05 Aug #6: “When People Change, EVERYTHING Has The Potential To Change”
Tenacity Commandment #6: “When People Change, Everything Has The Potential To Change” (Part 2)
The “Transition Lite” meeting is the key tool for dealing with changes in the client’s “Web of Influence®.”
Do you remember “Attitude & Action®.” “Action” means, “whenever we perceive a threat to our client relationship, we will take every action we know to be effective to eliminate the threat and defend our contract.” Changes in the client’s Web of Influence are a threat – every time – no exceptions.
The Transition Lite meeting is the process we use to “onboard” new client decision makers. We urge our clients to arrange for the meeting within the first thirty days of the new persons arrival. (Note: Of course it is important to be gracious and friendly, but for this meeting, keep the small talk to a minimum. Your new client has a lot to do.) The protocol is in three parts and is fairly straightforward:
1. The Trip Into The Past: New clients are way more concerned with the future than the past. Having said that, they will give us one opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane to orient them to the work we’ve done, the accomplishments we’ve achieved and the expectations we’ve met. One chance only. Assemble the documentation, be specific and make it quick. “This is what we were hired to do, here’s how we have performed relative to those initial expectations and here are the expectations of your predecessor that we are accountable for now.”
2. Acknowledging The Present: “But that was then and this is now. We recognize the important responsibilities you now have and we are committed to doing our part in helping you succeed.” The last thing a new person wants to hear is a discourse on how their predecessor did things. What they most want to hear right now is that we are onboard with their new role and intend to support them and help them succeed.
3. Planning The Future: Now our job turns to clearly understanding and documenting how they will measure success, what “value” means to them and the specific performance and relationship metrics that they expect to see. We immediately return to our facilitation mode, clarifying and refining expectations to fashion them as specific, measurable and time sensitive as possible. (Note: The new person may not yet be in a position to articulate expectations going forward. That’s OK. Reaching out and aligning with them at this early stage is still critical. They’ll let you know when they’re ready.)
The Transition Lite meeting is a powerful and effective tool. Used well, the new client can quickly become a powerful advocate. Used poorly, or not at all, the “everything” that has the potential to change, is likely to do so in a disappointing and costly way.
(It’s a little like working with young people – showing up is 90% of the value. “When people change” – be sure to show up.
John & Steve