A Member of Your Team Holding You Back?

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A Team Member Holding You Back?

As BSG works in web design, we have often heard some interesting stories with model lessons. Here is one to share:

Once upon a time, a large organization needed to hire a web-design agency, so they interviewed and evaluated five choices. The leadership team made the final decision, so after careful consideration it was decided by a majority which agency would be best. That seemed logical.

However, the organization’s communications director – the in-house person who would be the point person with the agency, didn’t like the choice. He asked for another web design company he personally knew and was far more comfortable with. However, he didn’t kick back at the majority, simply accepting their decision. On the other side of things, because he was emotional, self absorbed and thinking about himself and not the higher goals of the overall organization, he immediately began to intentionally make life miserable for the agency.

He purposely withheld approvals on design work. Then he turned and blamed the agency for being late. He offered vague instructions, but later got upset because the agency missed the blurry mark. He kept back valued and timely information and generally treated the agency with arrogance and condescension. After 6-8 months (as the communications director had hoped) the relationship fell apart, and the CEO fired the agency. To everyone else on the leadership team, it appeared the agency failed the challenge. The CEO was baffled, because the web design agency had done spectacular work for other organizations. But to those who saw what was happening on the inside, the in-house communications director betrayed his own company.

Right now, in your own organization, someone on your team who otherwise seems absolutely responsible, upright, and qualified, may actually be damaging your leadership, and hurting your organization. The question is, how would you ever know? How do you evaluate their performance? Here’s a few tips offer by the experts at BSG:

1) Don’t just get reports from your in-house point person on projects, regularly talk to your vendors as well. If there’s a problem, the vendor will be slow to point fingers at anyone, since the in-house person is in control of the relationship. But if you are sensitive and can read between the lines, you’ll start noticing differences in their reports.

2) Discuss personal feelings with your in-house staff. If they’re dealing with a vendor they don’t personally like, it could be a sign that the vendor is a problem. But just as often, it might be a sign that you need to switch your point person.

3) Make sure anyone at your organization who deals with outside vendors or consultants is experienced and mature. While not always true, the more experience and maturity someone has, the better they can overlook personal biases and make decisions for the greater good. Plus, they need to be at the same or similar professional level as the outside vendor. Putting an unqualified person in charge to lead an important outsourced project is a recipe for disaster.

Things go wrong with vendor relationships, but in my experience, the vast number of problems are with communication, not execution. Go out of your way to ensure everyone on your team is dealing fairly and professionally with vendors. Because only then will you be equipped to continue the relationship or pull the plug.

Have you ever seen a situation where a great vendor relationship collapsed because of personal animosity on either side? It is disastrous. Contact us at BSG today to help you maneuver through those testy work related relations.

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