People often associate ‘leadership’ with managing others. Indeed, having an effective functional leader is critical for Procurement success; the Procurement leader is the chief architect of the functional capability. However, the attitudes and behaviours of individual purchasing people can be just as impactful on Procurement’s effectiveness, organisational capability and performance success.

Procurement functions, like all organisations, are about people first and foremost. You can never achieve sustainable Procurement success without developing ‘people capability’, even with world-class processes and systems and a sound strategy. It is people who do the work and deliver results; not computers, strategies or processes – those things are simply enablers we use to get the work done slickly. So people matter most.

But when we talk about ‘people’ we sometimes forget that we’re referring to individuals – YOU; and me.

Individuals and their harnessed capabilities are the lifeblood of any Procurement function. And the roots of a high-performance or suboptimal culture are entrenched in personal attitudes and behaviours. In a sense, Procurement people need to embrace the same effective leadership ethos expected of the Procurement leader in their personal modus operandi.

Individuals in Procurement must embody exceptional standards of self-leadership – the ability to exercise effective leadership over one’s self. Be aware of who you are, what you stand for, how you think and act, and why you think and act the way you do. This self-insight will help propel you towards the best in you – your personal mojo – and steer you to become an enduring contributor to the Procurement mojo

We only have one life to live. And we’ll spend most of that time at work. We owe it to ourselves to unleash the best in us; because life is not a dress rehearsal.

Self-leadership is vital for job success. If you can’t manage yourself effectively, how can you possibly manage any category, supplier or purchasing initiative successfully? And if you can not do that, what chance does your Procurement function have of finding its mojo?

Procurement’s success will always be dependent on the calibre of people in the function. Those who are committed to the functional goals and values, and demonstrate this in the way they think and act, are the ‘Procurement Ambassadors’. They get it. They understand what Procurement success is about and how they contribute to nourishing the Procurement mojo on a personal level – they know that everything they think, say and do has a massive impact on Procurement’s success and its brand reputation across the enterprise.

Whereas the ‘Procurement Assassins’ kill functional effectiveness through their suboptimal thinking patterns, and weaken the function with their regressive attitudes and behaviours. They often think the numbers are all that matter. They habitually tarnish the Procurement brand, though they may not always know it.

So, is your Procurement function mostly populated by Procurement Ambassadors?

On a personal level, what can YOU do, or do more of, as a Procurement Ambassador to propel your Procurement function to greater success and a more credible Procurement brand?

© Sigi Osagie 2015

Sigi Osagie is the author of the highly-acclaimed book “Procurement Mojo – Strengthening the Function and Raising Its Profile” and can be contacted at www.sigiosagie.com

He will be participating in as a presenter in the Leading Procurement Professionals Summit in Barcelona this June 3rd and 4th.

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