As the London Olympics season comes to a close we are all inspired by the accomplishments of the athletes who have sacrificed so much towards a single goal: reaching Gold. At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics one man failed to medal as did many others. But in the aftermath of this man’s failure he set an audacious new goal: to be the first to run a mile in under 4 minutes. After an exhausting training regimen, in 1954 Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile barrier. What many people do not realize is that within 18 months of Bannister’s feat, 16 other athletes had also managed to run a mile in under 4 minutes. It turns out that Bannister’s feat inspired many others to perform at a level that they previously hadn’t believed possible.
At the 10 year anniversary of CVM Solutions we have had the pleasure of partnering with hundreds of Supplier Diversity leaders, and we are witnessing a transformation toward a more strategic role for Supplier Diversity. Any management consultant will tell you that to impact a business initiative you need to baseline performance, benchmark to your peers and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals.
Applying these principals to the discipline of Supplier Diversity, a program leader should analyze current Tier 1 spend across business unit, commodity and ownership categories and compare performance to peer programs and identify specific areas for improvement. As it relates to this task, the analytics technology available today to a program leader is orders of magnitude more powerful than what the industry had 10 years ago and this has led to many data-driven supplier diversity programs.
As Bannister did nearly 60 years ago, certain program leaders are breaking Supplier Diversity mental barriers, tying program goals to strategic business objectives beyond diversity while creatively supporting the development of diverse suppliers:
- At Accenture, Carol Attak is leading a program which provides diverse businesses the capacity building expertise of its leading management consultants.
- One client in financial services is partnering with wealth management and lending portfolio managers to provide access to capital solutions for qualified diverse businesses, creating a win/win for the bank and its communities.
- Another client is tracking the staff hired directly to support its direct Tier 2 programs, establishing a powerful link from its supplier diversity program to the economic health of diverse businesses.
As we at CVM reflect on our history, we are thrilled to partner with the community of leaders driving the strategic impact of supplier diversity and supporting the crucial role of diverse and small businesses in the recovery of our economy.