We are currently covering how to have good relationships with those clients with bad habits. Today I want to talk about groups. We all know that old phrase about how a camel is a horse designed by committee.
Too Many Cooks
One of the most common problems with working with any large organization is that with more people come more opinions and inevitably more problems. Generally when you’re dealing with more people the process will be slower, you’re more likely to have extra changes and despite what the group might come up with, if they haven’t had sign off from their manager, then your efforts might be fruitless.
One is the Loneliest Number
The quickest way to deal with this is upfront before the work starts. It’s important to have one single point of contact in that organization responsible for overseeing your project. This doesn’t mean however that behind the scenes, the client isn’t involving everyone including the janitor in their decision making process.
Be strict with these types of clients in terms of time scales and instructions during the feedback process. It’s very important with any large organization to get clear instructions in writing and where possible try and ensure that you get manager sign off. There have been a few occasions where I’ve finished a project only to be told “actually my boss has seen this, and he wants to go in a different direction.”
The Ghost ‘Friends’
Sometimes, and I think generally in a bid to save face a client will come back with a story about how he was talking to ‘a friend’ has had some suggestions or changes. I’m not actually sure if these invisible “friends” actually exists, but they always mean trouble. Where a client knows that they are half way through the process and really shouldn’t change their mind I find they get these sort of suggestions. Often where there’s criticism it tends to come via an invisible friend.
In these types of situation, its important to weigh up whether this is going to be an issue down the line. Always try and stick to your gut and not create extra work, and reassure your client that you were on the right path all along.