The sweet taste of success

16 October 2012
What qualities do you think are most important in the modern day procurement professional? I’ve asked this question of a number of senior purchasing figures and it has always led to an interesting discussion. Obviously, you’ve got the standard requirements - high level of numeracy, ability to multi-task, and so on. Then you’ve got those aspects which have grown in importance as procurement has moved from transactional to a more strategic position - high emotional intelligence, good at engaging with stakeholders, passion for sustainability. I haven’t yet heard from a buyer the requirement to be a ‘chocolate lover’. I’m sure that is not surprising, but it might just be what the next generation buyer needs. In his paper Chocolate consumption, cognitive function and Nobel Laureates, Dr Franz Messerli found a “surprisingly powerful correlation” between a country’s chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel prize winners it produces. As the good doctor puts it: “Since chocolate consumption has been documented to improve cognitive function, it seems most likely that in a dose-dependent way, chocolate intake provides the abundant fertile ground needed for the sprouting of Nobel laureates.” It’s just a correlation - and could be explained away by a number of other factors - but in the eyes of Messerli, it is enough to merit further investigation. So next time you decide to assess the potential of the buyers around you, don’t dismiss the one who’s hand is always in the cookie jar – they might just have a Nobel prize-winning spend analysis model in them.
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