Handling unprofessional vendors is very similar to handling your kids. On a typical day, this is how the conversation between me and my kids go:
Child: Mama, I want to have a Yogurt now.
Mom: No, but it is almost lunch time. How about you have it after you have finished your complete lunch nicely.
Child: Nooo! But I want it right now.
Mom: But you know the rules; we don’t eat snacks before lunch. It will spoil our appetite for lunch.
Child: Nooooooo!!!!! You never listen to me!! You don’t even love me!!!!!
Mom (hands crossed, trying to hold back the rising frustration, taking deep breaths and waiting for the outbreak to subside)
Child (after two minutes of screaming and wailing): Please Mom!
Mom: Finish your lunch quickly! I am keeping your Yogurt out on the table, just for you. See you have your favorite curry in lunch.
On a typical day, this is how my conversation goes with some of my vendors:
Vendor: Please release my payment urgently. I am in need of funds.
Director, KINDUZ: I understand your situation, but you are yet to complete your deliverable. As per the agreement, we cannot release the payment till you deliver it and KINDUZ has reviewed it and signed off on it.
Vendor: Noooo you cannot do this! The agreement is not above the trust that we have with each other. I have been working with you for so long. I have supported you in good times and bad times. How can you hold my payment!!
Director, KINDUZ: I am not holding your payment. We will process it as soon as we have received the deliverable.
Vendor: Noooooooooo! You are cheating me! You promised me you will release my payments on time.
Director, KINDUZ (Exasperated, Feeling like switching off my phone, and email and ears and eyes to this world; waiting for this wave to pass by)
Vendor (after couple of irrational mails, phone calls and messages): Ok, I agree to complete my deliverable quickly. Please release my payment thereafter.
Director, KINDUZ: Absolutely! You have my word on it! As soon as we have it signed off! Look forward to the deliverable!
I feel blessed to have children who are assertive! Children are supposed to be like that. However, for some unknown reason, I don’t feel as blessed when working with vendors who behave like children. I don’t think vendors are supposed to be like that!
As a mom, I can still break the rules, once in a while. Take a break; skip the lunch; eat yogurt for lunch, dinner and breakfast. But I am not a Mom for my vendors. When leading an organization, I cannot break the contractual rules. I can lend money as a friend, but I cannot advance payments for deliverables that have not been delivered.
I hope they understand! It is nothing personal! It is all a part of business!!