Is There Magical Thinking In Your Procurement?

Recently over on the Dilbert Blog, Scott Adams penned a post on The Magical Thinking Opposition where he noted that his hypothesis was that the political side that is out of power is the one that hallucinates the most -– and needs to –- in order to keep their worldview intact.

And this got the doctor thinking if there is a corollary that says the Procurement department that is getting the worst deal is the one that hallucinates the most — and needs to — in order to keep their worldview intact.

Why does he posit this? Typically the Procurement departments most against modernizing their processes or platforms are those that are doing the worst and think they are just fine with the processes or platforms they have. These laggards are not only without modern platforms, but resistant to their acquisition and implementation. They are not modern Procurement departments, but traditional Procurement departments that still run on the island of misfit toy principle — staffed with people who are nearing retirement (and being rewarded with a cushy purchasing job), related to the boss (because you can’t fire a relative of the boss), and who have been in the
organization too long to let go (but who are not suited for their current jobs anymore).

But this is not the only way to identify these Procurement organizations. You can also tell them by these telltale arguments against modernization:

  • Our processes are fine, we just need more people to implement them.
    They think that their lack of results is lack of resources, not the processes or the platform.
  • Out platform is just fine, we just need more people to maximize its potential.
    They don’t believe that the throughput is a problem of an outdated platform, just a lack of resources.
  • It’s not worth the cost, and it will slow us down.
    They fight modernization and change, usually based on outdated views, beliefs, or stereotypes.

They feel that all they need is a little more time, a few more resources, and then everything will work out a-ok with the help of a little pixie dust. It’s magical thinking, and there’s no room for it. Just like alchemy needed to be replaced with science, magical thinking needs to be replaced with realist thinking.