Saying yes to a client on the job is always the right response. Isn’t it?
An ever present necessity in the workplace and life in general is working well with others. It is one of the main factors of how our species came to dominate the planet.
But what does that really mean?
Does it mean that one needs to be agreeable and jovial at all times in every interaction? Does it mean becoming besties with everyone? Or does it mean one behaves in an expected manner that exhibits only the ideals of the particular company or group one is interacting with? In whatever flavour you exhibit “working well with others”, it inevitably supports the philosophical idea that perception is reality.
For a consultant, we are told the main performance criterion are the items listed in the client contract and any requested work being performed by an agreed timeline. So keeping ones’ integrity by putting your head down and getting the set work done and ignoring all else occurring around is the answer? Saying yes to every extra from a client just to be amenable and creating a backlog of core work for oneself is the answer?
We have all either done both or either of these scenarios at some point in our lives and know these approaches only go so far and generally end detrimentally for the project and in creating good working relationships. The interactions that occur around the core work are just as important to the success of a project and the creation of a perception as a competent and valuable consultant.
Communication is the key.
What are the extra’s and necessities for probable success? Some of these could be:
- Know the topic you are consulting on – imperative
- Follow procedures – a necessity in pharma
- Find best communication method with client/s – everyone’s preference is different
- Spend adequate time logging and reporting work – managers and clients need to know how the job is tracking
- Take breaks with client staff when appropriate – create a rapport and making friends may be a side benefit.
- Evaluate any extra’s that come up – if a quick analysis in your mind shows the extra is quick then do it and report on it of course. If it is complex or not project relevant then more consideration is needed and agreeing to it can be detrimental to the core work timelines.
An interesting blog on when and how to say yes to client requests was posted five years ago on consultantsmind.com.
Again this blog emphasises the results from how one interacts and agrees or negotiates during a project will affect not only your part of the project but also potential further contracts and of course how you are perceived.
You may believe you are a responsible, astute, proactive, fun and an interesting person with integrity but if no one sees or experiences it, you are left being treated as the perception others come up with.
Perception is reality.
You might also be interested reading Project bites from in the trenches.