Daily Thoughts, March 27, 2011
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We are struggling with one of our vendors.  It is an important relationship that is not working as well as we expected or hoped.  Over the past year, we have meet, had workshops, and held reviews.  The meetings have ranged from complementary to collegial to near adversarial.  As we evaluated our actions and the outcomes, it is clear that in the context of whatever improvements have been made, there is much more that could and should be different.

As we discussed our options, someone suggested that we should look at the situation from the vendor’s perspective.  It only for greater understanding, we all agreed and the discussion took on a new kind of energy.  As we struggled through the various plausible explanations, the one that we kept coming back to was conflicts.  Conflicting demands were demanding the vendor’s attention.  This demand was taking the staff away from our needs to others.  There were a variety of demands and sources, yet the logic behind the observation was compelling.

We acknowledged that there were other factors.  Systems and processes could be improved.  Capabilities could be expanded.  As we went through all the others contributors, we kept coming back to the fact that unless the vendor’s response to competing demands changed, nothing would be different.

Being candid about this presents a problem.  The solution is out of our control.  We can help, but we cannot do all the work.  It takes two.

I walked away realizing that our analysis applies to my life.  Life and simplicity are not enemies.  They can come together.  I know that I miss or ignore this reality. A writer observed that “when you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.  Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention.”  (1 Corinthians 7.33)  Life can be demanding.  Yet simplicity can shape one’s priorities.  One can accept one’s limitations.  The rest will follow.  The process will not always be easy.  It will open opportunities.

March 26, 2011
March 28, 2011