Let’s keep it real – working with people is hard. The moment you have more than one person on a task – you introduce miscommunication , assumption , different understanding, and multiple potential outcomes. So when it comes to collaborating – you have to make special effort to do your part to make sure it works.
Today’s little brain dump is about how to have the right attitude so you don’t jack up a situation. So what’s this solutions focus I’m talking about? Here’s an example:
Your client comes to you and says – something you built for them looks wrong. You did exactly as you were asked – but it ultimately isn’t what they want. Now the reason is because the original content that was provided to you has issues.
You have several choices –
1 – Do you remind the client that they gave you bad content so they can also understand they are partly if not completely to blame ?
2 – Do you simply apologize and redo the task ?
3 – Do you walk the client through the process of what happened and then provide them with several options to remedy the situation ?
In my management style – option 3 is what I do every single time – and here’s why:
– By walking them through the process – they will inadvertently see where they were part of the problem. I don’t have to explicitly place blame – they will see it and know I’ve seen it.
– By walking them through the potential solutions I give them a chance to understand the level of effort that has been expended and the level of effort to fix it. In addition – by providing multiple solutions – they feel empowered to be the ones still ‘ leading the course of action’.
– By not starting with ‘ well you did this ‘ I eliminate a starting point for squabbling and finger pointing.
This approach makes sure that everyone stays fixated on creating a solution without worrying about blame. This is a core concept in client management – because problems can quickly devolve into finger pointing. Once that happens it becomes so much harder to resolve a solution.
Now let’s talk about if you’re the client . If your developer / consultant , VA , vendor etc did something wrong. Instead of starting with ‘ You did XYZ’ you can start with – ‘ OK so what are my options? Can it be fixed? What will it take? How can I assist?’
This gives your service provider a chance to walk through the problem, give you insight, acknowledge mistakes in a safe environment, and provide solutions. Which is the whole point – since blame never built anything.
Try to avoid phrases like
I would never
You did this
Why didn’t you just
You should have
You shouldn’t have
Because they lead to defensive responses too.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of any solid relationship – business or personal. Being intentional about always working towards a solution makes sure you get the best out of it.