An incident with one of our business suppliers reminded me again that I shouldn’t be complacent with anything.
I wasn’t like this 10 years ago. I gave my loyalty to a supplier and I accommodated their requests to the best of my ability. And then business being business, policies changed. Management changed. The economic landscape changed. They were still honorable to deal with but I was hurt at some of their actions. Objectively speaking though, they were just doing their job.
My mentor chided me, there is no place for loyalty in business. You can give it if you want to but do not expect it. Friendship likewise is fleeting. Business is about getting a good deal and finding the company you can do business with fairly and honorably.
I was resistant to his views at first. I was naïve, I believed in friendship beyond business. But after a decade or so, I now no longer stress myself out when suppliers’ policies are in conflict with ours. I used to laugh when an executive in a supply company replied to my friend G who reminded the executive that the friendship between G and the supply company went a long way back; Executive told him “We are not friends, we are business partners”. I used to laugh at that insulting reply. But now that I think about it, they really are not my friends. I should just treat them as business partners.
This afternoon, I didn’t get mad when they required additional surety before they would ship our orders. I simply realized that we had to find other suppliers in order to have more options. It was time to open up the horizons. I had come to rely on this particular supplier for quite some time. They treated us well in the past decade after a rough patch in the 90s. I realized that what is there to guarantee that the next decade will not see a change of attitude and relationships again?
Don’t be mad, their coordinator beseeches me. I’m not mad, I tell him. Just a bit exasperated that I have to put in extra work building up new relationships with other suppliers. In fact I told him, in a way I am glad this happened. I can not be complacent. I can not be static. We have to adapt with the situations on hand.
I am reminded. I can not be complacent. Not in business. Not in love. And certainly not in life.