What Personality Does Your Procurement Organization Have?


Interested in finding out? We are conducting a personality assessment in conjunction with the Institute for Supply Management. Although it’s a variant of a Jungian personality test (e.g., like Myers-Briggs), the focus is on how a procurement professional views the world in terms of problem solving and learning. It’s a simple survey that takes about 3-4 minutes if you’ve done a similar one before, but if not, then I’d recommend taking another survey like this one that places you on a spectrum for each of the 4 aspects that you can then pretty much directly apply to the ISM version.

ISM is also including it as an optional question in its broader salary survey that you can take here. Both studies are scheduled to close at the end of this week.

So, what’s the benefit for a chief procurement officer, and for procurement more broadly, for doing this quick-hit assessment? There are quite a few actually:

  • It’s free! Have your whole procurement team do it and then compare notes as part of a team building exercise. That said, you want to invest a little to have someone from HR and/or a consultant give some guidance on how best to use the results. For example, you have be careful that the tool isn’t used to classify people into archetypes that don’t fit them perfectly – or are used to “type cast” them inappropriately.
  • Self-awareness for you (and your team). Such personality typing is relatively crude compared to larger assessments, but for team members who’ve not done it before, it’s a valuable exercise. For example, some team members, and even the CPO, might surprisingly find themselves as introverts (like the majority of CIOs who are duty-fulfilling ISTJ’s). It’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean you’re not socially adept. It just means you draw more energy from your internal world than the external world. Such self-awareness also helps provide insight to where you might be more susceptible to certain perceptual biases that can impact your decision-making. (For more information on this, see my colleague Peter Smith’s analysison behavioral economics.)
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction. Let’s face it: procurement doesn’t always have the greatest “brand” with stakeholders. Part of this might be “structural” based on procurement’s role, but the cumulative “personality” of procurement might not line up well if procurement is trying to position itself as a valued internal business partner. For example, if your procurement group members tend to be “guardians” (ESTJ), they might not be exhibiting the softer skills needed to develop strong stakeholder alignment. I’ve seen a few procurement groups that administer internal stakeholder satisfaction surveys that show communication is the biggest weakness. The procurement organization can then proceed to analyze the feedback to death and not actually get back to the stakeholders that the message was received and what they’ll plan to do about it!

A quick personality profiling exercise is no substitute for a broader behavioral assessment, but it’s a good start. Such assessments are very valuable not just for quick-hit self-awareness, but also part of a broader talent management capability that procurement organizations generally struggle with. In future articles, we’ll address the critical role of behavioral assessments to the CPO in the talent management process.

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