Tag: procurement

Evolution On The Move

We have moved into a new office at the Health and Wellbeing Centre in Truro.

Ten years ago we were incredibly proud to move into the truly iconic Engine House in St. Agnes.  The newly renovated building was a flagship project for Carrick District Council and the development was considered by them to be a “positive contribution to the World Heritage Status site.”

We successfully bid for shared tenancy with UKnetweb and we all moved in: Two businesses, one big happy family.  We loved (and still love) this wonderful building as did everybody who visited.

However, it is fair to say that the building did not come without its problems.  Before the renovation it had been roofless for over 60 years and it was never designed to be sealed and enclosed.  It has been estimated that the walls hold approximately 40 tons of water so it is no surprise that damp was an issue from the start and visitors may remember that the building appeared to have a bad case of dandruff as we struggled to keep the paint on the walls.

Despite replacement pointing and the addition of an expensive air circulation system, the damp problem has become worse over time leading to extensive mould growth and, during certain weather conditions, water actually running down the inside walls.

So it is with great sadness that we have had to concede that the building is no longer a safe or healthy place to work and we have all moved out whilst we negotiate the best course of action with our Landlords at Cornwall Council.

Evolution is now based in The Health and Wellbeing Centre at Treliske.  It is lovely to be surrounded by other, wonderful businesses and particularly nice to be warm and dry.  We are considering this to be a very enjoyable sabbatical and hope to bring you news about the future of The Engine House soon.

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If you are in the building feel free to pop in and say hello (unless we are out working with clients) otherwise you can continue to contact us on the same telephone number and email address.

+44 (0)1872 555939

What Is The Ultimate Question

Yes it is, it’s not who? or where? or how? or when? or why?

What? is the ultimate question.

The question that will give you the answer you need; to change, develop, grow or do whatever it is that you want to do.

Of course, the important bit is what comes after the what?

What? can give you a specific response such as, “what colour is this car?” It can also ask you incredibly powerful, insightful, motivational questions such as, “for what purpose?” which is a much more abstract question than, “what colour is this car?”

It can help you solve problems: “what was the reason for this?”, “ What happened after the second step?”, “What made you decide to do it this way?” It can help you with decision making: “what do I need to do next?”, “What step is the next logical step for me to take?”

So now you know it’s the ultimate question, which what? do you choose? The answer of course is. it depends on the outcome you’re looking for. So the first thing to do is set a goal. Once you have set a goal, it makes it a lot easier to ask the right, most insightful, most penetrating most valuable what? question you can possibly construct.

And what? is at the root of the well formed outcome process – the best way of setting goals there is. The first question in the process is, “What specifically do you want?”

Then we have questions like, “what evidence will you have to prove that you have achieved your goal?”, “What will this goal get for you?” Or, “what will it enable you to do?” and, “What will you gain when you achieve this goal?”, “and what will you lose?”

What? can help you understand what you have learned. After getting a whole load of information that you have thought about and processed, ask yourself the simple question: “so what?” It can also help you with your own motivation. Asking yourself, “what’s in it for me?” is going to help you achieve what you want to achieve. We are much more able to perform higher when we are more motivated.

And in a Negotiation asking, “if we give you x, what are you going to give in return?” presupposes that you are going to give some concession. Similarly, as a trainer or teacher, asking, “what questions do you have?” presupposes that there are questions and you are much more likely to be asked questions than if you ask, “are there any questions?”

As a coach, “what do you think you need to do to improve your performance in this area?”, “what would happen if?”

Of course, What? is supported by its less versatile siblings where?, when?, who?, how? and why? but these are all focused on process. For example, “how are you going to do this?”, “where are you going to go to do it?”, “Who’s going to help you do it?” You need to answer the first question which is what? There is of course the black sheep of the family Why? – which is a justifier. Why? should be avoided at all costs if you are trying to elicit some information or movement from people. But why? is the question we use an awful lot. It is a shortcut. It requires no thought, “why have you done that?” is much more likely to be met with an answer like, “I don’t know” than, “what made you decide to do it that way?” This is a much more effective way of getting the right information at the right time in the right way from the right people.

