Leading Purchasing & Supply Management
by: Les Anderson
With so much passion and talk of ‘change’ and the importance of Leadership, I thought it would be worth exploring the subject of Leadership and its importance and relevance to the Purchasing & Supply profession. There is a wealth of literature on Leadership but for me, the writers that stand out amongst them all are Gibson, Covey, Bennis, Kotter and Handy.
Gibson states that in the 21st Century, the winners will be those who stay ahead of the change curve, constantly re-defining their industries, creating new markets, blazing new trails, reinventing the competitive rules, challenging the status Quo. He cites Charles Handy’s words ‘it will be those who invent the world, not those who respond to it’. To achieve this, Gibson states that organisations will have to be steered by new kinds of leaders. Leaders who can develop a sense of foresight about where the organisation needs to be heading, a vision, a purpose, a goal that is unique in its own and will give the organisation a sustainable competitive advantage. Something that it can stand for in a crowded and confused environment. He states leaders as people who are not content to sit back and let the cruise control do the driving. They will be looking forward, scanning the landscape, watching the competitors, spotting the emerging trends and new opportunities, avoiding impending crisis. They will be explorers, adventurers, trailblazers. Advanced technology will give them an interactive, real time connection with the marketplace, and they will get feedback from sensors at the peripherals of their organisations. But they will be led just as much by their own intuition. Sometimes, they will decide to ignore the data and drive by the seat of their pants.
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