Procurement professionalism means many things to me. But one of the most important components of procurement professionalism to me is confident, fast and good decision-making.
Today’s procurement professional is faced with having to make many decisions. Some of them, like selecting a supplier for a long-term contract, allow for deliberate decision-making over weeks. Others, like dealing with a supply disruption in a JIT situation, require the right decision to be made immediately.
And, let’s face it, the higher one goes up the corporate ladder, the more decisions there are to be made and, therefore, the quicker they need to be made. So I believe that making high quality decisions in a short amount of time is a requisite competency for success in procurement and in business.
When we established the SPSM® Certification in 2004, that premise was built into how the SPSM® Exam works. We don’t allow the test taker to skip around questions and bookmark them for later. You are presented with a situation and you have to decide the best course of action, right there, right then.
I envision the SPSM® Certification to communicate that those who have earned it are good decision-makers – the type of decision-makers that can rise to the top of their companies, either inside procurement or in a senior management role. And, I am proud to say that the hundreds of procurement professionals that have become SPSM’s embody that spirit.
The “no chance to return to a question” feature has not been popular with everyone. In fact, we once gave a guy a refund for his enrollment in the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program because he didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t return to an exam question.
That’s OK. Those who fear decision-making are not the type of people we want to see with the SPSM credential after their name.
Think about it. Can you imagine a surgeon transplanting an organ thinking “Hey, I can always go back and check my text book and do it again if I need to?” No. They are expected to get it right the first time. They are expected to know what they are doing when they go in to the operating room. That’s why they bear the moniker of “professional.”
Heck, even think about a cage fighter. Do you think they throw a punch, say “Wait a minute,” then safely return to their corner to check their text book to see if they could do it better? No. They go to the ring prepared. They know their stuff. That’s professional. Gruesome, but professional.
So if we in the procurement field want that title of “professional,” we need to know our stuff. We need to be confident and fast decision-makers. We need to be masters of our craft. We need to make procurement look easy to outsiders.
Professionalism is so much about good decision-making. Do we want to make cage fighters look more professional than us?
Let me leave you with a decision-making related quote from Donald Trump’s book “Think Big & Kick *ss: In Business & In Life”:
“Practice listening to your instincts. Play with this skill, and test it out on small decisions. Learn to trust it.
“Many things are hidden from us that we cannot articulate logically, but somehow we know they are there…If you have a good feeling about something, go ahead with it. If the feeling is bad, proceed with caution. Your instincts are there to guide you. Use them.”
P.S. On July 1, 2009, there will be an announcement that will rock the purchasing certification world. Stay tuned.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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