Editor’s Note: Charles is founder, president and chief procurement officer of Next Level Purchasing, which offers the SPSM (Senior Professional in Supply Management) Certification.
Be sure to check out Charles’ Purchasing Certification Blog.
In Part I of this series, I introduced a 2×2 matrix that revealed four different types of procurement professionals in the context of professional development. In this Part II, I will explain more about each of these types or “profiles.”
HIGHLY-SKILLED OPPORTUNIST: The Highly-Skilled Opportunist is someone who sees value in the professional development opportunities that the company offers and doesn’t allow those opportunities to go to waste. As a result, this type of individual acquires high levels of skills and continually improves. This type of procurement professional is seen by his or her management as someone who ensures that the company’s investment in professional development is not wasted.
SELF-MOTIVATED EXPERT: It’s no secret – managers are busy. Sometimes, they allow the professional development of their staff to slip down their chain of priorities and don’t want to take the time to decide the areas in which they want each of their team members to improve their skills. Self-Motivated Experts won’t allow their managers’ inability or unwillingness to keep team skill levels up-to-snuff to deter them from enhancing their own skills. Self-Motivated Experts will identify the professional development opportunities that will help them perform better in the workplace and earnestly participate in those opportunities. As a result, their management will embrace the fact that someone stepped up to appropriately take work “off their plate.” In addition, the Self-Motivated Expert will have skills that are continually sharp.
GOOD-INTENTIONED AMATEUR: The Good-Intentioned Amateur is also someone who does not allow their manager’s workload to dictate whether or not there is a plan for their performance improvement. They will seek out professional development opportunities on their own. Despite this ambition, they can “run out of gas” and not take advantage of all of the professional development opportunities that they create for themselves. Maybe they start an online class but don’t finish it. Or maybe they know a good seminar is coming to their town but have some type of excuse for not attending, even if the procurement department budget could support attendance. It’s great to have good intentions and ideas but, if you can’t execute, you just look bad.
APATHETIC AMATEUR: The Apathetic Amateur doesn’t care if the company selects professional development opportunities for him or not – he will participate to the minimum extent possible. This person is seen by management as someone who not only allows his skills to rot on the proverbial vine, but also as someone who wastes company money by failing to complete online classes or make performance adjustments after going to seminars.
Now that you know the four types of procurement professionals that exist within the context of professional development, think about your own historical habits. Which profile fits you based on your actual behavior (not just your intentions)? Is that the profile that you want associated with you? If not, which profile would you like associated with you? What do you have to do to live up to your desired profile?
So, professional development is a lot like relocation when it comes to your career. If you accept the opportunities, management will notice your willingness to step up and support the organization.
However, what’s cooler about professional development as compared to relocation is that professional development builds who you are as a procurement professional. You essentially can take the benefits of the opportunities you’ve seized with you throughout your entire career. Because of the opportunities you’ve seized, you can say “I am skilled in these additional areas” or “I am certified” and you will be more qualified.
The benefits of relocation are not as long lasting. Saying “I was relocated to Peoria” or “I worked in three different states” doesn’t really translate much value to a future employer the way that professional development does.