10 Traits of a successful ‘procurement entrepreneur’

What is ‘Entrepreneurial Procurement’? How can the term entrepreneurial be applied to people who are working for large organisations? (Most are in procurement) Surely being entrepreneurial is about coming up with a new idea and building a business from the ground up?

“That is the conventional view of an entrepreneur, but in the context that we are using the term we are referring to a particular mindset and set of behaviours,” explains Nigel Wardropper, Managing Director of Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA).

Wardropper provides a list of traits that he says demonstrates entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour in procurement.

Thinking outside the box – challenging norms

Being prepared to question why something is done a certain way or interrogating why, how, when, where and what we buy, and then coming up with a new solution that adds value to stakeholders. Of course this should be standard procurement practice, but how often do you really do it?


In order to challenge norms you need to be curious. You want to know why something is the way it is and what the possibilities are in terms of driving change. It is all about the WHY.


One of the key traits of entrepreneurs is to have the insight as to what represents value… and to whom.


The knowledge to understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This may apply to knowledge of internal needs, what is happening in your supply markets that open new possibilities, or what is happening in the wider world that might present opportunities that you can exploit.


You need to be passionate about what you do and why you do it. This passion feeds into many of the other qualities entrepreneurs demonstrate.


To be an entrepreneur is to lead. Not in terms of managing, but being the visionary who leads others through the lifecycle of the idea or project.


You are going to get knock-backs. You need to have the tenacity and resilience to take them on the chin and keep going.

Be a risk-taker

By this I don’t mean necessarily taking a major (or minor) financial risk, but being prepared to risk being wrong. You put yourself and your reputation on the line when you propose a new way of doing something. You have to be prepared to take the risk that your idea will either prove fruitless or that you can’t convince others of its merits.


You need to persuade or influence people to drive the kind of change that invariably comes with any new way of doing things.


In order to understand how your proposal will affect your stakeholders you need to empathise with their positions. Walking a mile in your stakeholders’ shoes is another good way to describe this trait.

For more information and quires email Nigel Wardropper at nigelw@bttbonline.com

This article first appeared on Procurement and Supply Chain 


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