As procurement leaders climb the ranks, their focus shifts from delivering day-to-day results to preparing the function for the future.
A.T. Kearney research shows that the companies that are best at procurement invest in their team members’ leadership abilities. And our experience indicates that to be successful, senior procurement leaders need to find the right balance between strategic leadership, operational leadership, and change leadership. The challenge for many CPOs is that they have risen through the ranks because of excellent operational performance—precisely the dimension that becomes least important as a person gains seniority in the organization.
All procurement organizations face common challenges arising from the disruptive business environment. As a result, leaders must know how to anticipate changes and quickly move their organizations to action. And doing that well requires new sensitivities, additional skills, and different capabilities from what many mid-level leaders worry about and are measured on.
In short, procurement leaders of the future need entirely new traits.