The flies and the vinegar

While watching the news leaves me more and more perplex about how much, when that happens, partisans of opposite ideas, political, social, cultural or economic, get to listen to what “the others” have to say, and why, it sometimes seems fairly similar to what a recent client of mine was going through during my time with them. And honestly, it stinks. Maybe looking back at what History (yes, the Great one, where we refer to conflicts, evolution and transition) has taught us is a bit extreme in the comparison. Maybe not. Introducing the procurement function into a rather conservative landscape is very exciting for someone like me (happy to confess this geekiness of mine): so, where was I to start?

Many years ago, I conducted the same project within comparable conditions, only different industries. The basic human reaction to change, even a slight one, is somewhat dubitative, when not negative. Knowing that, and remembering the degree of resistance I ran into in the past, I investigated if anything had been done about this “new” project.  The striking truth hit me harder than I had expected when I heard the project lead declaring “we told them more than two years ago, what is so difficult for them to get it and tag along?” That remark left me puzzled, and that would be an understatement.

Last time I checked, you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Relying on a two-year old message, and expecting the audience to just comply because it is not “new”, to me, falls under “extreme”, wishful and… utopist. And I like ambitious projects: not so keen on the unrealistic or taking the respect from the audience for granted. Regardless of the size of the company, leading a campaign for any kind of change demands some time and commitment towards the audience to make it become active, and responsive, as opposed to reactive. This organisation will not experience strikes or demonstrations in the streets of the city, in reaction of this “new” message.

Centralising a function is a delicate task, and can certainly mess with human sensibilities when simply imposed without much prior consultation. That just lacks any democratic concept, and usually turns people off. So, take the blame and bite the bullet from the obvious communication faux-pas may look necessary to pursue and complete this long project. Well, when one repeatedly hears these people need to understand, from either side, one might suspect the negotiations could be lengthy and tedious, when either department agrees to engage a deeper, even a heart-to-heart, conversation. New procedures, when unilateral, rarely scratch the public’s back. What about quitting standing idly and making a move to discuss, and resolve, the itchiness?

Photo credit “Fly macro in green nature” by SweetCrisis