How Purchasing Wins Favor In The C-Suite
PurchTips - Edition # 171 February 10, 2009
By Charles Dominick, SPSM
Is Your Work Valued By C-Level Execs?
A strong relationship between Purchasing and the "C-suite" (CEO, CFO, CIO) increases the effectiveness of your department because C-level executives can open doors and energize initiatives through their support. To obtain and maintain access to the C-suite, you must be able to effectively communicate with C-level executives.
Know What To Communicate - The C-suite expects you to know their strategic goals and initiatives. Purchasing becomes more relevant to the C-suite when its operations align with C-suite goals. Don't know their goals? Ask! The question itself indicates alignment.
Be Prepared - Have correct and detailed information on your spend, your suppliers, and the state of the markets at your fingertips. You never know when the opportunity to speak with C-suite executives will present itself.
Speak Their Language - Always present requests for resources or support with a clear commitment to deliver a specific value. "If you allow me X, I'll return you Y."
Use Your Time Wisely - C-level executives have busy schedules and often get called out of already-short meetings for urgent priorities. Don't make the mistake of getting stuck in the details of your department when presenting to the C-suite. Instead focus on how Purchasing can add value and create a competitive advantage for the company. Be concise and relevant.
Use Visuals - Often, the quickest way to get your message across is by using visuals such as a spreadsheet showing a comparison or a graph showing a trend line.
Stay Visible - Meet with your closest C-suite executive regularly and provide updates on your plan. It's best to meet before his/her C-suite management meeting and provide him/her with key points to take to the meeting.
Communicating effectively with the C-suite increases Purchasing's perceived value. Treat every interaction as a step to win favor in the C-suite.
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