The worlds of business and sport have a lot in common. After drawing inspiration from gymnastics to promote agility within procurement departments, procurement officers could also learn from some core values in rugby to help them manage their teams. Here's what Clive Woodward, former coach of the England rugby team and speaker at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit, has to say on the subject.
First and foremost, procurement officers must earn the respect of their team and ensure that this culture of respect is upheld. Contrary to popular belief, procurement officers need to prove themselves in order to win the respect of team members and colleagues. Their job title or level of seniority alone won't be enough. Respect is earned over time, based on what we do and how well we do it.
The role of the procurement officer is to hire and manage the best talent in the market. However, managing talented people isn't always easy. Every individual comes with their own ego, sensitivities, personality etc. The best way to succeed is to engage with them on a one-to-one basis and help them to thrive. Procurement officers must remind them of the company's philosophy and inspire them to become even better.
Willingness to learn
When recruiting talent, procurement officers must ensure that they are driven by one crucial element: the willingness to learn. It's one of the essential requirements for building a successful team. Every team member must be able to absorb knowledge, as well as identify their own areas for improvement. It is important to remember that learning isn't just a collection of qualifications, but rather a genuine journey of personal development.
Procurement officers recognise that talent isn't everything. The team's continuous improvement is key to boosting overall performance. To achieve this, all procurement officers need to do is introduce minor improvements on a continual basis, across various different areas. This will allow continuous improvement to become deeply rooted in company culture.
Businesses expect procurement officers and their teams to be innovative. To encourage innovation, it is important for team members to challenge each other, as well as to listen to other stakeholders who can offer their own unique perspective. Innovative ideas can come from anywhere! And when these ideas challenge the status quo, it's up to procurement officers to support their teams with these changes.
By being perseverant and having high standards, procurement officers strive to achieve collective success. Whoever said that management and elite sport weren't similar!