We have two ears and one mouth but we rarely use them in that proportion. We are so anxious to tell our story or give our perspective, we don't stop to LISTEN to our suppliers, customers or partners.
I read this article from Smartblog on Leadership titled: Explore the benefits of customer and supplier partnerships.
It gives a few examples of suppliers and customers worked together to benefit both organizations. They started by listening to each other's perspective and asking each other the following questions:
- What do you really need from me?
- What do you do with what I provide you?
- Are there gaps between what I give you and what you need?
- What problems might I help you with?
- Am I providing things you don’t need?
This type of listening and exploring with strategic customers/suppliers can produce significant positive results right to the bottom line.
So who has time for all this? We have to take care of all the email, phone calls and meetings on the calendar? How do we carve out the time and focus to do something like this? Will it be effective if we take small steps and at least begin the process?
The authors of this article, George H. Labovitz and Victor Rosansky, have a business process to support this and have written a book, Rapid Realignment. Based on some of the highlighted case studies, it certainly seems like a resource to explore.
Has anyone utilized this approach? What type of results did you see and what would you suggest?