Ever been in one of those conversations where each person is talking AT the other instead of WITH the other? Those “conversations” are more like games of verbal one-upmanship than a true exchange of information.
In your personal life, this is annoying. When it comes to running your business, misunderstanding what a customer wants threatens your livelihood.
When it comes to outsourcing your information technology needs, misunderstandings with you provider court disaster.
As in any good relationship, you need to understand each other. The concrete business document of this is a service level agreement and outlines what each party is responsible for.
However, before you can get to that point, you have to have a managed network services partner who will listen.
When it comes to managed network services, expertise and breadth of knowledge is important too. More than that, a partner without a range of expertise and offerings might not be able to pinpoint what you need and understand when their square peg of a solution doesn’t fit your round hole of a business challenge.
The ability to listen and understand without the accompanying ability to act on that knowledge isn’t going to help your business grow.
Clearly define your business goal.
If you don’t have a clear definition of your expected outcome, you’ll likely experience scope creep and only a loose coupling of technology and meeting those goals.
There are no stupid questions.
Ask questions for clarification for anything you don’t understand.
Ask for clarifying statements.
We’ve all been in meetings where everyone is nodding their head in agreement. We’ve also been in meetings when we know about half of the people don’t completely understand what they’re nodding about. If you have any concerns that your partner doesn’t completely understand your business process and could be going down the wrong technology path; stop them and have them explain to you why they’re suggesting a particular course of action until you are both sure it’s the right way to go.
Smart companies move on from engagements that they aren’t a good match for. I mentioned square pegs and round holes above, be alert for companies trying to shift the definition of your business problem to what they provide as a service or product solution.
In any good relationship, communication is key. And the mutual understanding the open and honest communication brings is good for everyone.
If you’d like to talk about your square hole of a business challenge and see if we have a square peg to match, let’s talk.