I enjoy watching a variety of professional sporting events; especially of teams and professional individual athletes in the Dallas, Texas area where I live. Be it the Mavs, Rangers, Cowboys, Stars, FC Dallas, or our hometown PGA phenom, Jordan Spieth, I just love a great game (or “match”, for the hockey, soccer and golf purist). And as one who prides himself on his “sports-spectatormanship”, I also have a deep appreciation for the use of metaphors, analogies and the occasional malaprop to describe the “in-game action” – whether on the court, diamond, field, ice, pitch or hallowed green. Just try to imagine what we would do without them! I mean, what else in the wide wide world of sports could you possibly call a “charity stripe”, or a “brushback”, or a “pick six”, or a “hat trick” or a “diving header”, or the centuries-old “waggle” (but please just don’t mix metaphors – no matter how straight and fast a quarterback throws the football…don’t call it a “strike” for crying out loud!). And if you’ve ever watched a post-game presser with Dallas Cowboy’s Head Coach, Jason Garrett, you’ve undoubtedly heard him throw down his trademark “all three phases of the game” to describe what the “Boys” did or didn’t do well in their offensive, defensive and special teams execution.
So, what does all of this sports talk have to do with procurement and supply chain management, you ask? Well, to drive it all the way home, what’s good for the “goose egg” is good for the “Gander Mountain.” If sports can borrow from science, food, philanthropy, magic and other vocations to let you know that it’s “gut-check time”, then business, and specifically procurement and supply chain management business, can certainly borrow from sports to do the same!
As a matter of fact, you may have seen a report released earlier this year by A.T. Kearney Procurement and Analytic Solutions, the Institute for Supply Management and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply titled, “Building The Brand of Procurement” which highlights how best-in-class organizations attract, develop, track, reward and sustain “best procurement athletes” as an essential part of their “value management” practices.
Going back to Jason Garrett’s “all three phases of the game”: what strategies, workstreams, attitudes or behaviors could these “phases” possibly translate into for the PSCM professional, and are there only three? I’ll be exploring this theme in a few upcoming posts and I would certainly welcome your thoughts as well, if you care to email them to me at email@example.com.
And if somehow you’re still wondering why you should look to sports in an effort to achieve greatness in your work and life, just reflect for a moment on Yogi Berra’s infamous take on things: “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”