Life Lessons from Clown College: I

I received a lot of positive feedback from my first post, and I must admit, it went to my head a little. I never knew I had so much to offer! So I’ve decided that I am going to share some of the many life lessons I learned in Clown College with you over the next few months in hopes that they will help you become a better procurement professional.

  • Be Flexible

    You never know when you’re going to have to share a car with 11 of your best friends, or an office (after your company decides to downsize). You’ll have to get along, even though you’ll all be highly stressed all day long.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

    Just like it takes a lot of skill to fold a balloon into a little dog in 30 seconds flat, it takes a lot of skill to to source 100,000 units of a specialized manufactured components in 14 days after Engineering tells you the forecasted demand they sent you in the spreadsheet was missing a zero!

  • Make Sure You Have a Safety Net the First Time You Walk the High Wire

    Just like you’re going to fall the first time you try to walk the tight-rope in your big, floppy clown shoes, something is bound to go wrong the first time you try to e-Negotiate a strategic high-dollar category with suppliers who are still in the paper-centric stone ages. Equipment will fail, a key supplier will refuse to participate at the last minute, or someone will make an unsustainably low bid (and scare everyone else away). Make sure you have your “disaster recovery” plans in place before you start. Have someone standing by to take bids over the phone. Have a relationship councillor at the go to calm the supplier’s fears and convince them the e-Negotiation is in their best interest. Make sure that incorrect and unsustainable bids can be quickly withdrawn or rejected by the event administrator. Otherwise, without these safety nets, the event might fall through the proverbial floor.

I hope you enjoyed these life lessons. Until next time, please join me as I lead the honkers in a rousing rendition of Honk Around the Clock!