I have spent my entire career in consulting, working with other consultants and service providers. So I have had a lot of experience in working with not only some outstanding individuals and teams, but also some who have unfortunately not met my expectations or delivered outcomes that were critical to successful projects.
What I have noticed is that there are too many individuals and companies out there who are too eager to get the next sale through the door. They talk a good game; convince you they have the experience, the expertise and the team behind them to deliver the service or project that you require. This is great if you do have the experience, expertise and team behind you to deliver this. But if you are committing to a project that falls outside your area of expertise and capability, then you really should question whether or not this project is for you.
There are always going to be hurdles along the way and you expect to build a relationship and work together to resolve them. This is part of the journey of that project and why you outsourced the project in the first place. The problem with taking on a project and over committing is that whilst this all sounds great to everyone at the commencement of the project, it doesn’t take long before cracks begin to appear. The client starts to question the service provider’s knowledge, experience and ability to reach the desired outcome not to mention that trust erodes to the point where you start to question all aspects of a service provider’s work.
If you are a service provider who is honest, open and communicates with your client around what you know you can deliver, and what you are a little unsure about upfront, this changes the game completely. I personally enjoy working on projects like these as you are both learning and improving together and you feel a real sense of pride and achievement when you finally reach that goal.
But what really disappoints me is when service providers over sell their ability and commit to something they can’t deliver and they aren’t open and honest about where they are at. At the time they may think that they can take short cuts, give a vague response and that everything will turn out ok. But over time, these cracks will widen and your client will realise that you couldn’t deliver what you said you would and that you didn’t meet their expectations.
So if you are a service provider, make sure you stick to your knitting and what you are good at. You know your expertise and you know where and how you can deliver outstanding value to your clients. Don’t compromise your brand and reputation and claim you can do everything. Trust is a wonderful thing that so many relationships are built on. However, if you break this trust it can be very difficult to come back from this as it takes years to build trust but one bad project or thread to unravel your reputation.