In the ideal world, all your partners are like-minded, eager to deliver and happy to see you trive. In real life, this is not always the case though. The closer you get to the top, the higher standards you will have for your partners and the more likely you will be disappointed in the level of potential partners in any given industry.
I had my own share of troubles in the past and it got me very frustrated. Especially the first few times it happened, I just couldn’t believe it. I was working with trusted parties with good recommendations. I had high but realistic expectations, I treated my new partners respectfully and I took care of my part of the project. Many times, we got off to a good start, but at some point they began to fail to deliver. They were missing deadlines and their work was incomplete, sometimes even incorrect.
‘The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.’ — Dale Carnegie
So how did I deal with it? I followed the advice of Mister Carnegie and made sure to be friendly in the beginning. Instead of saying: ‘Why the hell didn’t you finish last week’, I politely tried: ‘I understand you have many projects to take care of and the workload is huge, is there any way I can help you finish the work and can you tell me what is a realistic new deadline, so that I can inform my client?’ I really approached it positively, giving them the benefit of the doubt. And instead of mailing my message, I picked up the phone, as research shows this is the more influential way of the two. But more often than not, they would still let me down.
I really couldn’t understand it. At first, I looked at myself. Were my expectations too high? Did I fail to communicate my wishes in the right way? Was there any chance my behavior caused negative feelings? But objectively speaking, this was not the case.
It got me thinking about the world of business. How could this organization still exist? Is this really the best there is?
Next, I would check if I could deal with the situation by making a bold decision. Can I do this work myself? Can I find a partner abroad? Can I skip it altogether and make up for it another way?
In some cases, their would be an alternative. But many times, the sad but best thing to do was to keep working with the underdelivering partner. You should never settle for less, but you cannot always and everywhere challenge the status quo. You have to pick your battles wisely. In some cases, you should just accept that this is the best there is.Treat them worthy but always be on the outlook of something better.
Consider you are selling clothes online. And the best distributor in town is below your standards. You don’t have time to deliver the orders yourself and besides, this would cost you more than you would earn. So what do you do? If you want to stay in business, you have to make the most of working with the undelivering partner. Make the most of it but don’t force things. Instead, focus on the partners that do deliver. Because when you do well, most of them do too.