Treat Vendors Well
I wrote this article for my staff recently and I think you can easily glean an important trait that can maximize your leadership.
You should certainly have a clear understanding of who our internal and external customers are. We serve in cooperation with one another as “internal customers.” We clearly have external customers consisting primarily of Georgia Baptists but also have affiliates such as associational leaders and other denominational partners. We are blessed to have customers who are like-minded for the most part and are “Christian based.”
However, we have some other customers who may or may not be Baptist and may or may not even be Christians. They are just as important. Who you might ask? They would be our vendors, those who service us with product, resources, repairs, etc. Every week our organization has interaction with vendors providing a variety of products and services that equip us to effectively provide ministry to Georgia Baptists. Just as we treat our “external customers,” specifically Georgia Baptists, with respect and great service, we must likewise do so with our vendors. The way we interact and respond to them is important.
First, we must be reminded that those who are un-churched may be forming opinions about God and faith based on their interactions with us since we are the closest thing to church that they are experiencing. That is enough motivation in and of itself to compel us to take seriously the way we interact with our vendors. Secondly, vendors are our partners, not our adversaries. They deserve to be treated “as any of us would desire to be; as hardworking people doing their best each day.” John G. Miller points out that “treating vendors as valued is not just the right thing to do, but it is one other element that makes an organization outstanding.”
Adapted from Chapter 42 of John. G. Miller’s Outstanding; 47 Ways To Make Your Organization Exceptional