By David McCarty, President, Contract Review Advise

As I attended industry events over the past year, there were two main hot topics for several of the panels:

  1. When does an organization look to embrace outside expertise?
  2. How do internal teams react to combining these experts with their current process?

This is definitely a conversation worth having for many companies as they look to enhance their organization via new technology or new insights from industry experts. Several comments were made during these industry events that stopped me in my tracks. Responses from people ran the gamut, some of which included: “We do not have a budget for that”;  “We have industry experts in house”; “ We have a tough time adapting new technology”; and the classic, “We have always done it this way.”

While I realize that within an organization, we each have to pick and choose our battles, in order for any organization—big or small—to grow, you have to constantly be exploring new ways to enhance yourself and your organization. One of my favorite quotes, which a partner of mine has on his email signature, reads:

Do we want stasis and rationing, or do we want dynamism and growth?

–Jeff Bezos

I can still recall when I first helped launch the first B2B GPO in Indirect in the late 90s, I was sitting in a room with several Fortune 500 companies and looking at basic commodities, and many of the companies each claimed to “have the best contract.” However, the reality was that no one company had the best contract in itself, but rather, it was taking the experience and combined knowledge of all the participants that create a best in class contract in the end.

By having an open mind and vision, this allowed us to evaluate all options. The point here is that what was going on twenty years ago is still going on today, but we have an opportunity via experience and technology to enhance our current state. However, in order to do this successfully, we need to be open to these new ideas and new technologies.

As leaders within your company, if you are not already doing so, you should be looking at technology, industry groups, and industry experts to enhance your organization. You need to set an internal mindset within your team, one that focuses on how they are doing a great job with the current technology in house and the experience that they have, but also reminds them that they constantly need to be looking at new and innovative ways to bring additional value to their internal customers. The key is letting your internal teams know that you support them, and that any enhancement brought into the organization will be recognized by leadership in a positive way!

Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are hesitant to bring up a new idea or approach to your boss or team, my suggestion is to have your value points prepared beforehand, then go ahead and bring it up to them anyway. The chances are that they are thinking about how to enhance what is currently going on already, and by bringing up ideas, you just may be surprised at how they are readily accepted. After all, who wouldn’t be open to improving the way things are done? If you receive too many negative comments, maybe it is time that you evaluate your company and look to new organizations for employment.Some of the new technology and innovative organizations that I have experienced making a difference in our community this past year include Tealbook, Scout-Workday, Real Sourcing Network (RSN), Bid Ops, Wonder Services and the Procurement Foundry.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

–Steve Jobs