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Soft skills to deliver Supply Chain Value Architects

Soft skills to deliver Supply Chain Value Architects

Tuesday 24th April 2018
Mandy Chippindale

I was recently inspired by the work of David Loseby FCIPS, who is leading the way in Behavioural Economics with his soon to be released book on the matter.

In this modern Procurement age, the days of squeezing the suppliers out of their last penny to secure that must have ego-fuelled saving target feels somewhat alien to the needs of the business. Hard-faced buyers, who play tough are becoming less desirable in today's high risk, complex procurement and supply chain environment.

According to research carried out by David Loseby FCIPS in conjunction with Supply Management. The two most sought-after qualities we demand from our Procurement Leaders are Emotional Intelligence and Influencer-Communicator.

So how do we build, nurture and develop these qualities in our own team?

In the old days having empathy with suppliers or stakeholders was somewhat career limiting for procurement professionals. So there is a journey of change, still to be had.

As ever, it starts with Leadership.

I was once given some valuable advice; which was, I should consider Bravery, Honesty & Integrity to be my personal value drivers. I did, and it has stood me in good stead but it has also got me into hot water with others who didn't share these values, none of which I regret by the way.

So how could we link these to Emotional Intelligence in Procurement?

According to Daniel Gorman, these skills are what we are looking for.

• Self-awareness

• Self-regulation

• Motivation

• Empathy

• Social skills

Andrea Reynolds considers the following specific to procurement

• Emotional resilience

• Interpersonal sensitivity

• Influence

• Intuitiveness

• Conscientiousness & integrity

I believe that once we build competencies in the above, communication and Influencing skills will be built in naturally as a direct result. Although it should be noted that a key point to both influencing and communication starts with listening, which is something that we are not terribly good at in procurement. From my experience, we have a greater bias towards our own agenda, rather than that of our stakeholders.

These emotional intelligence skills can be discussed and explained in great detail in training sessions, but it takes a different kind of intervention to embed change as a new set of behaviours. This is done through group facilitation, scenario setting, coaching through leadership values, a moral compass and crystal clear - consistent vision.

Sounds difficult? No it isn't, it just requires a total different mind set to personal development.