Procurement, Passion and Parisians – Thoughts From the Promenade des Anglais

Sigi Osagie is an expert on effectiveness in Procurement & Supply Chain Management, he helps organisations and individuals achieve enhanced performance growth to accomplish their business and career goals. He is also author of "Procurement Mojo - Strengthening the Function and Raising its Profile" - see our review here  (and you can contact him via

I smiled to myself as I admired the rhythmic flow of her gait and how she carried herself with the elegance that is so characteristic of many French women. As she ambled along the Promenade des Anglais she exuded that indescribable vibe that comes from being comfortable in your own skin, a certain je ne sais quoi. I caught myself in my reverie, and remembered that this experience of watching the world go by, lost in the beauty of each moment and appreciating the special energy of the French Riviera, is why I love the city of Nice.

I’m here on my customary retreat to revamp my own energies and nourish my mojo. I’ve found this habit of taking time out to ‘check under the bonnet’ periodically to be invaluable. And I try to do this once a year – not a holiday, just time to ‘be’ and tune into my soul.

I shouldn’t be “working”, yet the fact that I’m writing this proves otherwise. But I’m writing this article right now because I’m driven by passion. And I can tell you, this doesn’t feel like “work” in any way!

I like to go with the flow at such times because I know that my passion is the fuel that sustains me on my adventure to nurture my best self. So I listen when it speaks. And I don’t have to come to Nice in particular for that to happen. It happens in many other places too, because passion isn’t a French thing; it’s a universal language we all understand.

You know how it feels when you’re doing things with passion – sadly, some of us only feel that vibe with our hobbies and rarely bring it to the workplace; or it gets snuffed out by inept bosses and toxic organisational cultures. But when we do, work never seems like “work.” And it’s often when we discover or reveal our true capabilities and do some of our best work.

People with passion bring energy to organisations. That’s why esteemed business leaders treasure this characteristic in people. Steve Jobs, the late Apple boss, believed people with passion can change the world. And Jack Welch, ex-Chairman and CEO of GE who was once named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune magazine, described it as a “powerfully game-changing quality.”

Do YOU feel the power of your passion in the work you’re doing?

If not, you should ask yourself why. And don’t wait for things to change; change things yourself – could be your perspectives, your thought processes, your attitude to the job, or, maybe, even changing jobs and moving to something that gets your juices flowing.

And if you’re the top dog in the big chair or you lead a small operational team, are your people’s passion helping you win the game of success?

Organisational success is multifaceted, whether it’s Procurement, Marketing or the whole enterprise. There are technical aspects like processes, technology, financial performance, and so on. And there are ‘soft’ elements too; like stakeholder relationships, culture, leadership and passion – the intangible factors that are often the underlying differentiators between success stories and tales of woe.

Passion alone doesn’t bring success, but it’s a requisite elixir to get your team firing on all cylinders. It’s impossible to boost employee engagement and build a high-performance culture if people have no passion for their work.

Nigella Lawson isn’t a great chef just by luck; neither is Lionel Messi a prodigious footballer nor Warren Buffett a successful business magnate simply by accident. They have a passion for their game, just like that other consummate chef, Gordon Ramsay. The key ingredient in the wonderful meals Ramsay creates is his miscellany of culinary skills – skills that are honed every time he steps into a kitchen. But he only goes in there because he has a passion for his game.

Do YOU have a passion for yours? What about your people – are you igniting and harnessing their passion as rocket fuel for your journey to organisational success?

Whether it’s Procurement or another functional area, organisations that attain true success are those that unlock the capabilities of their people and channel unified effort towards their goals. Such organisations are always places of great effervescence – they fizz with the collective passion of the people, who are engaged, in tune with the ethos and deliver performance outcomes that underpin enterprise success.

PS  In case my wife reads this, I better clarify that I don’t have a passion for French women in general, or that specific lady on the promenade in particular. I didn’t even notice the colour of her lime green dress, or the amazing lived-in texture of her luxuriant dark hair, or the tan leather Roman sandals in which she sashayed so elegantly, or…  (Editor's Note; OK, stop digging, Sigi!)

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Voices (3)

  1. Sigi Osagie:

    Thank you so much for your feedback and commendation, Marcheta.

    I’m pleased you liked the article. And it sounds like you got your mojo too! Good for you. Keep tuning in to your passion.

  2. bitter and twisted:

    You know, that Hitler bloke had passion.

    Seriously though its the business bingo bullshit du jour.

  3. Marcheta Gillespie:

    I love this! This defines my professional life! I love what I do and I’m so truly blessed to be excited every day that I work in procurement. I have tapped into a profession that allows me to do so many different things with my skills and interests. I have been fortunate to have been engaged for many years in my professional association, NIGP, and bring that passion to my leadership roles, interfacing with literally thousands of procurement professionals around North America and even abroad. Your article hits the nail on the head…..if you do not have a passion for what you are doing, CHANGE WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

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