses and work harder.  Tim Minahan, Ariba
 
 
by Tim Minahan, Ariba
 
C-level attention is always a good motivator. Yet, mandates alone do not yield intended results. Hess Corporation finds success requires the right metrics to drive the right behaviors and results.
 
An unpredictable global economy, heightened supply and customers risks, and tight credit, have many companies looking internally to drive greater productivity and lower costs. Increasingly, top executives are imposing new mandates for employees to curb expenses and work harder.
 
While such C-level attention is always a good motivator, there is mounting evidence that mandates alone do not always yield their intended results. In fact, corporate mandates are often met with skepticism by the troops as “yet another company initiative” that will soon be supplanted by another new initiative. Driving change requires a balance of top-level support, training, and, most importantly, using the right metrics to drive the right behaviors.
 
That was the experience at Hess Corporation when driving global system adoption and alignment for its strategic sourcing program. After piloting sourcing automation a few years back, the oil and gas giant transitioned to a global adoption program, mandating that all spending be sourced online — from tension leg platforms (TLPs) for ocean drilling to maintenance parts and services. However, an audit revealed that the mandate was not being followed.
 
Carl Tatum, Supply Chain Specialistat Hess, said a spot check of several e-RFx projects found inconsistent practices, incomplete data to support reporting, limited use of Hess’ sourcing tool’s full capabilities, and misalignment with sourcing and business strategies. “The mandate alone wasn’t working,” said Carl. “Buyers were not doing all sourcing in the tool and were not collecting key information on what was being bought, who it was for, or how much volume was being sourced.”
 
Hess’ resolution was a simple but often overlooked tactic: it made sourcing automation usage part of the individual buyer’s scorecard. Within six months of instituting the metric, the percent of sourcing projects managed online climbed from just 45% to greater than 85%. And the percent of required data entered into the sourcing system (eg, category sourced, dollar volume, reason for sourcing, award details and so on) climbed from 45% to greater than 95%.
 
“Measuring buyers on compliance finally drove the change in behavior we needed to make the program a success,” said Carl. He added that Hess is also bolstering program compliance through “Lunch and Learn” training sessions designed to teach buyers online sourcing tactics, such as building better bid forms, leveraging online surveys for requirements definition and supplier intelligence, and using e-RFx templates. “We knew buyers would never pass up a free lunch. So we’ve been able to get high attendance at these sessions.”
 
Now that the program has gained compliance, Hess has turned its focus to infusing strategy into its online sourcing projects, using advanced negotiation approaches, and evaluating e-RFx and awards to ensure all online sourcing events are structured to support optimal business objectives and strategies.
 
Tim Minahan is Chief Marketing Officer at Ariba, Inc., a leading provider of spend management and contract management solutions. Tim joined Ariba after years in the technology research and consulting industries. He is a widely recognized expert and trusted adviser on supply chain, contract management and technology issues and is the founder and contributing editor to Supply Excellence blog (www.supplyexcellence.com). The above article contains excerpts from a previous Supply Excellence post.
 
 

Are skills and knowledge on hold?

 
In October 2008, an open letter signed by business and trades union leaders as published in British newspapers. The letter, entitled “Now is the time to invest in skills”, encouraged individuals and companies to resist the temptation, triggered by the challenging economic environment, to cut training. It noted that cutting training seems like an easy option in difficult times, but that the consequences may increase the degree of difficulty being faced as companies that don’t invest in training are two and a half times more likely to fail than those companies that do. Mark David, CommitMentor, with collaboration from Rene Franz Henschel and Robert B. Handfield
 
 
by Mark David, CommitMentor,
with collaboration from
Rene Franz Henschel and Robert B. Handfield
 
Key points
 
         Budget cutting by companies, in many cases, is a pre-emptive action in anticipation of tough times — but the very action that is designed to achieve survival runs the real risk of accelerating a company’s downward spiral.
         Previous recessions have provided clear evidence that dramatic changes in market position can be achieved through strategic investment, as opposed to decisions governed by caution and prudence.
         Ten ways to get money for skills and knowledge training in a recession are discussed — all of which require demonstrating that both the company and the individual will benefit.
 
In October 2008, an open letter signed by business and trades union leaders was published in British newspapers. The letter, entitled “Now is the time to invest in skills”, encouraged individuals and companies to resist the temptation, triggered by the challenging economic environment, to cut training. It noted that cutting training seems like an easy option in difficult times, but that the consequences may increase the degree of difficulty being faced as companies that don’t invest in training are two and a half times more likely to fail than those companies that do.
 
