Evans Incorporated

Customer Engagement and Healthy Collaboration

by Bob Etris, PMP

In a previous post, we talked at length about how to manage the competing requirements of what the customer wants, what the problem demands, and what the organization can sustain.  Today, I’d like to discuss more about how to create and sustain the level of engagement with clients that can create this level of awareness.  It may seem obvious, and certainly should be the goal of all consultants, but in many cases our experience at Evans has been that clients are surprised by our approach to engaging both with them and their workforce.  Why is this the case?

At Evans, we are big fans of Patrick Lencioni.  In his most recent book ‘Getting Naked’, he explores the parable of a consultant of sorts responsible for the integration of a new team into his organization.  Through this process, he is exposed to a radically different way of doing business than what he’s familiar with.  These tenets – transparency, vulnerability, collaboration, and honor, among others – are the very same values we use at Evans to create deep and lasting customer engagement.  Here are some of the ways we do this that you may find useful in your organization as well:

–          We believe it is people, not systems, who achieve great outcomes.  People are what create innovation, build cultures, produce results, and drive the bottom-line.  We approach our work with this very tenet in mind – people are more effective when there is trust, respect, accountability, and a sense of partnership in the relationship.

–          We take credit for the innovations and methods that are our own, but use (and acknowledge) the work of others where appropriate.  Be it industry standards, best-practices from other projects, suggestions or ideas from the client’s own team, or some other source – we are clear about the ‘owner’ of the solution. This helps us to ensure recognition is given where it is due and that the client understands we don’t represent ourselves to be the authors or creators of all the answers they need.

–          We are committed to forming honorable relationships with not just our clients, but our employees, our partners, and the community.  This means seeking the distinction for having a trusted, reputable name through demonstrated principles of integrity, dignity, and principled character.  When a client views you in this way, he or she is far more likely to ‘let you in’ to really see and understand what they are struggling with.

Are there examples of where you’ve seen this work or fail?  Are you too a Lencioni fan?  If so let us know your thoughts!

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