Careers Learning & Development Mindset

Sir Richard Branson & Procurement: Three Inspiring Takeways

Written by Philip Ideson

I was fortunate to hear a keynote presentation this morning from Sir Richard Branson and his son, Sam, at the Coupa Inspire conference here in San Francisco.  Sir Richard is my entrepreneurial hero, and his writing and actions inspired me to take the leap into entrepreneurship almost 9 months ago!

I wanted to share three immediate learnings that I took from the conversation that just wrapped up an hour ago between Sir Richard, Sam, and Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn:

1. Be Brave

“I imagine a lot of things, I am not entirely sure if I am going to achieve them, but I am a great believer in just getting out there and trying.” – Sir Richard Branson

My takeaway: we should not be afraid to do something, or attempt to solve a problem, that has never been done before.  This is particularly relevant to procurement, as we collectively attempt to push our profession into places that we have not been before, and to remember as we receive push back in our journey!

2. Have a Vision

The best leader is someone who… surrounds themselves with a group of people who 100% believe in the purpose of what you are doing” – Sir Richard Branson

My takeaway: Sir Richard provided a number of traits of successful leaders, but this stood out the most.  Most of what we do as a procurement function is about change.  We need to focus on getting all constituents on board if we are to achieve the lofty goals that we should be setting ourselves

3. Adopt a Problem to Solve

“Adopt a problem.  Let’s use our entrepreneurial skills to adopt a problem in the world – it can be local, national or global. If we can get every business in the world to do that, most of the problems in the world would be solved” – Sir Richard Branson

My takeaway: I have two takeaways. The context of this quote was sustainability. As procurement professionals, we have a position of great influence in helping our companies partner with our supply base to think outside of our four walls and use our collective resources to help solve problems that need our help to be solved.  If our day to day work though, my takeaway is that we should find problems, embrace them and work to solve them, rather than shy away from them or consider them “too hard”.

 

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.