Saturday, June 5, 2010

Someone Else Who Gets It

I write often on the importance of working strategically and through partnerships with vendors. HBR (Harvard Business Review) posted a great piece from Tony Hsieh, the CEO of, that made me stand up and cheer. Zappos sees it the same way as HTG does. Vendors are not the enemy and need to be treated like our best friends – as partners we cannot live without – as keys to our success – as critical components to a winning strategy. This article entitled “A Lesson From Zappos – Follow the Golden Rule” really hits the key points and says it better than I – so take the time to go and read this in full.

I do want to call out a few key statements in this article:

  • Ultimately, each party is out for the same thing: to take care of the customers, grow the business, and be profitable.

  • We found it much easier to create alliances when partners aligned themselves to the same vision and committed to accountability

  • It all begins with the Golden Rule: Treat others as you'd like to be treated

  • We realize the importance of communication, and if our partners are trying to reach us, we need to be responsive

  • If we created true transparency in our business, not only would they help us, they'd benefit as well

  • Negotiations at Zappos are a bit different as well. Instead of pounding vendors, we collaborate

  • We know there’s no way we could’ve achieved our success as a company without our vendor’s commitment and passion, so every year, we like to show a little gratitude

  • All of this is because of the trust we’ve built….we respect and value our relationships

I could not have written this article any more clearly than Mr. Hsieh has done it. We truly grow and succeed based on how well we are able to build and maintain and nurture our relationships. We want to focus on the customer, but I am here to scream that there are equally important relationships with our vendors and distribution partners. And the sooner you learn that – the sooner you will start to truly grow and succeed. If you don’t get it – as the article states – you will like find the “death spiral” most retailers find.
Relationships matter; and few are as important as those you build with your key vendors. Get them right, invest in them wisely, and they will take you far. Fail here and you can start planning for your next job!

1 comment:

Christy Sacco said...

Outstanding article!! A must read for everyone in the industry.