Why you need a challenge network

Picture this: I found myself at ATD23 in beautiful San Diego, eagerly awaiting a keynote speech by the renowned Adam Grant. Little did I know that his words would not only inspire me but also shed light on the untapped potential within procurement. In his address, Grant spoke about the concept of a challenge network—a safe group to seek feedback, exchange ideas, and spur personal and professional growth. This got me thinking about how procurement, in its unique position, can benefit from cultivating challenge networks to enhance its performance. 

The Power of Challenge Networks:

Just as Adam Grant emphasised the significance of a challenge network, procurement professionals should recognise the value of seeking feedback from trusted colleagues and industry peers. We are in a position where our decisions and actions can have a profound impact on organisations and suppliers alike. Embracing feedback helps us refine our approaches, identify blind spots, and drive continuous improvement.

Procurement, more than any other department, can benefit greatly from creating challenge networks. These networks provide a safe space to question assumptions, challenge established norms, and foster innovation. By surrounding ourselves with colleagues who offer diverse perspectives and constructive criticism, we can break free from the echo chamber and develop more robust strategies.

Unleashing the Potential Within Procurement:

As procurement professionals, we must acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. It’s time to set aside egos, embrace humility, and recognise that feedback is not a sign of weakness, but a catalyst for growth. Let’s create an environment where feedback is actively sought and generously given—a challenge network that fuels our progress.

Imagine a procurement department where team members regularly exchange ideas, challenge each other’s assumptions, and collaborate to solve complex problems. It’s like a vibrant marketplace of diverse perspectives, where innovation thrives and excellence becomes the norm. By nurturing challenge networks, procurement can unlock its full potential and make a lasting impact on the organisations we serve.

The CIPS Student’s Challenge Network:

For those of you pursuing CIPS certification, your challenge network is right at your fingertips: your tutors. Don’t underestimate the power of these valuable resources. Engage with your tutors, ask questions, attempt assignments, and take full advantage of their expertise. They are there to guide you, challenge your thinking, and help you grow as a procurement professional.

Just like seeking feedback from colleagues, leveraging your tutor as a challenge network enhances your learning experience. They can provide valuable insights, offer alternative perspectives, and push you to explore beyond your comfort zone. Remember, CIPS exams are not just about passing—they are about building a solid foundation of knowledge that will serve you throughout your procurement career.

Let’s create an ecosystem where feedback flows freely, ideas are exchanged fearlessly, and growth becomes a shared goal. By seeking and providing constructive criticism, we can elevate the performance of our department, drive innovation, and shape a brighter future for procurement.

Level 3 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M2 & M3
6
15th Jan, 29th Jan, 5th Feb, 19th Feb, 26th Feb, 4th Mar
May 2024
M4
3
15th Apr, 22nd Apr, 29th Apr
July 2024
M5
3
3rd June, 10th June, 24th June
Nov 2024
M1
3
7th Oct, 21st Oct, 4th November
Mar 2025
M2&M3
6
13th Jan, 20th Jan, 27th Jan, 10th Feb, 24th Feb, 3rd March
May 2025
M4
3
7th Apr, 14th Apr, 28th Apr
July 2025
M5
3
2nd June, 16th June, 30th June

Level 6 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M2 & M5
5
25th Jan, 1st Feb, 8th Feb, 22nd Feb, 29th Feb
May 2024
M4 & M7
4
18th April, 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May
July 2024
M3 & M8
5
30th May, 20th June, 27th June, 4th July, 11th July
November 2024
M1
3
10th Oct, 24th Oct, 7th Nov
Mar 2025
M2 & M5
5
30th Jan, 6th Feb, 13th Feb, 27th Feb, 6th Mar
May 2025
M4 & M7
4
3rd April, 10th April, 1st May, 8th May
July 2025
M3 & M8
5
5th June, 12th June, 19th June, 26th June, 3rd July

Level 5 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M5, M15 & M9
4
31st Jan, 7th Feb, 21st Feb, 28th Feb, 6th March
May 2024
M3 & M8
4
10th April, 17th April, 24th April, 1st May
July 2024
M4
3
5th June, 11th June, 26th June
November 2024
M1 & M2
5
9th Oct, 16th Oct, 23rd Oct, 30th Oct, 6th Nov
Mar 2025
M15, M5, M9
5
29th Jan, 5th Feb, 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th March
May 2025
M3 & M8
4
9th April, 16th April, 30th April, 7th June
July 2025
M4
3
4th June, 18th June, 2nd July

Level 4 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M3, M5, M7
6
23rd Jan, 30th Jan, 6th Feb, 20th Feb, 27th Feb, 5th March
May 2024
M4 & M6
4
9th April, 16th April, 23rd April, 30th April
July 2024
M8
3
4th June, 18th June, 3rd July
November 2024
M1 & M2
5
8th Oct, 15th Oct, 22nd Oct, 29th Oct, 5th Nov
March 2025
M3, M5, M7
5
29th Jan, 5th Feb, 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th March
May 2025
M4 & M6
4
8th April, 15th April, 29th April, 6th June
July 2025
M8
3
10th June, 24th June, 8th July