As it appeared in the Daily Nation on March 27th, 2018
As a business, how easy is it for your customers, partners and suppliers to work with you? As an individual, how easy is it for your manager, your colleagues, your juniors and everyone else to work with you? I believe that being easy to work with is a choice that we need to make both at the individual and at the corporate level. Some businesses and individuals are incredibly easy to work with. Unfortunately, many others are yet to make this noble choice and are a pain to work with.

In our everyday living, we interact with many businesses and all kinds of people. We interact with our family members, our service providers, colleagues in the office, our customers, business partners and suppliers. How easy is it easy to work with the people that we interact with daily? Take a moment and reflect on the daily interactions. Think about all the people that you work with. How easy is it for them to work with me? How smooth are the interactions? Could it get better?

In my work life, I have interacted with many businesses. Some have been easy to work with while others have made interactions extremely difficult. Those that have been easy to work with have remained approachable and positive, have communicated effectively, kept their processes simple, have been honest in what they do, can be trusted to keep their promises and have consistently done the right thing. On the other hand, those that are difficult to work with have complicated every simple process and beaten around the bush. Their representatives have lied, have been rude and have stayed focused on problems instead of offering solutions.

At the individual level, I have met persons who are easy to work with but I have also interacted with many others who are hard to work with. Sometimes I wonder if some people feel good by just being difficult to work with. Why would someone withhold information or fail to communicate? Why would someone fail to return a missed call or ignore an important message? Why would one fail to make a delivery as promised? Maybe we expect too much. As I have grown wiser, I have learnt not to have too high expectations of those that have consistently demonstrated certain inadequacies, been a let-down or have failed to admit that they could do better. As such, when a person is difficult to work with I simply assume that it is a choice they have made and where I can help, I do.

Whether at the individual or at the corporate level, being easy to do business or to work with needs to be our way of life. As individuals, we need to make the choice to be people that are easy to work with by shifting the focus to ourselves. As smart companies, we need to embed being easy to do business with in the core of who we are, i.e. in our organizational culture. Individuals and businesses that have made the wise choice of being easy to do business are better placed to reap the full benefits of working with and through others.

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy