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Leadership In Contracts & Commercial Management

September 15, 2011

The IACCM executive  forum is designed for leaders or aspiring leaders. A book by Robert Kaplan, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard, may offer some useful insights into the characteristics and requirements for leadership. For example, this comes from a recent interview with Prof. Kaplan:

“You must ask “What is your vision for the business that you run?” A lot of the time, people can tell me, and a lot of times they can’t. Why? Articulating a vision is based on what your distinctive competencies are. As the world is always changing, many people have to think about that. They’re not sure. I try to stop people and ask: What are your distinctive competencies? What’s your aspiration? And then I ask: what are the 3-5 things you must do superbly well to achieve that vision? This is a very simple conversation, but often when a leader is having a problem, invariably they are not clear themselves and priorities, or they are clear but don’t communicate it enough to their people. It’s very hard to be a good coach if you’re not clear with your direct reports and subordinates, as well as lateral relationships. How can you coach them if you don’t really know what you what and where you’re going? Everything you do needs to align around that vision.”

I think this statement offers a useful context for the forum (and our subsequent report). We are working to provide a vision, so that the leaders for contracting and commercial management can give thought to their priority goals and assess the competencies their organization must have or devlop to meet the vision and goals. And from there, they have something clear to communicate.

Our research shows that many professionals in our field do not have clarity over their future, over what they must achieve, over how they will contribute – and that leaves them frustrated. But if they don’t know the answer, imagine how people elsewhere in the business must feel – obviously they see associate a function with an unclear purpose as lacking real value. And certainly they do not associate it with leadership.

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