So, the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX. And, as a procurement guy, I’m not happy.
Well, professional procurement is about many things. One of the most important principles in procurement is to operate with the utmost integrity.
Almost everyone knows about “Deflate-Gate” and how the Patriots allegedly used footballs that were inflated to less-than-legal capacity – and somehow advantageous to them – in the game that got them to the Super Bowl. Of course, they had prepared every imaginable excuse that the powers-that-be had no idea that the balls were under-inflated and neither players nor coaches instructed anyone to under-inflate them.
Blah, blah, blah.
Somehow, these excuses bought them time for a “thorough investigation” that, of course, is taking longer than the two weeks between the Deflate-Gate game and the Super Bowl. As a result, the Patriots were permitted to participate in the Super Bowl.
One of the principles that the Next Level Purchasing Association teaches in our procurement certification programs is that procurement professionals must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. Perhaps it is too early to tell whether the Patriots actually acted with intentional impropriety. But there’s no doubt that there is an appearance of impropriety with regard to those inadequately-filled pigskins!
Another timeless procurement principle is that procurement professionals must always act with integrity and avoid conflicts of interest. That means understanding one’s fiduciary responsibility to his or her employer. Procurement professionals are entrusted with properly spending a heck of a lot of their employer’s money and should always work to uphold the trust with which they have been bestowed. That means to never seek personal gain as a “benefit” of their position and to always put the employer’s interest first.
That brings me to Patriots running back, LeGarrette Blount.
Blount started the season playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, in one game, he left the field early, in an apparent protest that he was not given much playing time.
That’s just not something one does as a professional football player. It is selfish. It is putting one’s own interests before those of the employer. It’s probably a violation of company policy. And it is insubordination, which an employer should never tolerate.
He was fired by the Steelers, and deservedly so.
But, he was quickly signed by the Patriots. And, the next thing you know, there he is in the Super Bowl.
As a thought leader in a profession that is, and should be, striving to be among the most honorable professions, it pains me that on arguably the world’s biggest stage, the message is that impropriety, breaking company policy, and putting one’s interests over his employers seems to be rewarded.
I think that is a terrible message to have sent to our business workforce.
Especially our younger and more impressionable workforce.
But even more especially to our younger and more impressionable procurement workforce.
Therefore, I feel it is my duty to say this…
In procurement, we must hold ourselves to a higher ethical standard than the New England Patriots.
While they may have won Super Bowl XLIX, our job is not to win any trophies.
It is to serve our employers’ interests first and foremost, to be models of adhering to company policies so others can adhere to procurement-related company policies, and to put behaving with integrity at the top of our priorities.
Here’s to hoping for a more honorable winner of Super Bowl 50*.
*According to USA Today, the NFL will not be using Roman numerals to identify the next Super Bowl