The following headlines from around the world suggest that this message is being lost in the gloom of bad news and the concerns and nervousness that the economic downturn is causing.
 
         “Staff training: Chill wind hits training budgets. A new survey reveals that companies are cutting back on staff skills” The Guardian 27 January 2009.
         “2009 is shaping up to be one of the toughest years in decades … businesses have indicated an intention to make substantial cuts to discretionary spending, in areas such as training” Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) – Deloitte survey 21 January 2009.
         “[New York Police Department] Police Commissioner Ray Kelly surprised the City Council with the news that there would be no 2010 police academy class” MSNBC 13 February 2009.
 
The organizations that are cutting or freezing training expenditure are, of course, not looking to reduce their ability to meet the increasing challenges that their businesses face. The budget cutting, in many cases, is a pre-emptive action in anticipation of tough times, looking to conserve cash, certain that the revenue outlook is poor, and uncertain as to when the market will come back. Of course, the very action that is designed to achieve survival runs the real risk of accelerating the downward spiral.
 
On an individual level the challenge is similar. Most people expect their employer to fund their personal development. Whereas this trait has reduced over the years, it has not kept pace with the evident demise of the “job for life” expectation that was the norm a few generations ago. At a time when the headcount is being cut in all business sectors, it can feel reckless to push your line manager for that training course or conference place. It may be tempting to rationalize that learning is to be had in day-to-day operations and can be accelerated in some respects due to innovative work being encouraged to meet new challenges. The reality is, however, that for most people, personal development pauses.
 
Of course, most companies will get through this economic downturn without failing and most people will stay in employment. This provides some comfort but does not provide a plan for success. Previous recessions have provided clear evidence that dramatic changes in market position can be achieved through strategic investment as opposed to decisions governed by caution and prudence. Kellogg overtook Post to lead the breakfast cereal market during the 1930s depression. More recently, Google launched during an economic downturn and has subsequently dominated the search market. (Do you remember with whom you used “to Google” before Google?)
 
The rationale for refusing to put skills and knowledge on hold is clear. Maybe the manner of doing so is less clear. In a world where decisions about freezing budgets may be taken by individuals at the top of organizations from the corporate equivalent of Mount Olympus, it can be challenging to challenge. An overt challenge is, of course, unlikely to succeed, but there are approaches that can work.
 
Approaches to get money for skills and knowledge training in a recession
 
1. Clear ROI and payback period
 
Crisply documenting the reason for the skills development activity, the cost, the benefit and the cost of not performing the activity provides a powerful vehicle for assessing whether pursuing the activity makes sense or not. Not every aspect can necessarily be calculated in financial terms, but engaging in a financial consideration both focuses the mind in considering whether a training course or master class or e-learning module makes sense to pursue now and also is talking the same language as those that are freezing or cutting budgets. There is a greater chance of, say, a program to improve negotiation capability being supported if the justification is the creation of greater financial value and this value is measurable and tracked.
 
Long-term education and very expensive training must be supplemented with short-term courses, as well, and low-budget training opportunities. This will “get the camel through the needle-whole”. Providers must understand this new market and adapt/develop their offerings accordingly.
 
It is interesting to note that in Denmark, a company will get a refund if they send people on training instead of sacking them. The training must be approved as a “public education”. This model has been established by the trade unions and the public body unemployment unions making an agreement with the companies that they will pay the member’s salary when the employers provide training or education. The system is flexible, so the employee may, for example, have two days at work and three days at school each week with the company only having to pay the two days. Therefore, instead of firing 10 people, they will send 17 people to school three days a week!
 
This Danish approach provides a model that can serve other countries well and we encourage companies and employees to discuss this with respective political organizations.
 
2. Critical staff retention
 
The winners in the market will be the ones who can recruit and retain key talent. Key talent wants to be in an environment where they can develop and grow and not stand still or move backwards, losing value in the market. Therefore, putting education and training on hold may cause talented personnel to look for other opportunities, beginning or reinforcing a deadly spiral for a company in crisis. The company must understand the need to strike the right balance between cutting costs and keeping talent and competitiveness and then ensure that this is practically addressed.
 
Allying with HR departments can greatly assist you with this cause as HR can add weight to the argument, has access to data supporting this issue and also needs to be on your side to counteract a not unusual corporate attitude that having people leave might be beneficial from a headcount/cost perspective — and that prospective employers will be equally challenged economically, meaning fewer alternative employment opportunities and not many jobs with guarantees of training or educational support.
 
