CHANGEMAKER 2016 Lisa Shambro, Foundation for Strategic Sourcing
Foundation for Strategic Sourcing
We used to do the “talking heads” type meeting for our spring conference, and we thought we were making it interactive by using an audience response system. We did post-event surveys, but we couldn’t really say or measure what people were taking away from the meeting. After getting exposed to some of the ideas from Velvet Chainsaw’s Jeff Hurt, I said “this is the future,” and we hired him to help us create a more collaborative-style meeting, one more focused on adult-learning principles. We did a complete 180, actually.
For our March 2016 meeting, where we had 110 people at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort in St. Petersburg, Fla., every speaker had to pause periodically during a presentation to let the audience interact and digest the concepts. And at the end of each segment or day, people broke into groups to summarize and discuss what they had learned and what the takeaways were. Each table had flip charts. People drew pictures, whatever helped them to explain and understand what they had learned. We definitely were breaking new ground.
We had a polarized response to the new meeting format—mostly positive from attendees but a bit less enthusiastic from our board. They had a harder time seeing the relevancy to what we do as an association. But the net of it is that the board voted to continue with this type of conference model. And our team is going to make some refinements. We will focus a little more on marketing, pre- and post-conference, and we will get our leaders more involved and enroll them as ambassadors for change. If you don’t have the back-end support, you can’t effectively build front-end support with attendees.
Part of our role is to push the envelope. In today’s world, every organization absolutely needs to change and evolve.
The Value of Collaboration
Our association serves a relatively unknown part of industry: external or contract manufacturing, where a company outsources the manufacturing of some or all of its products. It’s now a big part of how many companies operate, including major brands like Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and many others. I started the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing because there really wasn’t any organization serving professionals who do this type of sourcing, and part of the goal is to develop best practices. I am happy to say that in January we were able to do what everyone thought couldn’t be done: We’re rolling out to members a common procedure for auditing manufacturing practices. Getting to this point involved intensely collaborative work, and this is why the collaborative meeting model is so important for us.
When I started out in business the concept of mentoring didn’t really exist in corporate America. Now it’s much more common. And young women have approached me for mentoring, which I am glad to do. Women are maybe five percent of professionals in our organization, but more are coming in to the field. People who do this type of sourcing generally work in big companies where they are somewhat off to the side of what everyone else is doing, so the opportunity to connect with others doing the same kind of work is really validating, and that’s another great purpose that our meeting serves.
Got a Spare Hour?
I live in Colorado, and that really suits me because I’m very involved in biking, hiking, and fitness.
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