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A Seat at the Top Table

In this paper we discuss how procurement professionals can position themselves best to work at the highest levels of organisations. The paper considers how organisations determine board composition, and looks at the three different roles of a typical board member. The usual expectation is that members will bring to the board functional knowledge and expertise, a wider business understanding and contribution, and will also fulfill a governance role.

That leads into the core of the discussion; what procurement executives need to do and show to prepare themselves for these senior roles. That includes demonstrating repeatable success as a functional leader, but also showing that they have a wider business understanding.

Finally, the personal characteristics needed to succeed at the highest levels are outlined. Particularly when the board is fulfilling some governance role, qualities such as independence and integrity come to the fore. And in any case, judgement, persuasion, listening skills and the challenging art of knowing when to speak up and when to shut up are all important for the board member.

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