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From Singing To Sourcing

When examined, two different careers can have similarities. Procurement, in particular, is a linear move, rather than a parallel, to careers that seem opposite at first glance. Life experience renders skill sets that are transferable, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. On a recent episode of Negotiations Ninja, I spoke with Jason Cammorata, the strategic sourcing and procurement lead at MDC Partners. We spoke about his evolution from professional musician to procurement, and the skills from performing that are transferable to negotiations.

 Singing to strategic sourcing aren’t typically related career paths. However, using skills that have accompanied other life successes is good practice for continued success. Singing professionally is high stakes and offers an environment relatable to a negotiation setting. There is a high level of confidence required for both – nerves are apparent and can lead to a drop in self-confidence. In public performance or negotiation, you can feel when you’re not at your best. There is only one chance to get it right when singing publicly, which is also true in negotiation. Intuition and crowd-reading are necessary in both fields, as is a high level of collaboration.

Collaboration, in particular, relates strongly to procurement. Leading a team, knowing when it’s someone else’s turn for the spotlight, working together to achieve the best product possible, and giving accolades to your team when deserved are all parts of a healthy team and happy internal stakeholders.

When examined, natural gifts almost always connect directly to a person’s career. Frugality, budgets, and organization connect directly to procurement. Furthermore, being value-driven is a naturally occurring impulse in procurement leaders. “I was procuring things most of my career, I just didn’t know it,” Jason said.

Learning to identify and develop natural instincts is conducive to success. Procurement people tend to be aggressive when it comes to asking for more. By being self-aware of this instinct, it can be controlled and used to create value. Ignoring the impulse to ask for everything, in the beginning, can create an opportunity to nurture stakeholder and opposition relationships.

 Whether professionally performing or negotiating, instincts play a role. Reading body language illustrates when you’re getting close to an edge. Verbalizing your observation can bring the other side’s point of view to light and label their emotions, verifying your instincts are correct. Labelling emotions bridges the gap between two parties and puts facts onto the table. A mix of process, strategy, and honing natural instincts are factors in a successful negotiation. 

 For more with Jason Cammorata, subscribe to Negotiations Ninja.