Think about your entire ecosystem for a moment – those that are deeply involved, and those that are involved in your project but more on the periphery. Often those on the periphery are vendors – not the biggest ones, but maybe smaller but not insignificant. What they do is often taken for granted; it is assumed that everything will be okay. What they do, and how they do it, is well worth thinking about. Sometimes they might even be able to help more, to provide some knowledge or insights, or just even provide some assurance or continued reliable support. But how do you treat those vendors?
This is the third of a series of four articles on “PM and the Spirit of Giving”, where we explore just a few of the opportunities a project manager has to express the spirit of giving in his/her professional life. This article, Part 3 in the series, “Special Appreciation for a Vendor,” raises the idea of expressing the holiday spirit with an often underappreciated supplier or service provider. Part 1, “Focused Attention to a Team Member”, looks at opportunities to take advantage of the holiday spirit to try and build a better relationship with a team member. Part 2, “An Extra Mile for the Customer,” looks at ways that you, as a project manager, can do a little extra something to build a stronger professional relationship with your customer. Finally, Part 4, “Someone Specific in Your Network”, encourages you to take a look outside your current job at your professional network for a special way to express the spirit of giving.
Here are some situations that you may recognize in a good vendor:
- Goes the Extra Mile: Sometimes a vendor truly over delivers, consistently, over time, making life easier for your business or your team. It may be that such a vendor is underappreciated, and it could also be that they are under recognized by your business as a party to work with in other areas of the business. Giving them more business, and sharing them across other projects, could be a ‘double gift’.
- Could Go Further: A vendor may not necessarily be over delivering…but they may have more potential if someone paid more attention to them and showed more appreciation in the areas where they excel. The gift could again be a ‘double gift’: helping to open doors for them, and helping your company beyond the project.
- Potential If More Communication: Often vendors may not, despite their own efforts, fully understand the extent of the greater opportunity, beyond your project. Being an ally and trying to understand where they want to go, what strengths they bring to the table, can help you to network better on their behalf as part of your ongoing activities. It can also help then to possibly reposition themselves in ways that can be mutually beneficial.
- Vendor’s Personal Situation: As with other stakeholders, vendors are people. They have their personal, family, health, and other issues just like anyone else. Recognizing that and having a little flexibility in the spirit of giving during the holidays is a great thing to do.
Do you recognize any of these in a particular vendor, and have you reached out to acknowledge and get to know them better?
This Post is Part of the Series: PM and the Spirit of Giving
These articles explore potential difficult situations with a team member, and ways that you can tap into the holiday spirit to smooth things over.