3 Buyer Career Lessons From The Stanley Cup

How Can A Buyer’s Career Be More Successful?

PurchTips Edition #377

Right now is an exciting time of year for me. The Pittsburgh Penguins – my hometown hockey team – are competing for the Stanley Cup.  Believe it or not, 2017’s Stanley Cup playoffs offer three valuable lessons applicable to buyer careers:

  1. Perform Above Your Pay Grade. Before the playoffs, if you asked hockey fans who the NHL’s leading playoff goal scorer would be after 3-1/2 series, many would have picked Evgeni Malkin, who has a salary cap hit of $9,500,000. Or Sidney Crosby, whose cap hit is $8,700,000. But they’d be wrong. It’s Jake Guentzel, whose cap hit is $734,166. Guentzel is performing above his pay grade. If you always perform at your current pay grade, you will likely remain at or near that pay grade forever. But performing above your pay grade is how you can eventually demand the “big money.” So, if you’re a buyer aiming for career advancement, perform like a procurement executive: demonstrate strategic decision-making, negotiate confidently, and exude professionalism when giving presentations.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid To Adjust Your Plan. In these playoffs, the Penguins have had some embarrassing losses. But they’ve bounced back and won games again. These recoveries are largely attributable to line changes made by head coach, Mike Sullivan. The opposition figured out how to neutralize the line combinations that the Penguins were using. If Sullivan had “stayed the course,” the Penguins would have been eliminated by now. But by adjusting his plan, Sullivan has taken his team to the cusp of a championship. In procurement, we always uncover new information about the supply base, products, services, and markets. When you do, don’t be afraid to adjust your plan accordingly.
  3. Realize That Your Relationship With Your Manager Is Vital. One of the most controversial changes Sullivan made was replacing goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with Matt Murray after the first 15 games of the playoffs. Fleury had been unofficially credited with being the reason the Penguins won their first two series and was being considered as the playoff MVP up to that point. But Murray is regarded as “Sullivan’s guy.” So, despite awesome performance by Fleury, Sullivan benched him in favor of Murray at the first hint of Fleury’s unreliability. This demonstrates the value of a great employee-manager relationship and you should aim to foster one with your manager.

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Copyright 2017. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

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