Rolling Off!

You’ve worked with a client for an extended period of time. New friends have been discovered, new solutions have been learned, experience has been added, unique issues still exist or will continue. How do you leave the client knowing you’ve given your all, but there’s more you could still do?

For a really good consultant, this is a heart issue. On paper, we document, as best we can, the plan to pass on existing issues, train on the unfixable, and recommend on the improvable. This limits our legal liability, but not our emotional liability. We know what we did right and wrong much more than the client. This is the added little piece that we can leave behind in the form of knowledge transfer documents or business process suggestions.

Then we can walk out the door with our heads held high, knowing that a complaint or two may arise, but not from your lack of trying. Take the high ground by giving your all to each client, from your heart.

Face piles of trials with smiles!  It rials them to believe that you perceive the web they weave!  And keep on keeping on!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I came across an article this morning that said Americans take much less holiday than most of the world.  There were comparisons to other countries that amazed me with the difference.  There was even a statistic on how it wasn’t really the best idea for us all to work so much!

So for all of us who slave away in the USA:  Happy Thanksgiving.  I’m grateful for each and every day that we do get and I’m proud of the level of commitment many workers have to do a good job.  Let’s all learn to do things right first and fast second.

Eat too much!

Give just a little bit more
Take a little bit less

Wild Ride!

What a year it’s been!  Have you ever felt that you can do more if just given the chance?  Well that opportunity came my way and I jumped on it.  It has been exhilarating!  You never know what you are capable of until you try.  And I’ve learned that I’m capable of plenty, but I don’t always enjoy it all.

As consultants we carefully take care of our clients, giving them value that is always beyond their ability to comprehend.  They see the day to day activity.  They see the improvements that make things simpler, or the workarounds that provide more detail.  Our clients love that they can ask the tough questions and always get an opinion or an answer that is straight.

But what our clients don’t get is the toll that it takes on us when we provide the correct and honest answer that is then ignored in favor of some ‘better’ answer or process that will only hold them back in the future.  Sometimes ‘our way’ is not the right way even though that is always how you have always done your business.  Your niche in your industry is not so unique that ‘your way’ is the only way.

I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone this past year and have learned incredible things from some great people.  I have learned that the simple is not always that.  No matter how many times a question is asked and documented, expect a revision later on.  No matter what you know and whatever your expertise, keep learning and improving.  Stay humble and you can avoid a lot of frustration with your client.

Face piles of trials with smiles!

Expert – But Not Expert!

Expectations!  How often do we find ourselves at odds with our client’s expectations of our knowledge, or capabilities?  If you’ve been in the industry long enough to form your own practice, you are comfortable with your level of expertise and can offer some very valuable service and value to your clients.  But as is the case in most instances, the client will expect much more of you than the services you have agreed to perform.  After all, you are the expert, and expert has an all-inclusive nuance to it, that both opens doors and gets us into trouble at the same time.

I am a PeopleSoft consultant with a long accounting background, but my expertise is within a limited number of all the modules that are possibly involved in any particular implementation.  Do I know how PeopleSoft works?  Absolutely, in fact, in many cases, my experience will help me move into unfamiliar territory and figure out the software implications long in advance of client needs.  We all should be looking to be comfortable with our area of expertise to be able to answer questions on the fringe of our knowledge.

Clients don’t see us in quite the same light.  We are the guides who take them into uncharted territory.  Each client gives us virtually unlimited confidence that we will lead them to a better future.  Sure, we’ve been interviewed, expressed our limitations, reassured them of our qualifications, provided them with recommendations from our biggest successes, references from our closest colleagues, and given our confidence in handling the task at hand.  But once the work begins, even controlling scope along the way, our ‘expert’ status will lead each of us to the edges of our knowledge.

Consulting is a career that involves non-stop learning and the need to push ourselves to the edge regularly.  We must constantly be honest about our limitations and monitor the expectations of the client. Perception is key!

Ever Wonder Why?

As you  go to work each day, do you find yourself wondering if the client is the right one for you?  No matter who the client is, we find resources that we work well with and others that are a complete quandary.  However, no matter which you’re working with, you formulate a plan to help that particular individual understand the tasks at hand and give them the tools to keep the timeline successful.

We’ve all spent a lot of time learning and perfecting our ability to jump into any situation and move the project to completion.  Sometimes we are working well within our skill sets, and other times we aren’t even close, but on we go, giving it our best shot.

So what’s your motivation to keep doing things that are way out of most people’s comfort zone?  I know darn well that the money is what gets us started, but it takes a lot more than that to continue past the first couple years. After that you’re either in it for life, or actively working on your exit plan.

We really help people and companies to become more efficient.  Every trick we learn at some point is to be passed on to someone else.  Face it, we work very hard to work ourselves out of work with every client.  And yet, we look for another client when we’re done to start the process all over again.  We learn every single day and still feel there’s so much more we  don’t know.  We’re experts who never feel that we’ve reached that state.  More! Better! Faster! Every improvement can be improved upon.  If it isn’t broken, find a way to tinker with it.

Why do you do what you do?  Always have a ready answer because others are inspired by your drive.

I’ve got a dream
And, every night, I said to myself,
Yeah, I said I gotta share it,
Share the dream with somebody else.
We could make a beautiful day,