Seek successors for success

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
8 June 2015

Not all people are your greatest assets. Committed, engaged individuals, however, are. And it is they who, with the right opportunities, can achieve great things for your organisation – including, perhaps, one day succeeding you.

And you should embrace this, says Kurt Warren, associate director, logistics and supply chain management at New York University Abu Dhabi. Speaking at the CIPS Middle East Conference he said: “You should never be frightened to develop someone to take over your job because if you are frightened you will never be a good mentor.”

Karen Hester (click here to read the full interview) benefited from having an exceptional mentor. Her talent was spotted by then manager – Andy Wood, now CEO of Adnams – who gave her the chance to progress from being a part-time cleaner to his COO. He recognised her talent for procurement and after finding out about her background (the British Army and running her own business), helped her flourish.

And 90 per cent of her managers in the senior team started on the shop floor. “As I have progressed and been given more opportunity, I have developed and provided opportunities to others,” she says. And she looks forward to Adnams having more home grown talent on its board. There are other benefits to this approach too, says Stefan Stern, visiting professor at Cass Business School. “In a world of often precarious employment, watching the rise and rise of long-standing, loyal colleagues is profoundly reassuring.”

Shaun Darke, head of procurement for the Baku 2015 Games also used his role to provide opportunities for local professionals and, in doing so, leave a lasting legacy.

And work is underway elsewhere to bring more buyers through. Skills Development Scotland is introducing 500 modern apprenticeships in procurement and supply in the next three years. They and their global peers are the CPOs, COOs and CEOs of the future. Embrace it.

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