A recent travel experience in Bali, where persistent street vendors showed me what fear-based selling looks and feels like, helped me see the world from our clients’ perspective. Here’s a travelogue excerpt to tee this up:
“TRANSPORT? GOOD PRICE! MAYBE TOMORROW?”
So goes the headline of an article on the front page of The Washington Post on May 25, 2007. Across the country, business professionals are facing an ever-increasing backlog of emails and throwing up their hands in frustration and overwhelm. The article spotlights Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist, who recently sent a broadcast email to his entire address book saying, “I am so far behind on email that I am declaring bankruptcy … I am starting over.” A December 2006 article in BusinessWeek, hailing a company that has officially declared Friday as a day of rest from email, seems to indicate a trend.
This appeared in BossaNova’s 2006 summer newsletter, and it bears repeating.
“Early and ugly” is what a prized client said he wanted from his consulting firm. “Our very senior client was telling us he didn’t want to wait weeks or months for a polished deliverable; he wanted to be part of the action every step of the way,” reports Wayne Simmons, managing partner of ICOR Partners , a strategic management consulting firm servicing the public sector. “We were happy to hear it because that’s exactly how we like to work,” he added.
I saw Vince Gill in concert recently. First time. I was pretty sure I’d enjoy the music, but I had no idea I’d walk away having learned four indelible lessons from this country music celebrity about being a Trusted Advisor.
The concert was magical. Sure, the music was good (if you like country and I will confess I do). Vince is talented, as is his entourage. But he created something with his band and his audience that turned a good concert into an extraordinary experience of community and connectedness. How? By how he was being: humble, self-deprecating, intimate, vulnerable, and totally transparent.
I’ve had several awkward moments greeting several different clients in the past few months, where the unspoken question for both of us has been, “To hug or not to hug?” The question seems to arise with clients who fall in two categories:
1 – Business friends – these are clients with whom I don’t necessarily socialize outside of work, but with whom I have established a relationship that’s far more than strictly business — a relationship marked by candor, warmth, genuine caring, and the easy exchange of personal as well as business information.
I have always been simultaneously amused and utterly appalled by consultant-speak, particularly when I hear it coming out of my own mouth. You know the buzz words. They’re everywhere, buried inside complex sentences like snakes nestled in the underbrush:
– “The key to success for your organization is to discern how to leverage your assets for maximum return.” (Nowhere in Merriam-Webster is “leverage” a verb).