Monday, 8 September 2014

Stop, Listen and Learn: Improving Relationships with Suppliers and Stakeholders

Authored by Mickey North Rizza


Have you heard the phrase “it’s just business” tossed around? Every time that I hear someone say that, it makes me pause. What does that even mean these days? That we can be rude, burn bridges, worry about no one but ourselves and forget we have a business to run? That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.

Even in the work place, we’re all humans interacting with each other, and business relationships? Well, at the end of the day, they’re still relationships with an eye on profitability.


Healthy relationships require both parties to listen, problem solve, give, take and share. Unfortunately, most procurement teams don’t see how weak their relationships are with their suppliers and stakeholders until something goes awry. If you find yourself in this position, don’t panic, you can build a relationship back up.

Start by doing your research. Try and get to the root cause of the issues, using what’s available to you – but try not to go straight to the people involved just yet. This is the time for you to gain a full understanding of the issues at hand, without it getting tainted by the other party’s emotions.

Once you’ve done your research, take the time to hear out your counterpart’s point of view. Try your hardest to not be defensive, instead take in what they have to say and let them know that you’ll take everything they say into consideration when making a plan to remedy the situation.

Your plan of action needs to demonstrate that you’re able to fix the current situation, but also that you’re putting steps in place to avoid running into the same issues again. Be honest and transparent, point out areas of weakness or challenges that you may run into, but be ready with an explanation for how you’ll resolve them.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your communication with suppliers and stakeholders, download this new guide written by Jessica Sanchez of CR Bard.


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