CPOs: Remember everyone can be extraordinary

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
5 May 2015

Leaders must create the right environment for procurement professionals to thrive, but buyers must also take responsibility for their own success, an expert has said.

Speaking at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit in London last week, author and senior procurement professional Sigi Osagie said everybody has the capacity to do the extraordinary things if they are supported.

Osagie arrived in the UK as an immigrant with just a few pounds in his pocket and started his career mopping the floor of an ice cream parlour before moving into business and senior procurement roles at major companies. But he played down his own circumstances.

“The truth is there is nothing really special about me,” he said. “Every one of us is born the same, we are born with this hungry spirit. We are born with the capacity to do extraordinary things.”

Osagie, author of the book Procurement Mojo, added that often in the corporate environment people lose their capacity to imagine what they are capable of.

“The truth is it is down to leadership and culture. Some leaders are too egotistical and full of their own self worth and self-importance. And it’s easy to forget when I am the CPO of a FTSE 250 company, I am the same guy who was mopping the floor five minutes away. My suits may be from Savile Row but it is the same heart, the same body – I haven’t changed,” he said.

And remembering that each person has the same capacity to perform can help leaders create better environments. “Our people are the most critical part of our success, so we have to help them find their mojo, and create the right climate.”

But he urged purchasers not to rely on their boss to do the work for them.

“Don’t wait for your CPO to get his act together, take responsibility for destiny and challenge yourself, and ask yourself whether you are bringing the best of yourself to the work you do, because you won’t get the opportunity to have your career again,” he told delegates.

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