1. Lead first, Manage Second

According to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Management is a bottom line focus: how can I best accomplish things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish?” As opposed to solely focusing on how to accomplish short-term tactical goals, successful interim CPO’s understand that within their finite amount of time within a Procurement organization, their objective is to influence and enable other Procurement and Sourcing professionals towards organizational milestones. This does not mean a good Interim CPO does not manage the day-to-day at all; rather, successful Interim Executives strike a harmonious balance between idealism and pragmatism—a balance between realizing the end state, and the most effective and efficient way to get there.

2. Heir on the side of Action, rather than Inertia


Companies hire Interim Chief Procurement Officers for a number of reasons, but the resounding underlying theme is to provide momentum on strategic supply management initiatives. Temporary Procurement Leaders have a history of producing tangible results across a number of direct and indirect sourcing categories, their experience spanning a wide array of industries. The ability to quickly and seamlessly rollout a change management structure and framework within Procurement to continue forward progress is essential to the success of any Procurement Transformation Initiative. Although Interim Executive Procurement and Strategic Sourcing Leaders seek to be well-informed, they do not allow a lack of information to deter them from making a deliberate action –they maintain a focus on moving a project forward, and can fill in the knowledge gaps as they progress.

3. Passion for Procurement

Interim CPO’s who are passionate for what they do have the ability to excel. Knowledge leads to a well-developed and refined understanding of the intricacies of the Supply Management function, but passion is what fuels the motivation to make things happen. Passion for Procurement is the one trait that can produce exceptional results, over and over again.

4. The Ability to Influence

The really successful Interim Chief Procurement Officers are constantly adapting and evolving with the function. To gain a better understanding of how they can influence the organization, these Leaders have perfected the art of listening to know their audience on a more personal level, and to sell their own agenda by intertwining their goals with those of other business partners across the enterprise. Top Interim CPO’s drive value and cost savings by relaying their successes, whether big or small, to the successes of the other stakeholders, and it is this collaborative relationship that embeds procurement as an essential tool for success.

5. A Big-Picture Focus, but Detail-Oriented Approach

The best Interim Procurement Executives approach the situation as a whole, avoiding the trap of not seeing the forest through the trees; however, that does not mean they are not detail-oriented. Interim CPO’s know when to dig deeper on critical issues, without reaching outside their purview. Speaking again to the idea of balance, Interim Procurement Leaders keep enterprise-wide strategic initiatives at the forefront, while executing on the more intricate details of day-to-day operations to realize fundamental change and sustainable success.


Whether these qualities come naturally, or are developed over time, when combined, these five qualities make a successful Interim Chief Procurement Officer. If your organization is in need of the right Interim talent to transform your people, process and technology, contact Source One and ask about our Executive Supply Management Staffing Solutions.
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