The Right Mindset: What Does It Take to Have a Successful Acquisition Career Today?

This post, written by David Wyld, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum.

Recently, Tom Lovell, who is the group managing director for Reed, a leading online job site in the United Kingdom, spoke to the annual conference of the The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) in London. Lovell outlined nine characteristics that he feels are crucial for procurement professionals to possess in order to succeed in their careers in a recent article in Supply Management. Overall, Lovell stressed that the key to climbing the ladder of success in the acquisition field is to have “the right mindset,” as one can be taught procurement, but not attitude. His advice is equally good for those aspiring to rise higher in their careers and for those charged with hiring decisions.

We’ll take a look at Lovell’s outline, with some additional commentary about what it takes to succeed in an acquisition career today. We’ll also add three additional traits to make it an even dozen. Taken together, if you can work to develop these twelve attributes and qualities in yourself, your prospects for a career in the procurement field will literally be unlimited.

Lovell’s Original Nine

With no emphasis in order–as he expressed that all are important traits—Lovell’s nine characteristics that those who tend to succeed in the procurement field possess are:

  1. Extremely hard workers. Those who succeed do so not generally through luck or connections, but by simply working harder than their contemporaries. While they expect a great deal of their coworkers, they expect even more out of themselves.
  2. Curious and eager to learn. Those who succeed demonstrate a curious nature, and just as importantly, they have an ability to apply what they have learned through both formal education and training and through prior experiences to their work situations.
  3. Networking capabilities. Those who succeed have superior networking skills, and they will seek out advice and answers from anyone within their reach to seek out opportunities and to help them solve problems.


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