The Five Elements of Healthy Vendor Relationship (plus a bonus!)

I recently moderated a keynote presentation at ACGI’s Knowledge Days in Baltimore. The session, entitled “How to Keep a Healthy Marriage with Your Technology Vendor,” covered the five elements that I believe constitute a good marriage, and will serve you well in relationships with your technology vendors. Those five elements are:

  • You have the other party’s best interest in mind
  • Honesty, openness, and transparency
  • You’re more successful together than apart
  • You have a willingness to forgive
  • Always keep a sense of humor

I wrote more about this here.

After the session, Jimmy Steiner from the American Society of International Law, pointed out to me that I should add one more bullet point to the list: “Your last girlfriend always seems better than she really was.”

I think Jimmy makes a great point. Too often when associations switch systems, staff who had experience with the last system will point out all the ways the last system was “better” than the new one. And very often, certain elements of the last system may actually work better than the new system. But what’s important to keep in mind is all of the other things the last system lacked that the new system fixes.

So remember, along with all the points above, more often than not, your last relationship wasn’t as good as you remember it to be!

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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