Collaboration – building sustainable expectations?

Let’s start this discussion by talking about business relationships.  We have customers, advisors or consultants and we have vendors. Customers order what they want from vendors, sometimes with the advice of an advisor or independent representative and in return, they pay for those products and/or services.  Sounds simple. Right?

The point of this blog is to say that these relationships can and should be so much more.  What would be the result if we all took a keen interest in each other’s betterment emotionally and logically, without sacrificing our own wellbeing?  That is accomplished largely by mutual collaboration.

Who inhabits your collaboration team(s)? (a simple way of asking how you screen your vendors and customers)

Beware, narcissistic behavior is just as prevalent in business as it is in our personal lives.  Some people are not being totally honest when they say they want what is best for you and your business.  That promise sometimes misrepresents their intentions and hides their goal of making their business better without caring for the benefits they provide to the customer.  We all have purchased a product or service and been disappointed in the quality, delivery and follow through by the people supplying the good or service.

Conversely. let’s look at it from the vendor’s point of view.  We have all dealt with a customer who will use you until you have no more to give.  They constantly bicker about price, terms and then pay you late anyway, if at all.  If hind site was 20/20 we would not have taken on that customer.  How do we avoid the next bad apple?  We collaborate with them first.

Collaboration is a smarter way to do business.  Let us spend a little bit of time to get to know each other, our strengths, weaknesses, needs and wants.  No, we don’t have to be best friends. But, it would be nice to be great business partners.  In lieu of shopping for price alone, let’s share what other things will influence our judgment of expectations.  Can we meet or exceed what would be expected by our customer and vendor?  Will we be able to receive or pay a fair price and make or receive a timely payment and repeat these processes for the good of all of us?  Can we do other things to help each other succeed?  Notify each other of competitive moves?  Warn each other of changes in our businesses before they make a negative or positive impact?  Can we keep each other’s well being in our minds, so we can feel like a part of a team and not a lonely business soul?

In our line of work, we recognize collaboration with our customers and suppliers is critical for all of us.  Like pulling a rope, we can be more competitive than the other teams if we work closely.  When we collaborate with open hearts and careful attention we all gain a long-standing relationship and can cheer each other on to individual success – together.

Are you a collaborator or merely a vendor or customer?

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