Have you and your team ever spent weeks working on a solution that is enthusiastically embraced by your client, but after a few weeks in their halls it becomes watered down or totally unrecognizable?
I’m sure you have. It’s a safe bet that it happens daily somewhere in the world. But why is that?
It’s pretty simple, really. We answer to our client contact. But they don’t have the final decision. Often, they answer to supervisors, management and/or internal clients. Can you say committees? The whole thing quickly becomes an exercise in group decision making.
So looking to take the path of least resistance and appease as many as possible, consensus building becomes the name of the game.
This is where things can go awry, and your thinking and great work can get lost.
In today’s work environment, enthusiasm for even market-changing or award-winning ideas can fade rapidly. So if your client isn’t 100 percent invested, then how hard do you think they will defend it? If they weren’t engaged in the development process, then how likely are they to fight for it? If you didn’t collaborate with them so “Devil’s Advocate” questions can be quickly dispatched and discarded, then how prepared are they to keep pushing it?
The same can be said for presenting ideas in-house to your colleagues and boss.
Instead of leaving it to consensus building and compromise, strive to create champions or advocates for your ideas. Bring everyone into the process, early and often, so they have ownership. Use collaboration so they own it like you do.
In our business, like many others, there is no avoiding the approval chain and hallway polling so you need to make it easier for solutions to be validated and celebrated. If not, you’re leaving the door open for people who need to leave their mark on it. Not necessarily to make it better, but because they see and sense a lack of conviction and commitment to it.
In an election year, we see how waffling hurts politicians, but it’s equally damaging with office politics. It’s our job to not only own it, but to keep the mojo strong for others so mud doesn’t get tossed on the work.