Monday, 10 August 2015

Don't be a Strategic Ninja

Today's post is a little tongue-in-cheek. Sorry, but I couldn't resist!

I am sure we've all had a good chuckle at those LinkedIn or Twitter profiles where the person describes themselves as an SEO Ninja, or a Social Media Ninja, or a Mailroom Ninja. Perhaps these people do wear black face masks to work and fling throwing stars around the office with deadly precision. But I suspect that most of them simply us the term in an attempt to feign a level of excellence which they can't otherwise back up with any actual evidence.

I occasionally see the word "strategic" added to job titles as well, and often wonder what that means. What is a Strategic Sourcing Manager, to pick just one example? Does it distinguish the role from a Tactical Sourcing Manager, or an Un-strategic Sourcing Manager, I wonder? There is actually a Wikipedia page which defines Strategic Sourcing as "an institutional procurement process that continually improves and re-evaluates the purchasing activity of a company". Is that because there are so many companies out there that explicitly want procurement processes that never improve or think about improving? (Although I have yet to come across one, I have come across plenty of companies who do act like that, but that is another problem altogether!)

Don't get me wrong - I am sure that Sourcing can benefit from strategic thinking as much as the next process can. And you may indeed be looking for a Sourcing Manager who can think strategically; in which case, please just say so. But please just don't think you need to puff up someone's job title by affixing the word "Strategic" to it.

So next time you want to prefix Strategic to a job title, just pause and think for a moment if you wouldn't be better of just suffixing Ninja instead. Or maybe I should just go with the flow and start calling myself a Strategic Strategy Consulting Ninja...

photo credit: NINJA WARRIOR via photopin (license)