Shell\u2019s Ecosystem Guiding Principles mandate how its 11 core vendors should treat Shell and each other. To mitigate competition between suppliers\u2014on Shell territory, at least\u2014CIO Alan Matula has banned most salesmen from his offices and demands Shell and vendor staff respect the culture and heritage of each other\u2019s companies.\n \n Other rules of engagement include:\n \nSenior executives must set a positive example for everyone else, in part by actively advocating for the ecosystem relationships.\nStaff must work to solve problems at the lowest level possible, using escalation as a last resort.\nVendors must understand that although Shell wants to concentrate IT spending on ecosystem members, there are no guarantees of contract awards.\nInformation gained through the ecosystem should not be used to win additional business at the expense of another member.\nVendors should respect the intellectual property of other members and consider it confidential by default.\nAll participants must do 360-degree reviews of each other and Shell.\n\n Managing vendors by building relationships, rather than pushing and pulling on contract terms, gets Matula early access to strategic technology, he says, and promotes collaboration among IT suppliers on Shell\u2019s behalf. But to build the trust and discipline needed takes time, he admits. The first time he met with all 11 vendors, no one wanted to interact. \u201cSilence,\u201d he says. But clear and enforced standards for behavior, over the course of 12 to 18 months, helped the vendors get comfortable working this way. \u201cThere are lots of people who want to mimic what we do but haven\u2019t gone through the journey.\n Follow Senior Editor Kim S. Nash on Twitter: @knash99.