Do You Have Cellphone Syndrome?

FreeImages.com/melanie kuipers

Recently on a morning show on TV the commentator brought up the dangers of texting and driving and mentioned that he often tells his children to go have real, face-to-face conversations. That advice is good for leaders as well.

In this day and age of email, text messaging, Facebook and other social media, we rely more and more heavily on electronic communication. While some of it is very convenient, the ability to communicate effectively and create a social connection is still best by phone, or preferably face to face.

Time pressures often drive executives and managers toward the quick solution of sending an email or text, rather than seeking out the other person for a real conversation. Conversations can be very powerful in revealing the real situation and emotion, which are often lost in electronic messages. Just the act of going to visit a person or place can be very revealing; in my work, I find that if I go and watch the point of work, all kinds of things begin to emerge. Talking to people at the point of work can be especially revealing.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that the beginning of any successful business interaction is based on trust and relationship, which are more difficult to develop electronically. Developing and strengthening the relationship with employees and managers is far more effective with face-to-face communication. Get up and go see people to firmly establish relationship and trust. You may also learn things you never expected.

© 2018 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

 

 

Four Ways to Supercharge Your Communication With Suppliers

FreeImages.com/Loftus Head

Communication with suppliers is a vital element of forming a supplier partnership program, yet many (I would say most), companies don’t establish a solid foundation of communication. Here are four ways to super-charge your communication:

1.  Get together face-to-face. Phone calls and emails don’t establish the depth of relationship that you’ll need for your supplier partnerships to succeed. Face-to-face meetings to discuss expectations, status updates, changes to products, designs, materials, forecasts and other important issues are critical. Meetings should be on-site, alternating between the supplier’s location and yours, especially for your top ten suppliers. Going to the Gemba (point of work) can help clarify your perception of the supplier’s capabilities and help them understand exactly how their product is being used.

2. Organize a Supplier Day. Invite your top 20 – 25 suppliers to an all-day event where your sales leaders present company growth plans and forecasts, your CEO shares the company’s strategy, and the operations and supply chain people present expectations for the year. This gives suppliers a window into your company as well as the opportunity to network with other key suppliers and find opportunities for cooperation.

3. Connect executive sponsors in your organization to their counterparts at the supplier. Establishing these connections adds depth to the relationship, and also allows the executives to contact their counterpart for support in solving any problems that arise.

4. Set metrics to clarify expectations and provide feedback to the supplier on their performance.

All of these tools can help you super-charge your supplier partnerships and get the most out of these important relationships.

© 2018 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Do You Have Cell Phone Syndrome?

Recently on a morning show on TV the commentator brought up the dangers of texting and driving and mentioned that he often tells his children to go have real, face-to-face conversations. That advice is good for leaders as well.

In this day and age of email, text messaging, Facebook and other social media, we rely more and more heavily on electronic communication. While some of it is very convenient, the ability to communicate effectively and create a social connection is still best by phone, or preferably face to face.

Time pressures often drive executives and managers toward the quick solution of sending an email or text, rather than seeking out the other person for a real conversation. Conversations can be very powerful in revealing the real situation and emotion, which are often lost in electronic messages. Just the act of going to visit a person or place can be very revealing; in my work, I find that if I go and watch the point of work, all kinds of things begin to emerge. Talking to people at the point of work can be especially revealing.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that the beginning of any successful business interaction is based on trust and relationship, which are more difficult to develop electronically. Developing and strengthening the relationship with employees and managers is far more effective with face-to-face communication. Get up and go see people to firmly establish relationship and trust. You may also learn things you never expected.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Conceptual Agreement Leads To Successful Partnerships

As I develop relationships with potential clients, I take the time to set the foundation for a relationship by developing trust with the buyer. As we discuss their needs, we aim to reach “conceptual agreement” on the project’s objectives and set measures so we’ll know we’ve achieved them. Conceptual agreement is more than just agreeing to some points; it’s a mutual understanding of the objectives and measures for our partnership in improving conditions for the client’s company.

Partnerships of any kind, whether between companies and suppliers, between departments within a company, with customers or with communities need to be based on trust and conceptual agreement on what the partnership is going to accomplish and how the partners will know it’s done. Paying lip service to the agreement doesn’t work. Clearly understanding the objectives before presenting a proposal makes the goals easier to achieve and the end results much better.

© 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved.

Vendor Managed Inventory – Great for the Supplier Too

In a recent blog post I reviewed the benefits of VMI* to the customer, but there are great benefits for the supplier as well.

  • Develop a close long-term relationship with the customer
  • Become well-established (or even irreplaceable) as a key supplier
  • Increase exposure to additional sales/service opportunities
  • Smooth the flow of materials and revenue

Overall, a well-designed VMI relationship has great value for both parties, which is the hallmark of a partnership.

*Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) is a type of auto replenishment system in which the supplier has access to customer inventory information and is responsible for maintaining the inventory levels required by the customer.

© 2013 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Can You Hear Me Now? Communication in an Electronic Age

In this age of internet technology, it can be tempting to over-rely on email, Facebook, Twitter and other electronic means of communication and neglect to use phone calls or face-to-face meetings. It’s important to communicate in a way that meets the receiver’s needs, but the more personal you can make it, the more effective it will be.

Face-to-face meetings are always the platinum standard of communication. Not only is it much more personal, but body language and other non-verbal cues make it easier to avoid misunderstandings as to intent.

The gold standard is the phone call. A phone call is more personal than an email, and because fewer and fewer people seem to be making phone calls these days, you’ll stand out in the crowd. If having a written record of your conversation is important, you can always follow up with a short email summary.

Email is the silver standard. Some people travel a lot and email makes it more convenient for them to respond as their schedule allows, but beware: both verbal and non-verbal cues are non-existent in emails and people can easily misunderstand your meaning.

The platinum standard always outshines the rest. Face-to-face meetings, especially in professional services or with suppliers, not only help prevent misunderstanding, but also help develop the foundation for a strong relationship.

© 2013 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Cut Your Losses…Literally

Recently I spoke with a pear grower in the Hood River Valley about how he raises his trees. He said that after he plants a tree, it takes about three years of nurturing, growing and pruning before it delivers its first crop. Then it continues to improve until year 10, when it is in full production. A good tree will yield fruit for up to 40 years.

Growers can tell the quality of a tree even before its first year of production by looking at the tree’s structure and buds. If the tree is not commercially viable, they cut it down, or take the top off and graft on a new one. This seems a bit ruthless, especially after investing in the tree in the first place and nurturing it for growth.

As I thought about this, it struck me as very similar to the way smart companies manage their suppliers.

  • Invest in good suppliers (i.e., tree stock) after research and qualification
  • Nurture the relationship with good specifications and help with quality and cost improvements
  • As the supplier gains experience in the parts/services they provide for the company, the relationship flourishes
  • As the supplier moves into long-term production, monitor them closely and measure performance

If they don’t produce after nurturing them carefully, cut your loses and move on. Only suppliers that perform to your expectations should be part of the orchard.

© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved