Last October I attended the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) Global Summit in Carlsbad, California - an event I have attended more than 40 times over the last 25 years. Why? Because professionally, it is truly worth the time and treasure required. Because of its strict “no selling” and supplier code of conduct agreement, attendees can freely collaborate and discuss topics without waiting for a vendor to start their sales pitch. Unlike traditional trade show vendor-fests, SIG attendees are typically about 75% buyer, 20% supplier and 5% advisor.
Most businesses like to blame failed or protracted negotiations on an inability to reach agreement on the financials, contract terms, legal issues or some other business measure - but after 30 + years of contract negotiations experience, I’ve rarely seen a deal lost on these items. Negotiations are far more likely to falter due to lack of trust, or due to a weak relationship amongst the parties.
Kit Cox is the founder and CEO of UK-based BPO software company Enate, and a long-time observer of and commentator upon the international outsourcing space. He's also, now, the latest professional to come under the microscope of our Life Lessons series: we're in your hands, Kit...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
Jack Welch once said, “Change before you have to.” In today’s rapidly innovating business world, change is, frankly, inevitable. Business needs change and skill sets have to keep up. But how do you know if you are making the right changes and developing the correct skills as roles and responsibilities evolve? And how do organisations transition from job-centred to people-centred as routine tasks shift to knowledge-based work?
Every pilot/flight trainee knows the importance of trusting what the plane’s cockpit instruments are telling them. With very rare exception, the cockpit’s instruments don’t lie. What’s happening to the plane can be counter-intuitive to what your human senses are telling you. I can recall several instances in my flight training when I had to fight my senses (and fear) and rely on the data in the cockpit as my only gauge of what was actually happening and what I needed to do to get the plane to back to straight and level flight.
Several times throughout my career, people have queried of me, “How do you manage to get so much done?” I think there are a few factors, working in concert, that have enabled me to get more done, often with less, and for less. Much of what I have done and done well, I give credit to my mentors throughout my life. Many of them did not know the high regard in which they were held by me, and others. True leaders do not do it for the praise, they do it because it is inherent to their character.