A recent survey completed by IACCM 2009 Big Issues for Sales Contracts/Commercial Groups (IACCM member survey January 2009) sought to identify the current trends that companies are facing based on the economic issues. The survey found that companies are more worried then ever about losing key personnel. Over half of the respondents indicated that hiring activity is being put on hold until further notice, and one-third have put budget restrictions in place on travel and new training programs. Commitments to existing employees remain firm, as two-thirds of the population are committed to retaining employees and especially not losing their supply chain talent.
 
Clearly, the need to retain talented individuals who can sustain cost savings and maintain operations in the face of economic adversity remains a priority. These individuals often possess the know-how, experience, and ability to manage complex contracts, and their talents are in high demand at the moment. At the same time, individuals we spoke with mentioned the need to continue critical training programs, especially to retain high potential individuals. “The risk is that we can lose some of our best people to other companies in this environment if we are not careful, while those that we can afford to lose stay on!”
 
3. Development partnerships along the supply chain or across sectors
 
This is an interesting area that provides considerable scope for innovative development. Whereas not many organizations are embracing the concept, major Danish corporations are showing leadership by co-operating in order to reduce costs for training and development. This is done by joining forces so that employers, in, for example, five to 10 companies, form training pools. Typically, companies that are not direct competitors work together. In this way, they share the costs of training and education without risking too much, and also network to share knowledge of how to get past the crisis. The fear that some employees might think that the grass is greener on the other side and look for new opportunities is balanced, as it works both ways.
 
A number of companies we spoke with are also holding joint consortiums for training with their suppliers, in order to leverage costs and commit to mutual cooperation on future projects.
 
4. Non-traditional skills and knowledge delivery
 
A leading example is the IACCM e-learning offering that really provides something new: the possibility of a peer-driven education based on interactive platforms and low-cost training and education, where travel budgets do not rule out the possibilities from the very beginning. IACCM is also focused on project-based learning, whereby the application of concepts is driven into specific project activity, which is presented back to the group a month later.
 
5. No and low cost skills and knowledge development
 
Non-traditional skills and knowledge delivery can have a very positive cost impact. It is clear that distance learning is really on the agenda as this saves a lot of costs, and electronic training and education will certainly be in focus in the following years. So too will “flexible MBAs” and the like, where you can take a course over six years, for example, when it suits you or your company and the economy! Additionally there is a need to utilize more specialized courses that deliver critical knowledge swiftly and inexpensively.
 
6. Leveraging what you already have invested
 
The majority of personal development and training is individual. This means that the benefits to the individual are unlikely to be shared across the team of which the individual is a part. Structured sharing can powerfully leverage the investment in development but needs to map onto a wider culture of sharing team behavior.
 
Practical suggestions include getting IACCM conference participants to report back to the wider team or getting buy-side and sell-side colleagues to conduct joint sharing sessions. Joint learning activities, where participants share their experiences, are valuable, particularly when training is part of an ongoing leadership forum, whereby individuals are transferred into different parts of the business and develop a global cross-enterprise network.
 
7. Benchmarking within and outside the organization
 
Understanding where you sit in comparison with other professionals and organizations provides the ability to make informed decisions on training and education needs and investment. The IACCM’s skills assessment benchmarking reports provides the capability to make an informed analysis, based not only on an individual view of what needs to happen, but on a wider global perspective. It will not define what you should do, but it will provide the information and landscape to better assess the gaps that need to be addressed.
 
8. Skills/knowledge development “swapping”
 
Offering to share your expertise in return for someone else sharing their expertise is a simple way of mutually increasing capability. This is the idea underpinning IACCM blogs, communities of interest and discussion fora.
 
This idea is also used by the Danish companies previously mentioned. They have established a “club” where they aim to differentiate by having the highest standards (eg, their own academies for training).
 
9. Leveraging networks
 
Networks can be established and leveraged on a functional and individual level, as already referenced in this article. On a commercial professional level, IAACM facilitates networks, and there is also the opportunity for more local personal and institutional networks. These can be very effective. One example can be seen at www.dcma.dk, where short (free) conferences are arranged in cooperation with industrialist associations, thereby offering knowledge sharing.
 
10. Having a clear framework for personal development
 
Every organization should introduce a new strategy for training and education, skills and knowledge planning in these new times. The ideas must be developed in support of creating a positive upward spiral. The framework that CommitMentor uses for development and an overview of its five elements (Objective, Development Requirements, Competencies, Development Resources and Attainment Targets) can be seen in the article “Developing people skills — contemporary challenges” on p 8 of this issue.
 
