Procurement Communication and Participation – How Sports is a Model

Written by Ilan Friedman, June 17, 2022

As any sports fan will attest, a winning team can’t be carried by just one stellar athlete. It takes a team effort, excellent communication on the field, and group participation, with everyone pitching in every day. That way, when it comes to game day, they are prepared to win.

What else will sports fans admit? Everyone wants to be on the winning team. This article explores how sports teams are a model for procurement communication.

Let’s dive into this comparison and discuss how visualizing your procurement department as a sports team can help you come out on top.

Procurement Communication

 For sports teams, communication out on the field is crucial. For example, if I’m a quarterback and don’t let you into the huddle, you won’t know what’s coming, resulting in a missed opportunity at best and a big fumble at worst.

Likewise, excellent communication between procurement practitioners on a corporate team is vital for making successful plays (i.e., meeting corporate goals). Now, let’s explore what Nipendo calls the three Cs of procurement communication.

 The Three Cs of Procurement Communication

1. Context: This first “C” includes who is talking and what they are talking about.

2. Comprehension: This next “C,” comprehension, is when the audience translates what the sender is saying. Comprehension is when the receiver understands the speaker.

3. Compliance: Finally, the third “C,” compliance, means that you are not violating any social norms in the communication that may hinder—or even worse, nullify—your message.

Let’s use a sports example to illustrate how this all comes together and works in real life. For example, when Phil Jackson was coaching the Chicago Bulls, he probably spoke differently to Michael Jordan than he did to Dennis Rodman. This would be a great example of context.

Jackson also may have used analogies not otherwise related to sports to make a point to his players but would have spoken in the language of basketball for other messages for his words to hit home. This is an excellent example of comprehension.

Finally, Jackson would have varied his voice tone—from strident to cajoling, depending on how he wanted his audience to receive his message (emotionally or logically). This is a perfect example of compliance.

 Procurement Participation – Every Player on the Field is Needed

 Similar to team sports—where full and coordinated participation by each teammate is critical to the team’s success—participation among the procurement function is equally crucial for hitting that coveted home run.

But getting everyone to participate is not always easy, even though it’s often essential. For instance, some people may prefer working independently. Information is almost always siloed, and not all stakeholders have access to the information they need to make participation seamless. It can be clunky.

Similarly, in sports, getting everyone involved in a play, regardless of the level of their contribution, is still important. In football, for example, a great receiver still needs the front line to protect the quarterback. If sports teams aren’t aligned, they simply won’t make the playoffs.

So, how do we get procurement players (from internal staff to vendors) excited to participate in every play? How do you get your procurement squad playoff ready? This is where Nipendo comes in.

How Nipendo Can Help

Nipendo is better than most at getting suppliers to participate. With the 90% of supplier participation that we’ve been able to achieve for our customers, managing significant spend (and driving savings) goes way up.

Want even more details about how Nipendo can help you with communication and participation? Get a demo today.