When one hires someone to do a job for them, the hiring person, i.e., the client, expects the other person/entity (henceforth, vendor) to perform the job in the manner, or to the satisfaction of, the client. When the vendor fails to follow instructions or the directives of the client, there is a problem, for both parties. I am not talking about trying to tell, for example, an electrician, or mechanic, how to do their work. I am talking about a client who has procedures that they want followed by the vendor, reasonable procedures, that will enable the vendor to do the work, and get the results that we, as the client, need. The simple way to make the working relationship work is to do what the client asks. Admittedly, we have had clients who have asked us to do things, sometimes unethical things, that we would not do. Again, that is not the point. The point is, when the request is within reason and within a normal, but perhaps different, way that the vendor is used to doing things, adapt! Adapting to client’s needs is critical to business success; not adapting is a recipe for failure. It is pretty basic, but surprisingly, apparently some vendors are unwilling to adapt and accommodate. For those who are willing to accommodate, it would be far better to state this at the outset than to waste both parties’ time, efforts, and money in a relationship the vendor is dooming to failure.
Sometimes, I am the client and other times, I am the vendor. (Although I am a consultant, with expertise in an area my clients lack, by virtue of the fact I am selling my services to someone, I am, technically speaking, a vendor.) When I am the client, I expect to be treated like a client, or a customer. The client/vendor relationship is not one of collegiality; it does not involve a partnership; and it is certainly not a relationship based on equality. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. In addition, due to my status as a person who has, for most of my life, earned the right to be called “Dr. Pigott,” it should be obvious to most vendors I am not quite the average Joe. Recent experiences, however, have proven that some vendors are unable or unwilling to perceive themselves as vendors, leading them to engage in self aggrandizing behavior, including disparaging me and treating me in a highly disrespectful manner. There is nothing wrong with being a vendor who is providing a service someone else needs. But, when the vendor comes to believe that, merely because he (or she) is providing a valuable service, he has become my partner, my colleague, or my friend, leading him to refuse to perform the job I need to have performed, there will be dire consequences indeed. When my clients say, “jump,” I say “yes, boss, how high?” All I ask is to be treated the same when I am in the client role!