Is Adaptability a Procurement Skill?


Recruiting experts, Hays conducted a survey of 951 employers to discover what skills are they believe are the most in demand (also, will continue to be in demand going forward). The top five skills turned out to be:

  1. Communication (77%),
  2. Adaptability (66%),
  3. Digital proficiency in relevant new technology (64%),
  4. Innovation (63%), and
  5. Critical Thinking (61%).

So, if adaptability is a skill how does one learn it?

I am unsure that it can be learnt as a skill is learnt – perhaps we could think of it more as an approach. A way to tackle something. And yes, adaptability is what allows us to flex and grow – to solve problems and overcome challenges. Can it be taught? Perhaps we can learn new ways of defining our approach, or what motivates us. Maybe by changing how we observe a situation, or how perception of it, will also help us to adapt. So, whilst it may not be considered a procurement skill as such, it could be a learned behaviour.

A learned behaviour is one that we develop because of experience. They stand in contrast to innate behaviours – those that are innate to you – hardwired into your psyche and performed without any prior training or experience.

Adaptability as a competence could be considered a little general.

Adaptable to do what, to perform what, to cope with what, to communicate with whom, to travel to where, to be flexible to when – does it need more context? Does agility come into adaptability or is that a separate domain of competence?

When coming up with plans to increase competence, it may be beneficial to consider applying practical learnings within that domain.

For example, what does it mean to have good communication skill? Do you simply improve your speaking skills or reading skills? We think that a more focused approach can be more fruitful and rewarding. For example, look at improving your communication skills in the context of negotiations.

Innovation and critical thinking go hand in hand.

There is no shortcut to either. To be able to innovate, you need to see the gaps in the market. That can only come through exposure to lots of different stimuli and while being exposed, thinking critically about what you are being exposed to. The question underpinning innovation would be, you are brilliant at procurement today. But will you be tomorrow? To answer that question honestly, you need to think critically about the hardest topic of all, yourself. Sure, to assess your future readiness, you need to be aware of trends and confront some hard questions. Like, are my skills ready for Procurement 4.0? Can I be replaced by a robot? Digital proficiency also ties into adaptability.

To that end, the Global Procurement Capability Benchmark can help you think critically about yourself. Through the Global Procurement Capabilities Benchmark, you can compare your skills against your peers, allowing you to gain valuable data that puts you in control of your career. So, you will know for sure, if you and your skills, will be in demand come 2025.

Register for free here.