Backing and culture

Adiel (m, Israel) gives public backing to his employees when they err. He will never tell an employee that he is wrong when a member of another department is present. Adiel will also take the rap from his own boss, covering for his people’s errors.

John (LA) is matter of fact and expedient with errors of his staff. If an employee of  his errs, so be it; John will not provide cover for an employee because it not mature to cover up mistakes. There is no need overly protect people who err by being “tribal”, like his peer Adiel in Israel.

Jai from Thailand will cover for her people when they make an error. She will also rarely call them to task privately, since harmony is more important that being right or wrong.

Grégoire in Paris will never “back” an employee; quite the opposite; he will often challenge his employees by attacking their logic. The employees views this challenging/combative style as a sign of professional respect. They know that in the end after the debate, Gregoire will tell them what to do, and assume responsibility.

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Should an OD consultant negotiate with Procurement

In large organizations, all service providers and vendors are sent to Procurement to negotiate contracts.

Often, due to information technology, Procurement is empowered to prevent the employment of a vendor and service provider by not issuing a purchase order, which is a precondition to get paid.

Despite the “mission statements” and b.s.,  Procurement is there to force the price down. The negotiation with them has a veneer of professionalism, but it is all about money.

My experience is that if the manager who has invited you clearly wants you, he will “take care” of Procurement for you, and Procurement will be merely a vendor-registration process. If the client is ambivalent, or if he is buying an OD product and not a service, the OD vendor will be sent to procurement.

In every instance where I was not personally sent to Procurement, the client was far more serious about getting results.

My advice to newcomers is to add 10-15% to your bid to make the folks in Procurement feel good. They will be able to show off what great business partners they are.

Personally, I do not negotiate with Procurement. Routing me via Procurement means that the client is not really interested.

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