Alliances: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

Our home improvement project has reached a new stage. The “must do” projects are done and we are now entering the stage of “nice to have” projects. These projects take much more time in preparation, as there is no deadline. One of them is our wish to replace the non-fitting conservatory with a construction in a style that matches the house.

In this process we spoke to a couple of potential providers. Amongst them was a local factory, specialized in building new conservatories and verandas. The company was very helpful in the initial preparation phase. In the very first conversation they made it clear that they work with partners and do not deliver the product to us directly. So they handed our details and our wish-list to their partner.

To my astonishment, this partner company started by explaining what could not be done with the product of the local factory, their partner. Instead, they started to promote their own product, which does not fit our needs. They forgot about the customer in their value proposition. Well actually, they also forgot their partner and with that they clearly violated a basic partnering rule: loyalty to the partnership. Their partner handed them an opportunity, and for whatever reason, they decided to go with their own product. 

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: sooner or later, a lack of loyalty will hurt your partnership.

And what about our project, you might ask? As our conservatory is on the “nice to have” list, we are not in a hurry. It is highly likely that we will look for other solutions to build something that matches our house. 

The company in this example clearly thought of “I” instead of “We”. I can definitely recommend the book “Getting to We” *. The book describes a methodology to develop collaborative relationships with a “we” mindset as a foundation.    


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