What I Think: Be Careful Who You Sleep With

A harmonious working environment, and progress to prosperity in your organization requires that we must all work together…

It’s my fault… totally my fault. And I am… well, let’s just say a bit miffed about it. I know that being annoyed is not going to get me anywhere—it won’t serve me well at all. But the horrible truth is, I know better.

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Two years ago we hired a technology company known for a comprehensive customized, Internet based software system that they had developed. We were excited about this specialized CMS/CRM (Content Management System and Contact Relationship Management), and other publishers had also signed up for it and they liked this system, too.

I was totally “wowed” into believing that, let’s call them Company X, could develop a fabulous web site for us—one that could easily manage our vast amount of content, and our growing subscriber base.

Many members of the YW team were involved in several meetings with Company X. We watched in awe as they moved through their robust system with grace and ease. This sleek, smooth, highly powered, dynamic system was how I imagined driving a Ferrari would be. I was captivated. At the time, our interest in changing our existing way of doing business was because we wanted to serve our customers better. Web 2.0 had arrived and we were ready to jump onboard. We wanted to provide more content, in a more interactive way, with more points of service to our subscribers. When we mentioned our goal, and shared our working style and culture with this new potential vendor, they said they understood.

This is where I bombed…. I didn’t check out their goals, beliefs and culture. And you know what? They are different than ours—big time.

In the beginning we were in love. As long as we were developing new systems and doing the technology stuff, life was good. Company X soared in the arena of bits and bytes.

We were paying a monthly fee for service, and with a customized system you definitely require service. We needed to get information out of our new Ferrari to be able to fully service our customers. That’s when the bed sheets started to smell.

I am flailing myself because we write great articles about the importance of “fit”—hiring the right people to fulfill organizational objectives and who match culture; people who will prosper in the workplace environment that you have created. And it does not end there because relationships with your suppliers are no different. A harmonious working environment, and true progress to prosperity in your organization requires that we must all work together and be pulling in the same direction.

Knowing something, however, does not make us impervious to mistakes. We must be vigilant about knowing what we want, and mindful about selecting the right pieces of the puzzle to make the perfect picture.

Our new vendor took two months to respond to a query. It was their norm. Clearly they don’t have a culture of customer service. As a matter of fact, to them, customers get in the way of their ability to develop technology.

So, if our customers are important to us and we have a “respond within 24-hour” policy, and Company X who is responsible for helping us get this information does not, how does this remarkable difference get resolved?

I got so excited with the bells and whistles that I forgot about the “fit” of Company X. Here we were, two prospering companies functioning on two different wavelengths. They might be a brilliant company full of terrific IT talent, and they will be a perfect fit for a different customer, but they could not give us what we needed.

I allowed our team to get distracted, to lose sight of that which we know is important. This past two years will eventually be a mere blip in the company’s history annals; a terrific lesson learned.

We were not meant to play together; a bad hire occurred. The honeymoon period is over, and we’re getting a divorce–gratefully an amenable one.

Thank goodness there are no children involved!

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Vera Asanin

Written By

Vera Asanin is award-winning and the Editor-in-Chief for Your Workplace. She is a published author of hundreds of articles, and a professional speaker at international events. Vera is inspiring and passionate, and she’s also on a mission to make work better.

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