USE THE FORCE
If you follow our blog, then you already know I am a child of the 80s, which naturally means that Star Wars was a part of my youth. I’ll never forget seeing it on the big screen for the first time. I was enamored by the spaceships, the light sabers, the stormtroopers and the droids they were looking for. I think Han Solo was my first official crush (only later to be replaced by Indiana Jones. I mean, obviously.) I dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween, including the buns. I even wrote lyrics to the Star Wars theme song. (One day, I swear they will be published, but until then…I will stick to writing here.) Which brings me to my next point, a blog inspired by Star Wars! Ok, not that surprising, but what might surprise you is that there is actually a lot for us to glean from the story of Luke versus the Dark Side. After all, we’re living in a story of our own each and every day. And that story has a hero. I bet you didn’t know that the hero is you.
Like every great hero, you have problems to solve. And villains to slay. Sounds pretty dramatic, right? But if you stop and look at your day to day, you’ll likely find there’s drama there to spare and that some days it feels like the villains are everywhere. Some of you in property management might be thinking of that one particular tenant who’s the villain (I know I have!). Or a challenging owner or boss might come to mind. But the villain doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual person. It could be time management or distractions. It could be lack of knowledge or resources. Whatever the problem is, you may find yourself reaching out to a supporting character, such as a vendor, to help you solve it.
But this is where the story often takes a disturbing turn. Your vendor enters stage left, draws his sword, err, light saber, and promises to save the day with all of his many solutions that will solve all of your many problems. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, only if the story is about the vendor. But it isn’t. It’s about our hero, it’s about you. You need to partner with a vendor that understands the role he’s playing. If you are going to be Luke Skywalker, then you’re going to need Obi-Wan and not Uncle Owen. Uncle Owen may have had knowledge, experience and some perception, but he only wanted to tell Luke what to do in order for Luke to achieve his vision of Luke’s success. The vendor you seek should be prepared to be your guide, leading you toward your version of success.
The essence of a good vendor/client relationship lies in the support that vendor gives to the client, so that the client can shine, not the vendor. Vendors are here so that you can be the hero, not the other way around. After all, remember we are in a story here. And there’s only room for one hero in every story. Vendors are here to offer a plan of attack based on their experience and expertise, to help you to avoid failure and ultimately drive you to success. A good vendor will work behind the scenes, making sure that you are being guided every step of the way. They will bring a fresh set of eyes and can sense “a great disturbance in the Force”, then tell you what to do next. The value in their experience comes from their ability to see through a different lens to identify threats or weaknesses. They’ll safeguard you and deliver you safely to the finish line, where, like Luke Skywalker, you will claim your medal.
The objective of the guide is never to take the credit. You know that scene at the end of Star Wars when Princess Leia is handing out those medals? You’ll notice Obi-Wan wasn’t there. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not because he’s dead. He’s a force ghost, he could have been there. It was because he didn’t need to be. His work was done once Luke listened to him, switched off his targeting computer, took a deep breath, and used the Force to destroy the Death Star. Success punctuated with a loud boom! We know that Obi-Wan played a critical role. If it hadn’t been for him, poor Luke might have ended up like Porkins (you know the one). But Obi-Wan didn’t do it for the accolades. He did it to help Luke fulfill his mission. My father always told me there’s no limit to what you can achieve if you aren’t worried about who gets the credit. I like to think that this is Obi-Wan’s mantra too and I think it is one that every vendor should learn to live by. Someone should tell Darth Vader.
-Laura DeRousse | Founder & President