In the world of product design, your goal as the designer is to make the product easy to understand and use. People will get frustrated, anxious, angry and just leave it if it’s not easy to use. Similarly, organizations have to be designed to be to be easy to work with for employees, customers, partners and providers. Of course, most aren’t.
Nobody likes to work with people or organizations that are hard to work with
Every business in any industry has providers that are hard to work with which make business not much fun and leads to business challenges. It’s something everyone deals with, some just take it as a given and don’t expect any better. As a consultant, I actively think about how I can make it easier for clients to work with me; pandemic and all.
I take great pride in being easy to work with because it immediately creates the expectation that challenges will be dealt with if they come up; or there simply won’t be any and it will be smooth sailing.
With that said, I’m consulting for a company in the textile industry to help them solve various challenges (strategy and alignment, and customer service). On a recent visit I sat in a meeting with their largest client, who wants to give them more of their business.
In conversations I had with their leadership team, they let me know that their largest client was also their most easy to work with because they are organized and have follow through. This was surprising to hear, because one thing I’ve learned about working with clients in the textile industry is how unprofessional most of them are; they’re set in their ways and are not actively listeting to others.
This makes it very difficult to work with, and it creates problems in delays and other issues. They don’t see what the other sees and instead of removing obstacles, they don’t even know they create obstacles.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised during the meeting because the Director asked my client: what can we do to make it easier to work with us?
My ears perked up and my eyes got bigger when I heard her ask that question. Who actively thinks about how to make it easier to work with? Who makes a concerted effort to listen more instead of just wanting to be listened to?
In all my years of doing business, this is very rare!
And that’s not all! Because they knew my client works with such and such brands, they know their requirements, they suggested they could do the same to make it even more easier to work with them!
5 Ways to Make Your Organization Easier To Work With
What can you do to make your organization easier to work with? While practices differ in every industry, this is what works for me:
- Organization and planning. Are you organized? Do you have your ducks in order? Do you have systems in place that will enable you to be more accurate and efficiente? Are you thinking ahead? Are you anticipating things that might go wrong and how you could avoid them?
- Communicate and coordinate early and often. Most of the time, many areas of the organization are involved in activities; communicate and coordinate with them. Most problems start because of lack of communication and coordination; don’t be that company.
- Follow through. Do what you said you would do in the time you said you would do it.
- Follow up. Stay on top of things and don’t wait for a response. Remember, it’s not about being pushy, but of being productive.
- Revise and improve. Take the time to revise and review your communication, and how you could further improve it.
Whether its sending supplies on time, paying on time, asking if they have everything they need to get the work done on time, your relationship with your provider will get stronger if you’re easy to work with. Even better, are actively thinking about ways to make it even more easier.
Ask yourself: how are we making it harder for our providers to work with us? What obstacles have we created that make us hard to work with? And, how might we make it easier to work with us?