Editor’s Corner article

The Procurement Solution: Teamwork
CHRIS MacLEAN  |  May 15, 2014

Many have said it wouldn’t be done, some believed it couldn’t be done, but the federal government is actually working together to find the most workable combinations (hopefully it will please most of the people most of the time). I think they will succeed. Why? Because they have stopped working behind closed doors. Maybe it was inevitable that government would one day recognize that everyone can get a lot farther much faster by working together – which is precisely the concept taught during basic military training, not to mention virtually every leadership training forum on the planet. However, change management, driven from the top, is clearly underway.

While it is true that criticism quickly drives government back into the safety of its collective shell, that environment bears little resemblance to the real world and priorities faced every day by business leaders. Few things are more appreciated by the public – including those same business leaders – than the truth.

We all know that actions speak louder than words, which means that a transparent process must ­actually BE transparent if you want to maintain credibility. Get rid of your spin doctors. Stop letting the PMO put words in your mouth. Not only are they myopic, they have minimal world experience with which to balance their message. For instance, they have no idea how sick and tired we all are of hearing about the “Decade of Darkness” as if it gets them off the hook. It doesn’t.

Sometimes true change stalls when people think that improvement means changing how somebody else does their part of the process. Will ‘stick handling’ between ministers avoiding responsibility become a thing of the past? We hope. Will effective metrics be developed to measure progress? They are looking for advice.

Such skepticism is shared by many in the defence industry, particularly when progress on some projects seem to have stalled for the time being – but there is guarded optimism, and that is due to the openness of the three people on the front lines of procurement reform. Tom Ring, RAdm Patrick Finn, and Philip Jennings are very approachable. They listen. In our FrontLine interview, they spoke candidly about challenges and plans – and readily admit that industry stakeholders have a key advisory role to play in this reformation. Give them your feedback.

Chris MacLean, Editor-in-Chief
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