“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” — an organizational vision.
After experiencing a prolonged quarantine period, caused by an unexpected virus which changed our way of living and seeing the world, many reflections converged to getting back to basics, we’ve become fully aware of our true needs: organizations saw the reality of their business models, pushing them to reinvent themselves efficiently; leaders evaluated their working hours, their teams and colleagues, goals and objectives; families are now certain that if they are healthy, every obstacle is surmountable; and generally speaking, most people understood that we can live with less than we had before and that our survival requires the compromise of every human being.
This philosophy, translated to something I have experienced during my career over the past ten years, is something I consider an strategic axis in efficient project management, and specifically, of every purchase made in an organization, I can summarize it in a simple mantra: “Work as if it is your business, and buy as these were your life’s savings.”.
Acquisitions in every type of organization, whether public and private, are always tied to concepts and procedures. Although in private companies’ purchases are measured directly by results and indicators, public organizations are governed by countless laws, regulations, decrees, principles, etc. Sadly, at least in Ecuador, it has been demonstrated that in spite regulations and governed bodies, the system is inefficient and obsolete thanks to all the corruption scandals over the past three decades.
Assuming that every purchase you make comes from your life’s savings, you will then you ask yourself some easy questions: Do I really need this? Am I going to spend this much in this item? Is this worth it? Is this going to help me do my job better / faster? How long will this last? Can I buy another option that serves this same purpose? Can I wait to buy this?. The answers to these questions, aligned with organizational objectives and goals will allow effective planning and decision making where numbers aren’t the only indicator that matters because we now are involved and have a feeling of belonging and responsibility in the process.
In the governmental sphere, although the Constitution legally requires all government employees to act and administrate funds according to all procedures and guidelines determined by law, it’s evident that these norms, laws and procedures require structural reengineering, to ensure that they’re aligned not to five or ten principles determined by one party, but to one basic principle related to projects and acquisitions: “Work as if it is your business, and buy these were your life’s savings”.
If you work as it were your business, you will never participate in projects that you will lose; you will avoid absenteeism, delays and procrastination; you will look for ways to reinvent yourself; to simplify your procedures so your operational costs become efficient; you will become an innovator; you will manage efficiently and work with true conviction because you will have a purpose.
If you embark in your acquisition processes thinking you’re spending your life’s savings, you will never waste a single penny; will become aware and stop buying things you don’t really need; you will avoid buying something banal and instead buy of something that lasts and have more value to you and will align more with your goals, objectives, processes and procedures; and mainly, you will ask yourself, if everything you are purchasing for your organization follows all principles as legality, transparency, concurrency; because let’s be honest, you will never buy something for yourself, develop a project, make an investment or make any financial decisions knowing that it’s wrong, that it isn’t really worth it or that, later on, it can bring you a trouble, right?.
We must strive to apply the KISS principles to our procedures, ask ourselves many simple questions attached to strong values and ideologies, and always act in the organizations where we work thinking that they are ours because only then, we will be truly conscious of every decision and action we took individually and as part of a group.
The quote: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” has been taken from Leonardo Da Vinci’s manuscript Codex on the Flight of Birds.