Malcolm Harrison said leaders in procurement must build a reputation for consistently delivering © Julian Dodd
Malcolm Harrison said leaders in procurement must build a reputation for consistently delivering © Julian Dodd

Confidence and humility key to leadership, says CIPS CEO

posted by Charlie Hart
6 June 2019

Today’s procurement leaders must balance confidence and humility, according to CIPS CEO Malcolm Harrison.

Speaking at an exclusive event to reveal the second annual Procurement Power List at the Sea Containers in London, Harrison said leaders in procurement and supply must be able to build a reputation for consistent delivery.

He said achievement must come through an ability to influence others within the business and the wider procurement community, rather than through perceived positional power.

“The best leaders challenge the status quo. However, it is a challenge with the aim of improving, rather than confrontation with the aim of being combative.”

He said procurement leaders need to show both confidence and humility, and know how to balance the two.

“We want our leaders to have the confidence to take tough decisions and we want our leaders to exhibit humility, to listen and to be brave enough to be honest when they didn't quite get it right the first time,” he said.

Jamie Ogilvie-Smals, VP services Europe, at consultancy and software provider GEP, said while your position in a business can help, influence should never be underestimated.

“The position itself doesn't make things happen. Influence is about those bringing those leadership qualities together, articulating the vision, articulating to the business what procurement could do and then delivering against it,” he said.

Ogilvie-Smals added as the industry changes with the evolution and adoption of new technology, leadership qualities must change too.

“I don't think you need to know everything about what's happening at any point, it's more about ensuring that you're a change agent and the people in your team are considering what's out there. Are there tools that will help you do it better, make processes more transparent, deliver better results or be more efficient? You can make sure people are taking advantage of technology.”

Colin Sharp, SVP, EMEA, at fintech company C2FO, said new technologies demonstrated a need for cross-functional alignment across businesses.

He said: “Technologies remove the silos of the function. So if you talk about finance and procurement, it's a classic area where the collaboration needs to be really strong today. It’s not just collaboration inside the corporate which is important. More often the supply chain will become the source of innovation and sustain growth.”

As well as collaborating with other functions within your business, Sharp recommends gaining experience in different functions as the experience can add value to the procurement and supply chain functions.

The Procurement Power List 2019 event was sponsored by:



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