You are pushing client boundaries when you present and spearhead updated or new ideas, concepts, tools, and technologies. Often, your efforts do not result in accolades from that client. Far too frequently, clients view your efforts as contrarian. Why is that?
First, your innovations move them one millimeter beyond what is known and comfortable. Next, adapting and adopting your offerings challenges them. Thus, rather than accepting that challenge to take actionable steps, they write you off. They decide the goal of your conversations really is a challenge of their authority. In their minds, all you really want to do is butt heads with them.
From your own perspective, as a professional of worth, your goal is to provide relevant and valuable insights to get them to where they really need to go, today and tomorrow. So why the communication and conceptual disconnect, repeated over and over across your clients? After all, how many of you get up each day ready to butt heads with clients? (If you do, you and I should discuss. 😉)
Interestingly, how many of you eventually “hear” from a colleague that your now-former client admits to that colleague that your strategies were sound? That former client acknowledges they were short-sighted, over the long haul. You were not interested in challenging their authority. Rather, you wanted to position them uniquely and competitively, future-forward. Unfortunately, it is their loss as well as yours. Sigh.
Consider that the impact of pushing client boundaries extends beyond specific ideas, concepts, tools or technologies.
Regardless of whether you are in sales, marketing, project management or human resources, you have roles in creating and implementing new, strategic initiatives for your business. Like a human genome, these initiatives do not just affect change in a single, specific area or part of the corporate body.
For starters, everyone is connected to everyone else in organizations, whether they realize it or not, regardless of company size. There are interdependencies which many employees really do not understand, because their cultures do not encourage wall-to-wall collaboration.
However, how many times have you sold, rolled out, and implemented a new initiative only to be met with a wall of employee resistance? Alternately, how frequently do your new initiatives crash and burn and fail, shortly after launch, due to lack of training, adoption, and consistent compliance?
When you push client boundaries with what is new, next, and changing, you run headlong into corporate culture. If you are not willing to market, sell, project manage, or HR resource to all of those interconnections, then you not only butt heads with the decision makers. You butt heads with every employee in that organization. Think about it.
Even if you feel you are playing it safe and comfortable, selling a status quo solution, you cannot avoid intersecting with employee interrelationships and interdependences. So, please, go forth and continue to push those client boundaries with what is new, next, and continuously changing. However, consider that you just may need some assistance from me learning how to communicate and collaborate for success. Unless, that is, you prefer to continue butting heads with people.
Catalyzing you to be ahead of what is new, next, and continuously changing. | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Complex Problem Solving | Speaker, Consultant, Mentor |
How do you become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable throughout your career trajectory as the problems you solve become more complex? Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset ™ speaking, consulting, and mentoring programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more innovatively as they create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Regardless of whether you are a traditional thinker or a more creative one, use her 3 Core Questions, 4 Change Agreements, and 5 Professional Whys so everyone gets to where they really need to go, together.
Babette walks her talk so you can walk yours. A speaker, mentor and consultant, Babette leverages her own professional, cross-functional experience in new product development and market research to become your concierge mentor. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association (NSA). Delivered virtually or in-person. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in digital format on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.