So, what? is very versatile. It can ask specific questions or it can ask abstract questions. All the other open questions are much more limited in their field of operation. So next time you are going to ask a question, think about what you want to achieve, choose an outcome and think about choosing a what? question rather than any of the others. You will find it adds real value to every interaction you make.

A Procurement story: from confrontation to co-operation.


Procurement has become an increasingly important function in a wide range of industries and business sectors.

It is seen as a strategic function, a function that touches and influences all aspects of a business’s operation. Procurement should facilitate, enable and empower but procurement is also often misunderstood and can lead to confrontation.

The language of procurement can be peppered with strange acronyms and it can be hard for people to hear past a wall of words studded with, “You have to…”, “We must…” and “You can’t…”.

And yet procurement is all about building relationships, relationships with suppliers as well as with departments and individuals within your own company.

NLP training can give Supply chain leaders and procurement managers the tools, skills and knowledge to use richer communication that will forge stronger relationships and add value to the process.

One example of just how effective this can be is Andy, Chief Procurement Officer at a large NHS Trust. He is responsible for a team of over 30 people who spend more than £150 million per year. Not long after he joined the Trust he was involved in a major project to enhance endoscopic surgery. This was the biggest project of its kind in Europe and his customer was a “prickly and vocal” Consultant Surgeon.

In fact, at the start of the project he was forwarded an email from this Consultant that simply said, “This is War!”, a rather forthright way of summing up the classic tension of two opposing philosophies familiar to many procurement professionals – the desire to spend and the need to save.

Choosing communication rather than confrontation, Andy used the skills he had gathered on one of our NLP Business Practioner courses to steer the project to a successful conclusion and at the end of that journey the same Consultant sent the following email to 150 NHS leaders:


Dear All

 Re: Laparoscopic stacks – skills training

 See enclosed photo – the new HD stack systems in the skills training room in the Radiology Academy – result!

 Many thanks to all being involved in this initiative to bring us out of the dark ages (literally!).

 The stacks for the rest of the hospital to follow shortly.

 A special thanks to Andy XXX, whose god-like skills in the laparoscopic stack tender have saved the Trust ~£600k


Andy and his team continue to add value and save costs for the NHS. For example, they recently made a saving of £1million on a £3 million annual spend through collaborative working with various teams within the Trust.


The Consultant Surgeon now champions procurement within the Trust and leads a commercial team in addition to his work in theatre.


At Evolution we have a particular understanding of how NLP can benefit procurement practitioners and we have delivered training courses on that to a wide range of industry sectors particularly in manufacturing and engineering.


If, like us, you see the benefits of building better relationships using clearer communication, then please get in touch and we can discuss your specific needs.

A New Partnership with Positive Purchasing

We’re really pleased to announce our new partnership with Positive Purchasing. We are now their NLP delivery partners and will be delivering advanced, NLP based Procurement courses with them.

Partnership with Positive Purchasing

Positive Purchasing is a specialist training and consultancy business focused on transforming procurement capability worldwide. They help organisations realise dramatic results through the development of people and process, by establishing common ways of working using best practice approaches and by bringing their vast experience in purchasing and procurement.

We’re really looking forward to working with Positive Purchasing and will be running our first course with them in Holland at the beginning of October.

NLP And Procurement

By Andy McMinn.

Andy will be speaking at the NLP @ Work Conference at the National Marine Aquarium on the 30th March

Andy is currently Head of Procurement and Logistics at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and is a qualified procurement and engineering professional with learned experience of lean and six sigma.  Andy has worked in both the Public and Private sectors leading multi disciplined procurement teams and projects in fast moving, complex and challenged environments.  He is currently responsible for a team of forty eight and in excess of £150m non pay expenditure.


Andy says “Many professionals from new disciplines such as Procurement and Marketing struggle when communicating ideas and proposals of how their skills can help improve the businesses they work for.  Procurements message can be very technical and direct which when spoken can switch off the listener and break rapport.  Many times have I heard emotive client statements like “Why do I need you, I can buy it from Tesco’s cheaper” or “I just want to buy what I want”.  Others also told me they had experienced this same client resistance and struggled with communication difficulties for many years in their own organisations.


I often wondered “What strategies have other professionals like me developed to overcome these issues?”

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