Predominant Contract Management Personality

If you’ve worked in contract management, you know that contract management professionals predominantly tend to be administratively minded. I’ve never been able to point to empirical evidence until now. O*Net Online has a lot of data on wages, education, and personalities of purchasing managers, who fall under the contract management field. Some areas worth highlightingare:

Top Five Most Important Skills
  1. Coordination
  2. Active Listening,
  3. Speaking
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Persuasion
Top Five Most Important Areas of Knowledge
  1. Administrative and Management
  2. English Language
  3. Production and Processing
  4. Law and Government
  5. Mathematics
Top Five Most Important Work Styles
  1. Integrity
  2. Dependability
  3. Self-Control
  4. Initiative
  5. Stress Tolerance
Top Five Most Important Work Values
  1. Working Conditions
  2. Support
  3. Independence
  4. Recognition
  5. Relationships
This data confirms to me that contract management professionals usually are administratively minded. It’s also worth considering that while this is the predominant personality type in contract management, it may not be what we need in the future. I often hear that contracting officers need to be creative and flexible as contracting officers are knowledge workers, However, the data from O-Net suggests that creativity and flexibility are not as valued in the real-world as we hear they should be. The closest important skill in top five to creativity is critical thinking, and it is ranked number 4.
As contract management professionals, this begs an important question: Do we really value crativity and flexibility as much as we say we do, or are we misleading ourselves?
All Things Sterling, Your Healthy Dose of Federal Acquisition

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Ann McFarlane

It’s hard for rulemakers to value creativity … they don’t want us to get too far afield. The people we work with, when we expedite a procurement or project with creativity value us! Creativity (to me) does not mean not following the rules, it means using the rules to our best advantage.