The vendor was disastrous. Deadlines missed, calls not returned, work incomplete, programming sloppy, and worst of all—he didn’t even bother to watch the screencasts I recorded of the problems he needed to fix! I discovered how lackadaisical his approach was during a conference call while I was in another state to attend a funeral. Not the best time to test my patience.
He had a 100% no-questions-asked guarantee and that’s one of the reasons I hired him. He sounded like he had integrity. It went downhill from there.
As creative business owners, we inevitably find ourselves in situations where objectives are not met. In fact, life is full of these scenes. Personal relationships fail and business deals crumble.
In this case, it was a launch sequence for which I hired that vendor to write and program my CRM. I finally had to fire the guy and his team when he didn’t even realize he had missed the deadline. (I’ve officially added “missing deadlines” to my list of things that are guaranteed to drive customers away.)
Have you noticed that people start to argue when they know they are wrong? It’s easy to spot. All their sentences start with. “You did…,” or “You said…,” and perhaps there’s even the veiled threat of, “My attorney and I feel that you …”
Wait a minute, he was trying to get out of his guarantee.
I was wronged by the vendor. I must tell him. That’s the way it works, right?
Take a deep breath, Beate.
It’s easy to go off on someone, especially via email. What’s much harder is to solve the problem within ourselves first. All I wanted was to let my attorneys loose on this snake to show him who is in the right here. A guarantee is a guarantee, right?
I stopped myself.
In my other business, The Women’s Code, we use the Three Pillars: Awareness, Support, and Collaboration. The pillars apply to all people in any situation, so I am going to share them with you. Creatives especially feel the burn of dishonesty little deeper because we are a sensitive bunch who just want to be treated fairly. We can get pretty upset when we meet people who act without integrity and weasel themselves out of the right thing to do.
But to act with integrity ourselves, we must live by the Golden Rule.
Awareness asks: What is going on here? What is my part? Who do I want to be in this? We always play some part in any quarrel. But there is a bigger question: Where do I want to put my energy? Will you give your good energy to the snake or put it toward growth?
Next is support. Were you properly supported by this person? Probably not. So why then do you want to stay in contact with them? A lack of support brought this issue on in the first place. What would need to happen for you to be supported? Now that I consider things, it’s possible I wasn’t supportive of the vendor because I lost trust in him.
Then comes collaboration. Only through honest awareness and with proper support can we arrive at collaboration. Now that we know what bad collaboration looks like, how will we set up the next deal so it will be more successful?
I’ve learned that what goes around comes around. Sometimes the best position is to let things unfold. I can wait. Until then, I’ve brushed myself off and found the right team that will do the job properly.
What are some of your lessons that you learned when working with outside vendors, and other freelancers? I am curious to find out how you protect yourself and monitor their progress.