Common Sense–Destination Frustration
What good is a map, if you don’t know where you are to begin with? You can’t possibly chart a course or determine the resources needed to arrive. That sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it? Yet we continuously avoid asking for directions and vigorously deny that we are lost. Sound familiar?
I don’t know how many times as a child I sat helpless in the back seat of the car for hours because my Dad wouldn’t stop to ask for directions. His focus was entirely on the intended destination. His plan: Get there as fast as possible. As a result, we were often late or just gave up because we ran out of gas and/or time, and then had trouble finding our way back home! Dad wasn’t receptive to my offer to read the map and help him navigate the trip.
It happened so often that I grew to accept the inevitable and just went along for the ride without trying to make a difference. I also developed a phenomenal bladder capacity.
Imagine an organization attempting to develop a vision and mission statement, goals, objectives, and a strategic plan to reach its desired destination without knowing its current status, capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s as ridiculous as driving to Europe from America. It all ends in “destination frustration,” which can, sometimes, be lethal.
In my estimation professional public procurement is grossly under-utilized. State budgets are hemorrhaging primarily due to poor contracting and contract management practices being performed by those who are not qualified to do the job. Why isn’t government recognizing and effectively utilizing professional procurement expertise where it counts most, in the complex, high dollar contracts? Instead, many entities relegate this expertise to process and manage a minority of the organization’s total contracting activity?
Is procurement a proactive, strategic planning and management tool in your organization? If not, why not? You are the only one who can answer these questions, and you are the only one who can make a difference…right where you are…right now! Do you know how? Do you know your own impact on the success or failure of the organization? If you don’t know it or see it, no one else will.
What are you doing in your area of influence to make a positive contribution? Who are you telling about it? Do you report on processes only, or are you reporting your value to the organization? More to the point, are you reporting anything at all? Don’t wait for someone to ask for it. You don’t need permission to report what you are doing to benefit the organization. Do it! It becomes public record and creates a history of your value.
As professionals, we have a wealth of information and assistance available to us through the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing and our colleagues around the world. Do you need help, but won’t ask for it? Or are you content to just go along for the ride to…who knows where?
Editor’s Note: Beau Grant, CPPO, is a master instructor for the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) and president of Beau-Geste Enterprises. Readers can reach Grant by e-mail at [email protected]