As you may be aware PASA has adopted ‘Entrepreneurial Procurement’ as its core theme for 2016. The first Entrepreneurial Procurement Awards will be presented at the 4th PASA Premier ConfeX in October, which will adopt the same theme in regard to development of the programme.
But what do we mean by ‘Entrepreneurial Procurement’? How can the term entrepreneurial be applied to people who are working for large organisations, which in the case of procurement, most are? Surely being entrepreneurial is about coming up with a new idea and building a business from scratch?
That is the conventional view of what an entrepreneur is, but in the context that we are using the term we are referring to a particular mindset and set of behaviours. To clarify what I mean by this I thought I would provide you this list of traits that I believe demonstrates entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour in procurement.
Thinking outside the box – Challenging norms
Being prepared to question why something is done a certain way or interrogating why, how, when, where and what we buy and coming up with a new solution that adds value to stakeholders. Of course this should be standard procurement practice, but how often do you really do it?
In order to challenge norms you need to have curiosity. You want to know why something is the way it is and what the possibilities are in terms of driving change. It is all about the WHY.
One of the key traits of entrepreneurs is to have the insight as to what represents value…and to whom.
The knowledge to understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This may apply to knowledge of internal needs, what is happening in your supply markets that open new possibilities, or what is happening in the wider world that might present opportunities that you can exploit.
You need to be passionate about what you do and why you do it. This passion feeds into many of the other qualities entrepreneurs demonstrate.
To be an entrepreneur is to lead. Not in terms of managing, but being the visionary who leads others through the lifecycle of the idea or project.
You are going to get knock-backs. You need to have the tenacity and resilience to take them on the chin and keep going.
Be a risk-taker
By this I don’t mean necessarily taking a major (or minor) financial risk, but being prepared to risk being wrong. You put yourself and your reputation on the line when you propose a new way of doing something. You have to be prepared to take the risk that your idea will either prove fruitless or that you can’t convince others of its merits.
You need to persuade or influence people to drive the kind of change that invariably comes with any new way of doing things.
In order to understand how what you are proposing will impact on your stakeholders you need to empathize with their position. Walking a mile in your stakeholders shoes is another good way to describe this trait.
Have you worked on a project where you have demonstrated some or all of these traits? If so, you should consider entering the PASA Entrepreneurial Procurement Awards.
Do you agree with these traits? Are there others you think should be added to the list?
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