Let Them Eat Cake With Co-op CPO

“Procurement talks too much about procurement. You don’t tell them what the recipe is. You just show them what the cake is going to look like!” 


Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts  with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Rigid processes can inhibit procurement’s ability to advance efficiently but there are ways to prevent them from getting in your way.  Fabienne Lesbros, CPO The Co-operative Group,  has some welcome advice on the subject, advising procurement pros to quit with the procurement jargon and cut to the chase!

And, if you’ve ever assumed that today’s CPO’s followed a clear and well-crafted career plan, think again! Fabienne explains how her ascent to the top went a little differently in today’s Career Boot Camp podcast!

Five days, five CPOs, five fifteen-minute podcasts to help you upgrade your procurement career. 

Featuring tips and guidance from the best in the business, each of our  CPOs will dedicate their week to coaching you on becoming the best procurement leader you can be!

On Day 4 of Career Boot Camp we hear from The Co-operative Group’s CPO, Fabienne Lesbros.

Need a little convinving before you sign up? Check out our teaser trailer below to hear what Fabienne had to say in reponse to our quick-fire questions.

Let Them Eat Cake!

We were interested to find out how Fabienne manages the restrictions of rigid processes. How can procurement pros prevent them from getting in the way and slowing the team’s agility?

“I would say think about the process that you use normally, what’s your best-in-class way of doing it? And then think about, Well actually what do I need? What’s the 80:20? What makes sense from a commercial point of view and what would make sense in that business particular case?  Cut to the chase, and get to the same results, because I’ve seen too many times teams taking months. They could have done it in two weeks. So it’s doing this 80:20 pragmatism. And also never talking to a budget-holder about the process, because that is the best way to set him off!

“A salesperson doesnt tell you his sales technique he just sells you the stuff. Procurement talks too much about procurement; you have to give them the cake. You don’t tell them what the recipe is. You just show them what the cake is going to look like!”

Losing the procurement jargon!

Continuous development is key for procurement professionals. What key skills does Fabienne recommend procurement focus on to help the function’s evolution?

“I think the technical skills are a given. But I think what’s missing a lot of the time with procurement people is the communication skill. People do not know not understand that they shouldn’t be talking about procurement, number one!

“Bring it back to a business conversation. No one really understands what procurement does. We are already in the position where it’s tougher, so you have to really work on that. You cannot wing it in meetings.

“I see too many people coming in, they haven’t prepared, they start to mumble and that’s it – you’ve lost your audience. You have to be precise, relevant, prepared and you have to add value.

So ask yourself, “Does this conversation add value? What do I want from it? What do I want that stakeholders should get from it as well?

“I think  procurement professionals don’t communicate well enough and this is why they don’t sell themselves enough either, because we do not sell ourselves or sell our successes in the same way that sales or marketing would. It’s very natural to them, they don’t even realise they’re doing it. But everybody knows about their existence in the company. No one ever knows about the system in procurement, because no one knows how to communicate it properly.

In short, Fabienne advises that we quit with all the procurement jargon. “That is where you lose your audience totally, because they won’t understand it.”

Listen to Fabienne’s full podcast when you sign up to Procurious. Career Boot Camp 2017 launches on 4th September, featuring podcasts with 5 global CPOs. Sign up here (It’s FREE!) 

Already a member of Procurious? You’re automatically enrolled for Career Boot Camp! Click here to listen to Fabienne’s podcast in full.