One of Those Weekends

So what do you do when you have a client that you continually warn not to do certain things and … you know what’s coming … they do it anyhow?

Now back in the day when I was a manager, and when I owned my own company, there comes a time when you have to evaluate the business relationship.  We use to do this starting around October.  We’d evaluate if the relationship was profitable, had the potential to be ultimately profitable, or if prices needed to rise in order to make the relationship a good one going forward for both enterprizes.  To continually let mismanaged client relationships suck out resources (and availability) that is no longer a good partnership.  A few times key partnerships were found to be unprofitable and the ability to mange the relationship going forward was no longer profitable for either organization.  In these cases (and to the shock of some) we would terminate the relationship.  In the long run this provided stability for our organization and gave us the ability to focus on other partnerships or finding better matched partnerships.

What we look for to be profitable is partners, not clients and vendors.  When the relationship degrades to that it is no longer about both organizations looking to grow and assist one another.  It becomes a one sided relationship for both parties.  When that becomes the case you will start to see clients drop off, vendors leave, and then both organizations have issues.

Think of this more as a traditional marriage.  Oh, you know, the ones where it use to be that both partners were expected to work through issues and at least attempt to save the marriage. 

Instead what we see more and more with business partners is that the client vendor relationship is becoming instilled.  The partner mentality appears to be taking a back seat … much like many people’s attempts at marriage … easier to say “irreconcilable differences” than to actual try and work out the issues … but is that really the case?  Lost is the trust going forward, building relationships anew, financial obligations both past/present/and now future.  If a relationship manager (mediator) isn’t engaged properly everyone stands to lose in the near term, not even thinking of the long term costs.

Worse yet they just settle for the vendor/client relationship.  Synonymous with Information Technology Professionals calling their Clients (people within a business unit) that they call “users”.  You hear terms like “those techies”, “that’s techie talk” and “those losers *ahem* I mean users” all put downs.  Vendor means you give me and Client means pay the bill.  The longevity of these relationships are tenuous at best.

Here’s an exercise for you:
If you are a vendor try calling your clients “partners” (without a southern drawl please)
If you are a client try calling your vender “partners” (same applies)
If you are in information technology try speaking about all your “users” as clients
Finally, if you interface with someone in technology, be it a help desk associate, or network guru etc … try treating them like a person you’d like to actually help you.

It really does help to start and change the mentality.