From Job To Profession …. Maybe
There are many people with a Contract or Commercial Manager job title. IACCM research shows that a large majority enjoy their work. They find it fulfilling due to its variation and their sense that it is making a real contribution to the bottom line. Most believe that what they do is special and somewhat unique – for example, a large number think it is not a skill that is readily transferable between industries or from buy-side to sell-side support. Indeed, a significant proportion (especially in the more senior ranks) perceive their underlying knowledge as something that can be gained only through experience, not through education. There is strong resistance to the idea that there could be meaningful university qualifications and graduate entry to the world of contracts and commercial remains very much the exception.
Given this summary, it is not surprising that few can quickly describe their role. Even less can clarify its precise business value (except perhaps in a context of the bad things that might have happened if they were not there). And most are surprised when senior management questions whether the expense of contract and commercial management can be justified.
Dipesh Taylor, an IACCM member based in the UK, was fascinated about the attitudes of practitioners to their job and the extent to which they understood or welcomed moves towards professionalism. He worked with IACCM staff to develop a survey exploring contract and commercial management as a career. The results will be the subject of a webinar on July 18th (visit http://www.iaccm.com/events/register/?id=1687 to register). Once more, they confirm the enthusiasm that practitioners have for their role, yet also the weaknesses – and the threats – that come from a continuing lack of professionalism. It is far from clear how people develop in this role, or where staff of the future would come from. Perhaps most important, there is no evident commitment to research and continuous improvement.
As society develops, jobs tend to disappear. Professions have continuity. It is important for contract and commercial practitioners to decide – are you performing a job, or are you part of a profession? Join the discussion on July 18th – or share your comments below.