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Effective procurement through leadership

Competent leadership is required at every stage of the procurement process.

Because purchase decisions directly affect the organization’s performance–and in turn, public welfare—procurement leaders must have:

  • A vision for the overall organization
  • The capacity for strategic thought
  • A positive and proactive attitude
  • Tenacity and motivation to do the job right
  • A willingness to take risks
  • A sense to identify the right resources for challenge mitigation
  • Relationship management and customer service skills

Procurement leadership requires critical thinking and the ability to look beyond the present state to assess the future. It requires understanding the full procurement landscape to make creative decisions that may have risks but even higher rewards.

The leadership structure is also important to procurement success. best practice research indicates a preference for a center-led organizational structure. This means that a central authority handles training and education, performance measurement, dispute resolution, system oversight, and supply-chain management. This allows agencies to focus on using their subject matter expertise to evaluate and procure products and services that best meet their needs.

A final consideration for procurement leaders is self-assessment. Procurement professionals must take the time to assess their decisions and reflect on their performance. Were assumptions aligned with actual outcomes? Were all resources for optimal execution activated? How could the transaction process improve? By asking questions and thinking about the importance of the purchasing process, leaders can refine their skills and improve procurement outcomes over time. Purchasing decisions in government agencies affect many lives. When procurement leaders understand the impact of their decisions on the greater public welfare, they will be motivated to become more skilled procurement professionals.

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