'Mistakes are an investment in getting better' says former CIPS president Craig Lardner

24 September 2015

Seeing problems as opportunities, being humble and understanding the importance of planning and strategy are some of the most important factors in developing a procurement career, according to former CIPS president Craig Lardner.

Taking part in a panel discussion at the annual CIPS Australasia Conference in Melbourne, Australia, last week Lardner gave advice and outlined some dos and don’ts for a successful career development in procurement.

Having a positive attitude to problems – focusing on the solutions – and seeing mistakes as an investment in getting better, are among the best advice that Lardner says he's been given and passed on to others.

Looking back on his career, Lardner told SM, he would have got international experience earlier. He also outlined the importance of recruiting, rewarding and retaining an 'A-grade' team, delegating and assigning credit, as well the importance of avoiding thinking you know it all, stopping learning or being a bully.

Hannah Bodilly, head of group procurement at the Tatts Group, also on the panel, explained the attraction of a career in the sector, including the flexibility of the industry and the variety of the role.

“As procurement makes a measurable impact to the bottom line, it is very satisfying, builds confidence and great relationship skills that could be used for future board roles,” she said.

Bodilly also talked about the different routes to a career in procurement including via roles in finance, technology, logistics and law. “People often come across procurement while working in another role and that’s when the move can happen,” she said. “I find at a junior level, any of these backgrounds can help as a start into procurement, and then specific learnings about the procurement process can be taught.”

Education and training, networking and range of experience are three key ways of achieving procurement goals, according to Bodilly. Other tips were to “speak-up”, “be enthusiastic”, “ask questions” and “be authentic”.

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