Friday, September 17, 2010

Confessions May Not Mean Forgiveness

I heard a top exec from a major manufacturer speak to suppliers a year ago and can still can't forget his speech. I enjoyed listening to him because my company is not a supplier of theirs, so I approached what he said rather clinically.

The exec smiled and confessed that they had not been good to their suppliers in the past, that they had broken promises and cost their suppliers dearly. He continued, "Things are different now. We are committed to being a good partner to our suppliers."

I had mixed emotions about his speech. I think it's admirable for him to bravely confront the past--kudos to him. But, on the other hand, if I were a supplier, I'd be wondering why it's okay for my customer to apologize and expect me to be okay with that. What if my company went out of business or was severely hurt by their actions?

Maybe the exec really was saying, "Look, we've reneged on our promises to you and know it probably hurt you. But, we're not going to do anything but move on--and if you want our business, you'll need to do the same."

I don't think the exec was a bad guy, in fact, he seemed very impressive. The truth of this situation is probably more complicated than "good versus evil." The manufacturer did mess up, but many of the suppliers probably took advantage of the manufacturer over the years, too.

Move on.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond
LaBov Sales Channel
PB&J Newsletter

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