The Strategic Value of “Outsight” – A Rare Attribute

March 22, 2017
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By Richard Sterling, Partner at AltoPartners Australia

CEOs need to redefine the senior Commercial Management role to truly benefit from the experience on offer. Commercial management has now become one of the most important of corporate functions and is increasingly entering the C-suite of corporations. What are the competencies and attributes CEOs value in a commercial management professional?

The current hiring approach, which outlines generic task driven duty statements limiting the role to predominantly legal or procurement or contract administration, suggests that many in the C-suite, especially the CEO, are grappling with understanding the contribution and value that can be gained when hiring a senior commercial management professional. There are, however, a growing number of CEOs who are thinking about the profession beyond generic duty statements to explore benefits that are increasingly more decisive to the success of the business.

These CEOs are valuing competencies and experiences with which a commercial management professional is able to challenge how a business operates, drive constant improvement in the context of current and future markets. These CEOs want a professional who is able to go beyond providing a framework for trading relationships. They want a professional who is able to bring to the discussion and the decision making the strategic value of outsight.

Outsight - this is a rare attribute. It is the windfall of hiring well.

The intent of outsight is to work out future directions, priorities and the stakeholders that will be required to support initiatives. It requires that the commercial management professional knows how to develop networks, at times deep in the business and at other times, outside the business, beyond their immediate profession, beyond the industry in which the business exists, beyond the markets in which the business trades.

The ability to leverage outsight provides the commercial management professional with a better sense of the many factors and levers that impact and will impact business.

The value to the CEO, and indeed the business, is a commercial management professional with a greater ability to articulate a view of the future while remaining focused on a clear strategic direction for the business. This means that the commercial management professional is first and foremost, a part of the leadership team and an expert in their field second.

To have this benefit, the CEO’s challenge is to define the senior commercial management role in terms of competencies and performance objectives that are not limited to the task driven matters of legal, procurement and contract administration.

Read the full blog on the Richard Sterling’s LinkedIn Pulse Blog here

Richard Sterling is AltoPartners’ practice leader for Contract and Commercial Management. He can be contacted via e-mail: or on +61 2 8007 5812, (Sydney Australia)

AltoPartners is the global provider of Executive Search and Leadership Advisory services to the members of The International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM).