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When Your Bosses Dictate Vendor Selection, by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM

Corporate executives sometimes direct project/facility managers to hire their friends for important contracts when it may not be in the best interest of the company. Unfortunately, these "friends" usually charge more money and are less qualified than other candidates, and can be marginal performers who do not respond well to your direction. When this occurs, you have 2 choices - make the best of it, or refuse and lose a few rungs on the corporate ladder.

Occasionally executives do listen to reason. A good start is to discuss your concerns with the executive, but use plenty of facts to support your case, such as a comparison spreadsheet showing each candidate and their rankings for selection criteria. To negotiate the best terms with the executive's vendor, involve the executive in the process - make him or her YOUR partner in negotiations and problem solving, or the vendor will make YOU look like the problem. Educate the executive with historic contract data, alternate proposals, industry benchmarking or independent estimators or consultants. If the vendor knows you have the executive's confidence, you are likely to get favorable terms, cooperation and a good product.

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