Professionals holding supply chain and procurement jobs should shun ‘vanity metrics’, such as the number of meetings they’ve had in the last six months, pursue ‘value metrics’ instead, e.g., the measurable outcomes of the meetings for, say, cost reduction, and become ‘translators’ for other stakeholders they are seeking to influence in the procurement network, a business influence consultant suggests.

Julie Masters, the CEO, and founder of influencer marketing firm, Influence Nation, advises procurement pros, whether permanent employees or supply chain and procurement interims, against the fruitless pursuit of huge networks and to focus instead on influencinga smaller number. Her reasoning is straightforward – a ‘vanity’ metric, such as a list of 5000 people on a procurement network may look impressive, but if they are not engaged and the procurement practitioner has no discernible influence over them, it’s effectively worthless.

She puts it like this: “I would rather you have 50 people who are highly engaged in everything that you do – commenting, joining the conversation and sharing your insights among their own networks – than 5000 people on a list that have never been touched.”

The ‘value’ metric here is the number of people actively engaged and influenced by the professional. For Masters, the key to engaging and influencing is for practitioners to become the ‘primary translator’ between procurement and other colleagues and stakeholders. It entails bringing insights to those engaged in the network – insights they are interested in obtaining, which may involve asking them – and then translating them into a more generic language of business, not simply the language of procurement. Organisations with different teams or departments will have many technical/professional languages, e.g., finance, IT, admin.

The art of primary translation is to use a language that all can share and understand, rather than scattering one’s prose with discipline-specific terms such as RFPs, RFXs or tenders. Becoming a procurement translator involves engagement both online and off, and Masters believes it accelerates its practitioners to the role of trusted authority.

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