When you think about it, Procurement departments aren't so different from Transformers.

In recent years, the once-tactical function has changed shape. Like Bumblebee, Starscream, and Jazz, the Procurement function has morphed from something run-of-the-mill and easily dismissed into something truly extraordinary. In its new, more strategic form, Procurement has accepted more essential responsibilities and started to produce otherworldly results.

Most Procurement groups, however, have yet to fully make the switch from family car to fighting robot. Sure, they've pulled the metaphorical Lift-Switch, but they've only begun to see what this value generator in disguise is capable of.

It's not Decepticons holding Procurement back, but a relative lack of Autobots. To complete its Transformation, Procurement requires a leader as driven, collaborative, and experienced as Optimus Prime. How can organizations identify this super-powered CPO? Don't go looking for a Peterbilt 379. Instead, keep an eye out for these must-have qualities.

1. Active Listening Skills
Optimus Prime is plenty powerful, but even he knows he can't go it alone. The leader of the Autobots has no trouble deferring to Bumblebee or Ironhide when the going gets tough. A great CPO is similar. Rather than driving home their own agenda, they actively seek out feedback and input from the rest of their Procurement team. Before embarking on a Transformation, they embed themselves within the department, interview its every stakeholder, and collaboratively develop a plan of attack. Opening their eyes and ears, they'll more effectively target Procurement's most pressing concerns and lay the groundwork for consistent improvement. All good CPOs are good talkers, but the best are great listeners as well.

2. Enthusiasm 
Why has it taken so long for Procurement to transform and reveal its true nature? Because when you're told time and again that a car is just a car, you're not very likely to believe it's actually a robot. For generations, most companies have allowed Procurement to languish in obscurity. They've done little to build interest in making the department more strategically valuable. As a result, Procurement has sat dormant in the garage gathering dust. To truly change shape, Procurement requires a leader who'll evangelize the function and sing the praises of more strategic Procurement. With this enthusiastic CPO at the helm, Procurement should find it far easier to gain executive buy-in and build momentum.

3. Flexibility
Today's strategic Procurement departments are tasked with performing a multi-functional role. That means its not enough for a CPO to take two forms like Optimus Prime. To truly excel and bring Procurement to the next stage in its strategic evolution, CPOs need to take on several dozen forms. Among other roles, they'll need to function as contract negotiators, category managers, risk mitigators, and talent scouts, and spend analysts. Procurement's list of responsibilities transforms by the day. To perform them effectively and accept its rightful seat at the executive table, the department needs a leader who'll transform just as quickly.

Looking to speed up Procurement's transformation? Reach out to Source One's supply chain staffing team for help with interim CPO selection. Like Archibald Witwicky, we'll uncover the Optimus Prime your organization needs to do battle with inefficiency and assume Procurement's final form.

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