soft skills

The Soft Skills of Successful Stakeholder Management

stakeholder management

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Candace Masuda, outlines how soft skills evolve procurement professionals into successful stakeholder managers.


As procurement professionals, we are required to wear many hats. We are consultants, analysts, problem solvers and project managers.  All these qualities are necessary but not as crucial as having internal personal/soft skills. Interpersonal skills are the key to success in leading teams, negotiating and maintaining great relationships with our internal and external customers.

Several years ago, I was fortunate to attend a management training class. Something really resonated with me in that class about leadership and styles. There was a survey that reached out to several Fortune 500 companies. The goal of the study was to determine the most favored management style amongst their employees.  

What Makes a Leader

Employees were asked to think of their favorite manager, past or present.  What were the skills this person exhibited which made them great to work with? The survey results were interesting. The typical characteristics were technical, analytical and on-the-job experience. However, though these skills were at the top of the list, they were not the most significant.  The most valuable skill was the manager that had strong people skills. The employees worked harder, enjoyed their job and were highly motivated. 

Candace Masuda, Procurement Specialist, American Honda Motor Co.

SIG Speaks to Shashank Saxena, CEO and Co-Founder of VNDLY

Shashank Saxena is a presenter at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and your day-to-day responsibilities? 

As CEO of a software SaaS company, I spend time with my leadership team focusing on the product and obsessing over the problems we're trying to solve for our customers. I focus on making sure all of our teams – internal product management, sales, engineering and customer support – are functioning at optimal levels. I also enjoy spending time with our customers, hearing about their pain points and how they're actually using the software we've built. 

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

Sourcing isn't just about finding the right vendor or supplier, it's about understanding the problems business stakeholders are trying to solve. Very often I see teams obsess over the solution, its features and price, rather than focusing on the problem the stakeholder is experiencing. The best sourcing and procurement teams I've worked with are strategic in their approach and never lose sight of the pain points stakeholders have throughout the sourcing process. 

Shashank Saxena, CEO and Co-Founder, VNDLY