Out on a limb? Working for difficult clients – Cont’d
I still owe you a response to the question what I ended up doing in the situation described in my previous post.
Recall, the question I posed was, “What experience do you have advising clients which on the one hand asks you to stay on the project but on the other hand boycotts your well-intentioned efforts by every means available?”
The options I faced were the following …
a) walk away from the project,
b) swallow, keep your head down, continue business as usual as long as your bill is being paid,
c) identify new avenues to convince the PM of the value of your best practice approach which is already customized to the client’s special needs,
Your feedback turned out to be a great help. There were two things which convinced me what the right thing to do was and is: (1) It is about integrity and (2) it is about reputation.
(1) It is about integrity:
I was and I am not willing to compromise my integrity. Ever. With respect to my role in quality management this meant that I could not do anything which would jeopardize or contradict the quality standards I helped establish for the project. Furthermore, I think it is false and not acceptable to please your client, for example, by reporting to him only the good things happening in the project while belittling issues and risks.
(2) It is about reputation:
Walking away from a difficult client certainly will affect my reputation as a consultant and coach. The client would remember me as the consultant who left the project 5 minutes till high noon. How wonderful! This is certainly not the reputation I am after. Instead, why run away from a challenge?! The right and professional mature thing to do is to continue working with and for the client solving the issues in the project. If the client threw me out because it did not like what I recommended I can live with this outcome. For, there would be enough people in the client’s organization who knew what was going on in the project. That chance that the client organization may come back to me for future consulting engagements is much greater because people remembered the difficult project situation, the role and behavior of the project manager and my own.
To make a long story short, I think that choice c) identify new avenues to convince the PM of the value of your best practice approach which is already customized to the client’s special needs was and is the best choice.
And this is what I did.