According to an article by LinkedIn Editor Janet Prudente, remote working has been a saving grace for many introverts. Away from the daily pressures of interacting with people in person, introverts excel.
For procurement’s introverts, the above suggestion will ring loud and clear: leave us alone, ignore us, and we will do a great job.
But, as we return to “normal” the question is this: are we ready to move from the cosey confines of our introverted-ness to become extroverts in a world that now sees us and our value?
It’s In the Genes
In referencing the CEO Genome Project, a June 2019 Procurious post titled “Why Do Introverts Make Great CPOs?” suggests that while a confident, charismatic extrovert is our ideal leader, research suggests differently.
Do not get us wrong; we are not saying that these strong character traits are unimportant. They are important. We are saying that research suggests that a sure and steady hand will ultimately win the day, and it just so happens that this is the primary strength that an introvert, in general, brings to the table.
Think about this last statement for a moment and consider the people working behind the scenes in some of the country’s highest political offices. These people may not have perfected the palm-pressing brilliant smile of an elected official, but they sure do know how to read a situation and manage it from behind the scenes out of the spotlight.
“Some executives used to think of procurement as a place you send staff away in order to never see them again.” – Excerpt from Procurement At A Crossroads, J. Ross Publishing
If you think about procurement’s history as a back-office adjunct to finance, it is not too difficult to imagine that our introversion is in our collective blood and is similar to that of a chief of staff.
The Empirical View
If you do a Google search on introverts and procurement, you will get widely differing statistics depending on the source.
For example, one older study suggests that 65% of procurement professionals are extroverts; we think that is high—empirically speaking.
Our basis for this conclusion is the above Procurement At A Crossroads excerpt referencing our profession’s traditional out-of-sight, out-of-mind banishment. Given these circumstances, it is safe to say that we are all, to varying degrees, introverts by someone else’s choice.
If we are to take or accept this empirical view of ourselves, remote working has likely given us a chance to stand out both individually and collectively. As a result, we have been thrust into the spotlight of increasing importance and even greater expectations. This new awareness of our prowess means that, like it or not, we are ALL going to have become extroverts.
So, here is the question: if you are an introvert, can you become an extrovert, and if you are an extrovert, can you perform like an introvert?
These coming weeks and months are sure going to be interesting.