There is an old Russian proverb “trust, but verify.” When it comes to your vendors, talent is verifiable. Morals, less so. Talent alone does not determine success.
We have all seen Jurassic Park. Remember Dennis Nedry?
He had talent but questionable morals. I think trust but verify would be exhausting if I was his boss. Plus, how are we supposed to verify technical work we don’t understand ourselves? Honesty, emotional maturity, and attitude are harder to verify, but equally important when choosing a vendor.
But that stuff only happens in the movies, right?
Recently I was surfing IT websites for ideas and came across the website for a multibillion-dollar corporation and noticed something shocking! What I discovered had been up on every page of their website for months without any one of their 10,000+ employees noticing it. They are not a customer; we do not share our customer information.
Can you see it?
Yes, they have a link to “Modern Slavery” in their menu. I have hidden identifying information because this type of betrayal can happen to anyone. The name of the company is not important. Similar things happen to most companies at some point.
When I saw this, I clicked the link hoping it went to a documentary about Modern Slavery being an issue in their industry and how they do not participate, or something similar. Nope, it went to page that described modern slavery. Bottom navigation, toxic link, multibillion-dollar company, 10,000 employees, and it went unnoticed for months.
I brought it to the marketing director’s attention. He didn’t even hang up with me when he saw his company’s link to Modern Slavery for himself. I could hear him call in his boss and the frantic conversation that ensued. I asked if he thought this would go far up the chain and he said, “right to the President.” It seems a disgruntled past web designer (who still had their passcodes) left them a little present.
As a business owner you would think you should be able to trust your employees and even your volunteers to act professionally. We take the time to hire people with skills, accomplishments, degrees, references and charm. Forward thinking companies also test for things like personality, integrity, and emotional intelligence. If you are like me, you just want someone good that you can trust.
At Mad Science we started a “Jerk-free zone” of partners that we work with that have repeatedly demonstrated proficiency and talent. We know first-hand that they will treat the people we send them like we would treat them ourselves. How an ethical person deals with your challenges is what sets them apart from other talented vendors.