Conclusion
 
Skills and knowledge development needs continue and, if anything, accelerate during an economic downturn. As individuals, commercial professionals and function leaders, we need to ensure that the understandable pressures on budgets are channelled to ensure that these needs are met by using some or all of the practical approaches identified in this article. We are interested in hearing your experience with these and any other measure that you are taking.
 
Mark David,
Principal, CommitMentor,
Editorial panel member, Contracting Excellence,
Email: mark@commitmentor.com
www.commitmentor.com.
 
With collaboration from
 
Rene Henschel, PhD, Associate Professor in Business Law,
Centre for International Business Law,
Aarhus School of Business,
University of Aarhus, Denmark,
Email: RFH@asb.dk.
 
Robert B. Handfield, PhD,
Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management,
North Carolina State University, and
Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (http://scrc.ncsu.edu).
Robert also serves as a Visiting Professor with the Supply Chain Management Research Group at the Manchester Business School.
Email: robert_handfield@scredesign.com.
 
 

Celebrating Paukar Raimi (the March equinox) in Quito with Bruce Horowitz

 
 
 
Celebrating Paukar Raimi (the March equinox) in Quito with Bruce Horowitz
 
My home is a green Andean valley in Ecuador — a land of cultural surprises, fascinating biodiversity (including the Galápagos Islands), complex ancestry, stunning architecture, and the Panama hat ...
 
Quito, Ecuador, where I live, is a world heritage site, cradled at 10,000 feet above sea level in a green Andean valley, a mere 20 minutes from the Equator. Here, the sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm, every day … always.
 
For the rest of the world, March 20 is either the first day of Spring or the first day of Autumn. In Quito, every day tends to have some spring and some autumn. What is so special for us about March 20 (Paukar Raimi — the equinox), is that this is one of only two days in the year when the world shares together the equilibrium and equality of approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. The sun rises everywhere on earth (except the Poles) at 6am and sets at 6pm. The Equinox is celebrated in all corners of the Earth in differing ways, for some it’s the New Year, others hold cultural or religious festivals (one ancient Egyptian ceremony can be traced back as far as 2700 BC). The Equinox is a public holiday in many countries, it divides calendars, and in many Arab countries Mother’s Day is celebrated on the March equinox.
 
In Ecuador, at ancient solar astronomy sites at the equatorial line near Quito, ceremonies with special dress and dance dedicated to the sun and the Earth honor Paukar Raimi.
 
Join us in celebrating our shared heritage of the Equinox …. next year!
 
 

 
 
 

Editor
Kerrie Tarrant
ktarrant@iaccm.com

Consulting editor

Tim Cummins, CEO, IACCM

Vice President of Research and
Advisory Services, and Advertising
Sales enquiries

Katherine Kawamoto

Editorial Panel
Mark David, CommitMentor, UK.
Craig Guarente, Oracle, US
Helena Haapio, Lexpert Ltd, Finland
Doug Hudgeon, Macquarie Bank Ltd, Australia
William Knittle, BP, UK
Lamar Chesney, SunTrust Bank Inc, US
Sterling A. Spainhour, Charlotte School of Law, US
Christoff Hoefner, Nokia Siemens Netwroks, Germany

Automation and technology panel

Mark Darby, Alliantist, UK
Ashif Mawji, Upside Software Inc, Canada
Tim Minahan, Ariba, US
Kevin Potts, Emptoris, US

Guest Editorial Panel
Thomas D. Barton, PhD, Louis and Hermione Brown, Professor of Law, California Western School of Law, San Diego
Thomas M. Larkin, Head COO SM & MIBM, RSR, Credit Suisse, Supply Management
Robert B. Handfield, PhD, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management, North Carolina State University, and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative
Rene Henschel, PhD, Associate Professor in Business Law, Centre for International Business Law, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Dr. David Lowe, Programme Director MSc Commercial Management, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Management, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
Mike Marshall, Head of commercial for the non US business of BAE Systems

Address: International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM)
90 Grove Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 USA.
Ph: (1) 203 431 8741, www.iaccm.com
Editor: ktarrant@iaccm.com
Sales enquiries: kkawamato@iaccm.com

Production
Print
:  Julianne Billington, LJ design, Australia
               www.billingtonphotography.com.au

_____________________________________________________

This issue may be cited as (2009) 2(4) Contracting Excellence.
ISSN: 1937-9765; ISSN: 1937-9757

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