I came upon this article on philly.com about a young student in a Philadelphia Catholic school who has experienced a lot of bullying in her short school career. She decided that she wanted to make a change and began by addressing the issue to President Obama. Quite bold for an 11 year old girl if I do say so. As touching as that is, the President actually wrote back and commented on the issue. Now I don’t believe that the President will be coming to Philadelphia to scold these students anytime soon, but I do think this relates to the supplier relationship in business.

An important element to consider is to not let the supplier run the show or “bully” you. Maintaining your relationships with suppliers means collaborating on efforts that will benefit the client as well as having mutual respect for each other. This idea can be applied in all sorts of settings. For example, have you ever been to a store in which the salespeople work on commission? This can easily turn into a hairy situation for a timid consumer. I once bought a pair of $80 jeans because the saleswoman told me they looked great in them! Ok, so that was definitely poor decision making on my part, but you get the idea.

As a consumer or business consultant you need to ensure that you keep the upper hand or leverage in the situation. Do not allow the supplier to take control and drive the results. If anything it should be a collaborative effort in which both parties work alongside one another to meet the goals of the project. If suppliers get too overbearing, customers may cease to use their services in the future. If customers are too timid, there is no way they will achieve their goals, it takes a certain degree of moxie to maximize savings opportunities.

Well, needless-to-say, this 11 year old student certainly has moxie. She has taken up a crusade to end bullying by encouraging other students to join her in a movement against bullying. She plans to go to different schools and speak out against this type of behavior. I think we can all benefit and learn from this student’s ambitious behavior and nature in general.

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Jennifer Ulrich

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