Sunday, July 29, 2007

Inhibited Sourcing Innovation

It has been a while since I have been able to see and think and write. I finally carved out some time and now I was thinking about how to accelerate strategic sourcing excellence. In today's corporate world sourcing needs are reaching a critical state, so the question rises, how do we deliver an intuitive and integrated solution for managing the complete strategic sourcing lifecycle to deliver results?

Yes there are a lot of great tools available but one of the reasons why these tools may fail is that as we tend to get impressed by the many bells and whistles offered that we may be failing to match the tool to the skills our sourcers/recruiters possess. Without realizing it, we may be inhibiting innovation and collaboration, by placing too much trust in naively hoping that the tool will deliver optimal results.

Let me explain. I love tools. I cannot walk into a Lowe’s or Home depot without buying a new tool. I have long ago found that tools for me are like stamps to a collector. I have them and admire them (the right tool for the right job; I always say) but many weekend projects have turned into disasters to be passed on to a professional. I know what the tools are supposed to do but somehow that knowledge transfers into danger in my hands. I am just not mechanically inclined.

We acquire new sourcing tools and techniques and we introduce them indiscriminately to the team and expect all to use them and learn to be effective at them not recognizing peoples limits. Long ago I read (and I can’t remember the source to credit appropriately), that we have two types of recruiters, (and I apply it to researchers/sourcers as well) hunters and farmers. A farmer cultivates the databases and job boards and is knowledgeable on how to exploit the weaknesses of those tools. On the other hand a hunter is one who thrives on the thrill of the hunt and goes after candidates that are not in databases.

When we give hunting tools to a farmer he feels lost and confused and even though he may grow to work the hunting tools appropriately it may take some time. As in real life hunting requires more than having the right rifle and clothes and equipment, you must acquire knowledge of hunting strategies and such…

So what am I saying, not everyone can be a farmer (nor should everyone be) and not everyone can be a hunter either there are certainly needs for each skill set. Let’s evaluate the sourcing skills and attitudes and match them to the tools. As we expand the performance of sourcers in all aspects of their roles we need to identify the organizational capabilities needed to achieve strategic sourcing excellence only then can we refashion sourcing strategies to achieve superior bottom-line results.


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