Procurementmania: Lessons From Wrestling!

Could Procurement Actually Learn From Wrestling?

PurchTips Edition #398

This past Sunday, pro wrestling enjoyed its biggest event of the year:  Wrestlemania.  What rules of pro wrestling can be applied for success in procurement?  How about these?

Be A Face, Not A Heel.  In pro wrestling, the wrestlers beloved by the audience are called “faces” and the most hated wrestlers are called “heels.”  No matter who you are interacting with – management, internal customers, and even suppliers – it is important to not be hated.  During a stint of sufficient duration in any procurement job, you will need to ask each of these constituencies for their cooperation.  Cooperation is hard to get when you’re seen as one of the “bad guys.”

“Put Over” Your Internal Customers.  Being scripted, emerging wrestling characters become more popular when they are “put over.”  That refers to an established wrestler behaving in a way that makes an emerging wrestler look impressive.  In procurement, we sometimes strive to simply satisfy internal customers.  But know that they strive to serve the organization and look good to management.  So, learn your internal customers’ top goals, how those goals help the organization, and your role in contributing to their goals.  Then, perform in a way that helps them look good!

Never Break Character.  Despite being scripted, the best wrestlers convince the audience that their behavior is authentic.  So, you’ll never see the best heels shake hands with kids in the audience on camera.  Arrogant behavior is expected from them.  They do not “break character.”  With procurement’s fiduciary duty to responsibly manage spending, exemplary behavior is expected of you.  So, never break character.  Behave professionally and appropriately at all times.

Strive to be in the Main Event.  The dream of every pro wrestler is to be chosen to be in Wrestlemania’s main event – the best match of the show.  They earn this by being the best at what they do.  So, if you want to be invited to your organization’s most important meetings – where product launch, budgeting, reengineering, and other key decisions are made – be the best at what you do:  procurement!

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Copyright 2018. 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