Don’t be a purchasing Dalek

26 April 2011
Alison Smith, senior purchasing consultant at Future Purchasing and life-coachLast week a tweet caught my eye. It said: “It’s our fate to be afraid of the Daleks.” It linked to an article about an academic study that suggested we fear the Daleks because we’re worried we might become like them. “The Daleks had retreated into their metal shells after a devastating war and slowly lost their emotions, becoming more like machines than living and breathing creatures,” said Cambridge University’s Robin Bunce, who examined why audiences find them so scary. I know it’s going a little far to suggest we’ve become Daleks, but many procurement professionals justify behaviour in the workplace that they would find unacceptable at home. This conduct becomes acceptable at work because, either: •    
We can’t trust anyone; or •    “They” (stakeholders, senior management or whoever) are out to get us. The issue I have with these beliefs and the behaviours they generate is that this can only lead us into a vicious cycle of mistrust. Over time we’ve become numbed to our reaction to this mistrust and forget what we’re really saying about the world and those we do business with. At one level we do become like the Daleks. Another tweet I spotted recently quoted Kant. “Act and be as though how you are dictates that everyone else will be that same way,” he said. In other words, treat others as you would like to be treated, and not as a reaction to what you think they will do.
 
If we are trustworthy, and expect our internal and external stakeholders to be the same, you may be surprised what opportunities may spring forth. Someone has to exterminate the mistrust (but not the Daleks).
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