Every colleague, team, company is part of an ecosystem. In a web of customer-supplier relationships. Receive something. Add value to it. Pass it along. It is an approach shared by both customer and supplier. What’s the American approach?
Consult vs. Serve
Americans do not make as clear a distinction between serving and consulting. They go hand-in-hand. Two sides of the same coin. Consulting is always a service to the customer.
Serving should always include bringing into play ones subject matter expertise. However, an American consultant, supplier, vendor, seldom sees themselves at eye-level with the customer. The customer is in charge.
Collaboration in the American business context is defined first und foremostly by the customer. Customers not only define what they want, but also to a significant extent how they want it.
Collaboration means a high level of client input in the how. Customer requests are understood by both parties not so much as open topics to be discussed by equal parters, but as orders formulated and issued by the customer.
The American customer expects the supplier of a product or a service to complete a specific job. This task is defined by the customer. The customer, in other words, orders a product or service.
The customer expects the supplier to orient himself fully towards her individual needs and to respond as quickly as possible. At the same time, the supplier is expected to adapt to any change in scope of the task.