Ambitious young procurement and supply chain professionals generally aspire to reach career heights, and will ultimately work towards a coveted Supply Chain Director or CPO position.
To become an accomplished executive, there are a few key attributes and tips you need to know in order to fast track your way to the top.
Leave your post and learn from others
Leave your team or function and spend time learning about what other teams do. If you truly want to understand the entire process, you have to see it and experience it for yourself. The best executives have front line experience across more than one function, so if the opportunity presents itself, widen your skill sets and knowledge proactively.
Ask as many questions as you need
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help. Many young professionals regardless of industry, especially if they are recent graduate, assume that their managers expect them to know all the answers.
In reality many skills are learnt on the job, so it’s expected you ask smart questions and learn from those around you. Asking for help and learning new skills is expected and will show your team you are actively growing.
Develop interpersonal and relationship building skills
It’s easy to overlook the most important element in your career: people. Spend time getting to know your colleagues, as well as the people you interact with at other companies, especially your customers and suppliers. Procurement and supply chain professionals are much like sales people in this respect, and will benefit by building these lines of communication. Continuously improve your communication skills and recognise that each person you interact with is a chance to learn something new and become visible within the business.
Continuous learning is key
Continuous learning is vital in any industry but in such a technology and process driven field, it’s important to stay on top of the newest trends and practices. If there is something you don’t understand, your capacity as an executive would be fairly limited.
If there is a short course that could help you, take it now. If you work at a publicly-traded company, read your company’s financial reports to understand the main drivers of financial performance, and then look for ways your function could positively influence those drivers. Continuously improving your skills will only help your career prospects.
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