A good collaborative supplier relationship is a lot like a marriage. It’s capable of great things but without honest and open communication, is very likely to run off the tracks. When a problem arises in a relationship, choosing not to share this information with your partner contributes more towards that problem than you might realise.
The strategic commercial relationships Vizibl enables its users to create means that informal communication lines are constantly open between partners. Beyond this informal communication, it’s necessary for a successful partnership to be supported by a more formal communication protocol.
Two monologues don’t make a dialogue.
When establishing a formal communication channel, it is critical that both parties agree a cadence for these communications. Setting a standard communication frequency provides a rhythm upon which team members can expect to receive important information and updates regarding the relationship.
This cadence should be developed and agreed by both parties and call strongly on the relationship’s shared vision.
There are no hard and fast rules to follow when creating a communication cadence, the size and complexity of your partnership will determine the makeup and frequency of the communications to your team. But as a guide, strategy owners should be meeting at least quarterly to ensure at a high level the relationship is progressing in the right direction towards the aspirational goals laid out in the Statement of Intent. Transformational circle members typically meet on a monthly basis to discuss joint project execution, while more operational circles should meet anywhere between weekly and daily depending on the complexity and nature of the work that they are carrying out.
Shout about it
A sound communications protocol should include and widely publicise the mechanisms for providing feedback back into the relationship. For a collaborative relationship to flourish this is an absolute necessity. Feedback mechanisms should extend out to notify the people in the relationships whose roles relate to the feedback received and a defined process should be put in place for analysing and acting on this feedback.
The topic of communication in commercial relationships is analysed in much greater detail in our Governance whitepaper. You can download it free from the link below.