The dirtiest word in corporate America is…

There is no top ten list in this post. Only one word incenses and assaults my gray matter more than almost any other word or name in the English language. Sure, Ted Nugent is horrible. Yes, Trump is right up there too.  Covered rock and roll. Covered what-ever-the-hell Trump is now. Moist. Yes, that should go as well. Same for all of the truncated words that used to be full words but are not just too complicated for some of us to fully pronounce or text. There is just one more word I’d like to see drop off every list in the business world…VENDOR.

I’ve long believed that the most important tangible thing in life are the relationships you create and keep. There is nothing more comforting than knowing the known and knowing those who know you. The relations you keep help craft and define the future. A solid relationship continually perpetuates mutually beneficial goals and spurs personal improvement. A good relationship is much like finding a unicorn sleeping in a hollow – sun-drenched in a rainbow. A thing of wonder, magic, and beauty. Yes, it’s corny but it is a vision, no?  And come on…unicorns are cool. Although a liger or growler bear may suit just as well.

With a good relationship, or a really great one, you cannot associate a monetary value with it. Placing a value on such a thing is mostly impossible and should be avoided at all costs. Yet, in corporate America that is exactly what has happened. Relationships equal real money. Real returns. And, at times, real heartaches.

Over 60% of the US economy is service based. Manufacturing and producing consumable goods takes the remainder. As service providers, by default, we must commit to a relationship with clients, and other service providers. And it is during our calls, meetings, emails, Skype sessions, and other digital interactions, we are indeed creating relationships.

During our interactions we create mutual bonds of understanding, compassion, and empathy during our communications…building something more than a binding contract between two parties. We create support systems, sounding boards, call-chains, ideas, openness, and collaboration. We attempt all of this in the face of corporations and business that may want us all to pull the company line.

Vendor is the dirtiest word in corporate culture

As such, we use the name vendor when we refer to companies that provide us goods or services that are not delivered or provide from within our own corporate structure. Vendors help us move products globally, manage systems, monetize new digital channels, discover new areas of opportunity, improve workflow, deliver our latest gadgets, drive ROI, and in some situations, stay up all night to make sure the job gets done. Vendors can make the management team complete, the boss look good, and the board members happy.

However, most of the time…vendors are just that. Vendors. Or hucksters, street merchants, sellers, traffickers, hawkers, traders, and peddlers. Yes, we exchange services and good for money but do the majority of us not do much more? We do indeed. As vendors do we not strive to achieve the holy grail of business…the mutually prosperous relationship? Most certainly. Then why the horrid name vendor? It is demeaning, unsettling, repugnant, and certainly displaces the possibility of a healthy relationship. So let’s stop using the term.

Some change agents needed – lets bring back the warm and fuzzy

In order for business to run at its maximum, it requires people. People, by nature, require relationships and societies. We need to create more meaning and context in what we do as it pertains to our lives and livelihood. Why not? It can only better the human experience and erode the commoditization of those who work with and for our company and cause.

Sure, if we can really get this movement going, I believe we will have to make a few changes. We will have to come up with a new name for VMS [vendor management systems] and come up with some new terms to replace the crappiest term of all…VENDOR. But we can certainly do this together if we try. It shouldn’t be that hard. The Searchology team is willing to go first if you would like to build it together.

Alternates for the word vendor

  • Support team
  • Strategic partners
  • Vertically integrated specialists
  • Exterior experts in residence
  • Granite Team
  • Brand Champions
  • Dedicated account personnel
  • Team Wolf
  • Company name is always nice when tied to surname
  • Collaborative consultants
  • Searchologists

Whatever you decide to run with, you will have my full support as long as it’s not vendor.

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