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being fit for purpose

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  | Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  JHB, SA

May 2020

As an entrepreneur who’s found purpose, it’s exhilarating.

Each day and process brings with it an interesting new part of the journey you look forward to embracing. 

From the moment you meet a prospect and that prospect becomes a client; you forge a relationship that grows stronger at each phase. From the excitement phase when you’ve just begun a project to the trust stage when you’ve built up a solid relationship; and everything in between – purpose is thrilling! BUT, like any good thing, purpose also has a process and that can sometimes be daunting. 

Here is the rollercoaster of feelings and phases we each go through as we move from a prospect to a client to a mutually benificial, long term working relationship – Hold on tight – Here we go!

The Excitement phase

At the onset of a new project, emotions are positive and it could be described as electric.  All parties involved are on the cusp of making a dream a reality and the excitement drives the new relationship.  There’s an energy, a pep in your step and everybody loves one another. 

The Goal Phase

The next stage is the goal phase which is an equally exciting phase but one where the direction is attached to the dream or vision.  Teams are established which consists of people with different strengths and goals for the project are stipulated.  An important aspect that should be relayed by both, is what expectations each has.  Keeping in mind that an uncommunicated expectation that results in a later conflict, is a conflict that could have been previously avoided. This is a good place to table those and set them out from the get-go. It is good to ask yourself, what is normally the misperceptions? Explain them now. What normally gets missed at the end that should have been identified in the beginning? Identify the need-to-have’s and the nice-to-have’s while making clear what you will be implementing based on your budget or quotation. This will save you a lot of disappointment later on. 

The Start-Up phase 

The start-up phase is the time between when the goal has been set out and the first checkpoint or milestone has been reached.  It’s a much need confidence boost and spurs you on to the next goal.  Once you get started and confidence builds, you in turn build momentum.

It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum. … With momentum, you’ll navigate through problems and barely even notice them. – John C Maxwell

The Frustration Phase 

With any project that is started there will come frustration.  It’s the “all goes well until” moment – the moment when reality and expectation meet and the plan is not going as planned.  Your focus may want to deter from the plan but the key should be to hold on to it until things steer in the right direction again.  After all, emotions don’t last forever. This phase generally brings conflict and scrambles the planned sequence of events. Don’t avoid the conflict, work through it so that a new understanding can be reached. Resolved conflict is always good for a deeper understanding. Stick to the plan, proper planning prevents poor performance. 

The Anger phase  

Sometimes, not all of the time it actually reaches the ANGER stage, where there is a complete misunderstanding between executions and expectations. For example, if at the goal phase when expectations were not clearly communicated, it could very easily become a blown up angry situation.  Maybe your idea of the triangle is a 90 degree right-angle and theirs is an equilateral triangle that has equal sides.  The triangle was communicated but the details of each translate differently, causing friction. A breakthrough is then what is needed in order to move forward.

The Breakthrough phase

A breakthrough is a noun that is defined as a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development. It’s what happens when the understanding, project times, goals and expectation meets up – breakthrough happens and it’s glorious!

The Trust Phase 

Very important is that trust does not start at the signing of the contract it only starts after you have eaten a couple of bags of salt together. In other words, it isn’t always when the ride is sweet and everything is going smoothly; but rather when there have been heads butted and disagreements.  At the end of it though, it can be said for both parties involved that, trust is invaluable.  It was George MacDonald who wrote that,

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved”.

How do you build TRUST?

Break it down like this.

Trust is: Time, Risk, Understanding, Selfless, and Tested. 

Lasting relationships should be at the foundation of repeat business.

The question should then be, how do we build a long-lasting client relationship?

1. Draw from your client and their expertise, by asking more questions in order to make sure you understand each other expectations. Develop the kind of mind that believes that in order to understand, there is never a stupid question. In the same vein, when someone comes to you with a question, be the kind of person who doesn’t cause embarrassment for asking what may seem as a stupid question.

2. Spend time together working on the project so that both you and them can understand the value, time, and expertise that each brings. Not to mention industry knowledge as well. You both carry value but you won’t appreciate that value from afar off.  Instead, be more hands-on and learn something you didn’t know about them, their industry, and the way they conduct themselves.

3. Be willing to be mentored and taught by your client. Mentorship is when more experienced individual guides the lesser experienced individual so that there can be an exchange in knowledge or expertise. It means winning together.

4. Be observant of how they think, behave, and act. Look and listen. When you listen, seek to understand instead of listening to just answer. This is used by psychologists who have to train their ear to listen before jumping to conclusions. When you listen to understand you listen empathetically and objectively allowing you to identify what may not have been saying in order to to find solutions. Learn their needs by watching them and offering better customer experience.

This is the basis of how JDC runs. Building client relationships is our number one priority, but so is building trust. Over and above both of these though is developing a long fruitful working relationship. Clients become family. Not forgetting what we sometimes have to go through in order to get there.

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