A little patience

Work, love it, hate it, it's something that we all have to do to survive.

Transitioning from a one company to the next is always tough. But one thing remains the same. The work. We will always have weird clients, we will always have overzealous consultants and we will always have people who are far more competent or smarter than we are. Making this transition work and working with people with so many different work styles is something that I am finding a bit of a challenge at times.

While I came from a company that instilled a lot of processes and may be a bit to rigid for their own good, the current company is a place where the consultants have a lot more autonomy over what they do and how they counsel the client. It is heartening to see that consultants here have the room to move and grow but what could be improved is the way that things are done. Its all good to be passionate about the work but as a consultant, at times, you have to be strong enough to stand up to the client when they are being unreasonable. Challenges have to be highlighted and outlined before a solution can be proposed.

I'm not saying that you should say no to the client all the time but there are times when the clients have unreasonable expectations. In managing those, you have to outline the pros and cons. Maybe the client does not want to hear the bad stuff but how would you show them the solution without showing them where the  problem lies? Glossing over things can only take you so far.

Me, I'm still finding a way to straddle this. It is bloody trying on the patience but its something that everyone has to learn and adapt to. While I used to be more gung-ho about my approach to work, it has become more and more important to think things through first before making any recommendations. When I was younger, I used to be the idiot who jumped first but over the years, thinking through has saved both me and the client a lot of grief. With some clients, you also build a sense of trust and respect. However, sometimes that backfires too because you also have some clients who think that you presenting the best approach is too aggressive. Dear client, if you are looking for a yes-man, those people are already working for you. I am your consultant - here to show you the pros and cons before giving you my recommendation. That's why you are paying me. And no, I am not a spin doctor, if you think that, you have been watching too much TV shows.

The wrong TV shows.

And while you can always position things in a way that pleases the client, what happens if you don't show them the potholes? How the hell will they cope when things go bad? It's a tough climb to show clients the way things should work and in doing that, to change their mindset but what is tougher is reining yourself in. Yes, you should propose the best solutions but not every single solution under the sun. That is definitely not the smartest approach.

In finding my way, I'm calling on all the patience and experience that I have. I am also learning to use my adaptability more. Yes, I do have a sense of humor about a lot of things and that has saved me a lot of grief but you have no idea how much restraint it takes not to snap at people (be it clients, colleagues or friends) when you can clearly see that they are being idiots. My smile hides a lot but it doesn't mean that I do not see what is happening, I just know when to pick my battles.

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P
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