This post is by ‘THE BUYER’ – an anonymous former senior manager in the procurement profession who offers an occasional perspective to the world from a procurement driven point-of-view.
The Corporate problem
The problem with problems is that they are so compelling. And they are easy to define. Everyone is focused on them. Nature demands that people get better and better at articulating the problem.
Admiring the problem even.
With such focus and anxiety bearing upon the Problem, everyone fixates on it. Meanwhile, Rome burns whilst everyone fiddles.
Dreamers see their chance, “if only I can solve the problem I will be the hero” they muse. Soon, implied rewards offer themselves for the solving of the problem. The problem becomes everything. Corporate relief is audible when the problem is fixed, even patched.
Goal hungry corporate warriors strive to solve the Problem. Success becomes solving the Problem. Failure is failing to solve the Problem. You get fired for not solving the Problem.
But problems are reactionary. They are a negative force. You cannot problem-solve your way to greatness so easily. Problem solving stops threats, but does not grab opportunity so often. Problems need solving. Opportunities have to be grabbed.
The individual opportunity
Opportunities are proactive. They offer great value from little expectation, and are hard to define. Difficult to articulate and tricky to explain. They are the maketh of men. They offer a true path to greatness. They offer no reward, save themselves. They go unseen, and often unnoticed. They need vision and perspective.
They demand toil, blood, sweat and tears. They demand great reserve, tenacity and resilience. And they are offered no support, little resource, low priority and less patience.
But people do not see the end so easily. The problems get in the way, “if only I can solve the problem first.”
Opportunities are not rewarded. Positive force is undervalued. Delivering great opportunity delivers greatness. Opportunity grabbing solves weakness, and
can even obviate problems. But no one ever got fired for failing to grab an opportunity. In fact most don’t even realise an opportunity has been missed. Not until it is way too late. No one ever got fired for missing an opportunity, did they?
This is the culture of many large organisations. The culture we have built. The one we live in. The one that judges us. That lets one executive scramble to the top, lets the other go.
Corporate culture dictates how we behave. What we do. What we don’t do. Who we become. But it reveals character, rather than shapes it. It asks us to say as we see – as we believe.
This is the world in which we are all judged – whether in Marketing or in Procurement.
When the phone often rings at Trinity P3, and a Marketing Department is calling, it is usually with a problem – “Can you help us with a little problem we seem to be having with one of our agencies?”
Increasingly, however, the phone rings not from a humbled Marketing team, but from an emboldened Procurement department, “Could you perhaps help us with a little opportunity we see?”
Procurement people see that they need to grab the opportunity, their subsequent success will take care of the problems. If Marketing people do not soon see the opportunity as well, maybe they will be swapping places with the people that do see the opportunity?
Interested to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.