Spend Matters UK recently published a 5-part series on how to make stakeholders hate you, which presented five actions you can take that, despite your intentions, will help you achieve your goal of helping stakeholders to hate you.
In order, they were:
- Drive them Mad with Technology
- Revel in Being the Gatekeeper
- Talk Your Own Language
- Insist Every Spend Category is the Same
- Focus Purely on Savings
From a Procurement point of view, pushing for new technology, focussing on savings, and speaking the language of good Procurement is typically a good thing (as technology helps you do your job better, savings pleases the C-suite, and the language of Procurement isn’t appreciated enough). But from a Legal point of view, technology is irrelevant; from a Marketing point of view, it’s about sales, not savings; and from an Engineering point of view, the language of Procurement is irrelevant — the product has to work, work well, and be something to be proud of (damn it). So, even if it’s delivered with the best of intentions, a push for new technology, a focus on savings, or explanations delivered in your language can turn stakeholders off.
However, insisting every category is the same or revelling in your role as the gatekeeper is definitely confrontational and will help achieve your goal of getting stakeholders to hate you, with time and effort of course. But if you really want your stakeholders to hate you, and hate you with an unrelenting passion, the best way to accomplish this, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is to:
0. Take all the Credit
Assuming that you can convince the stakeholders (or the C-Suite who will force them) to work with you, the best way to truly become the target of their ire is, once the project is a success, take all the credit. While it’s true that the root of the project success — be it cost savings, quality improvements, JIT delivery, value-add, etc. — will be the result of the technology, process, and supply management experience you bring to the table (which takes the good job they were doing and makes it great), you can’t take all the credit. Remember, (as far as the stakeholders are concerned), they worked just as hard as you; they brought the category expertise to the table; they have the experience with their preferred suppliers to, supposedly, determine which tactics and methodologies are likely to yield the most fruit, and they have a need to look good to the C-suite too. (Especially if their department is seen as a cost-center and not a value-creator.)
So if you stand up when the project is done, compare the greatly improved results that were achieved when the department worked with you for the first time (compared to the dismal results the department achieved on its own last year), and do your absolute best to take all the credit, the stakeholders will hate you so much that they will strive to open the gates of hell and unleash its fury upon you. It’s the only thing you have to do to gain their eternal animosity. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. No top five list needed.