Into the Unknown

Like almost everyone who is blessed with young daughters at home and many other fans of Frozen, I recently enjoyed Frozen 2, which was full of tough emotions like facing fears, dealing with grief, and love. Many life lessons and many that actually apply to – you guessed it – procurement! Yes, believe it or not, you can learn about procurement from Frozen 2 (you heard it here first!)

For instance, in the Capgemini Research Institute’s Emotional Intelligence Research Employee Survey from Sept 2019, it states just two years ago 40% of millennials thought that their skills are already or will be redundant in the next one to three years, and in 2019 it has grown to 50%. The study concludes, “Evidently, millennials are aware of the impact of automation and AI, and are getting more anxious because they realize that they will absorb the maximum impact of automation.” And, they are correct. “Various studies on the impact of automation and AI show that jobs of the younger population run the highest risk of being automated. A report from the OECD states that automation is much more likely to result in youth unemployment than in early retirement.”

Much like Elsa, we have a choice to make within Procurement. Do we ignore and fear the unknown – how technology will shape our world and change the jobs we are doing today? Or, do we face the unknown, do the “next right thing” (yes, that is a reference to Anna), and prepare now, both individually and as leaders of organizations? Like most change, those fearing and doubting will fall behind and be at risk for a downward spiral of ongoing impacts.

3 Next Right Things to Do When You Fear Technology:

1. Stop Being the Victim – If you feel like something is being done to you in life, in general, the reaction is one where you are looking to others to solve your fears and doubts, and where you blame others or the world environment for the situation you are experiencing. This results in a paralyzing lack of action to improve your situation or prepare for the future. Instead, focus on taking small steps to face the fear or doubt. Those who are looking at technology as the biggest opportunity in our generation will be those who experience success personally and professionally.

2. Prepare Yourself and Your Teams Now – In the same study referenced above, they analyze the growing need for EQ and soft skills within organizations. The statistics are eye-opening, but provide a great roadmap for those to prepare for the unknown. Focus on what is known and prepare for it now. For instance, the study points to relationship-focused roles still being required; however, those roles will need to be exceptional in EQ and soft skills. Within procurement, we are lucky to have many relationships both internally and with our suppliers. Therefore, are you taking the time to develop your EQ? Do you have strategies to develop EQ within your teams? Are you looking at your organizational structure today to understand what it might look like as an almost purely relationship-focused organization? How is this changing your recruiting strategies? Ok, I think you get it! Asking questions and putting in place plans now is critically important to future success. It is gut-check time!

3. Be the expert in a specific technology – When new technology is implemented, you might be a fence sitter, letting it happen to you, waiting to see how it goes. Or you could step up to raise your hand and be the one who deploys the technology, learning everything about that technology, becoming the “go-to” person for that tech. Even better yet, how are you proactively educating yourself on a technology that might add value within your organization, presenting a business case to deploy, and then leading the implementation? These are all very real opportunities within procurement today. There are countless technologies, and you do not have to sit in the seat of a procurement COE to present these opportunities. Become the expert and you will have a very marketable skill within your organization and within the procurement industry in general.

Bottom line, if you are fearing technology, understand those fears and take the first step forward to prepare yourself for the future. Those organizations that have robust talent strategies alongside their digital strategies will set the pace for the rest of us. But, if your organization does not, develop your own personal talent strategy to take you into the unknown successfully.

If you want to learn more about how to face your technology fears, join us at #PLAPC. This topic and many more will be discussed and debated.

Register today! https://bit.ly/2PyQkxZ

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