Let’s do what makes sense

I sat in a meeting Friday afternoon to meet the new guy over at the vendor’s office and give my assessment to my client.  It never gets boring, listening to rhetoric from a vendor.  They usually speak to my client, not with my client.  A few months ago, after I asked the vendor a very specific question about the sloppiness of a metric, the vendor replied  Do you have a problem with that!? Well, actually, I think both of us (the vendor and I) have a problem.  We’re both here to ensure this client gets quality work.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a software build, documentation, or even a graph is a slide deck.  The vendor lamented and the metric actually makes sense now.

The new guy, though perhaps giving us lip service, actually established himself as a bridge builder and communicator.  He said he wanted to know our concerns so we’ll all be in step.  He gave us his email address and mobile telephone number, telling us not be hesitate contacting him.  When we pressured him on a request we’ve been demanding from the previous leadership, he said they would figure out a way to get it done.  When asked of our first steps going forward, his response was…

Let’s do what makes sense.

What a refreshing response. No “let me get back to you”. No “let me check with my boss”.  It was a direct answer.  It was ambiguous but I thought it was acceptable considering the situation.  Compared to hearing traditional responses like “Ya, we can do that” when asked to if the vendor could make a change or deliver something, this guy actually said Let’s do it.  If we can be in agreement as to what makes sense, we’re golden.

At the end of the day, I don’t care what they can do.  I care what they will do.  Let’s hope we’re turning over a new leaf.

4 comments

  • Thanks for sharing this Derek. It is amazing the power those 5 simple words convey, yet some might view it as a sign of weakness rather than strength.

    I am a big believer that the customer is not always right, but that is a moot point. The real question is whether they are happy or not, and what you can do to work with them to achieve respective goals.

    I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this line on occasion.. ;>)

    • Derek Huether

      Bob, I’m with you on this. I appreciate this new guy being positive and starting the relationship in the way that he did. It wouldn’t be very tactful to waltz onto a project and challenge the customer at the first meeting. He may disagree with the customer in the coming weeks or months and I’m fine with that. If his “this makes sense” counters the customer’s idea of it, I expect him to justify himself, not just try to explain.

      If we look at this tactically versus strategically, I can accept if he makes the client unhappy in the short term if he offers a plan that will make them happy in the long term. Lose the battle; Win the war.

      I’m looking forward to see how he picks his battles.

  • Thanks for sharing this Derek. It is amazing the power those 5 simple words convey, yet some might view it as a sign of weakness rather than strength.

    I am a big believer that the customer is not always right, but that is a moot point. The real question is whether they are happy or not, and what you can do to work with them to achieve respective goals.

    I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this line on occasion.. ;>)

    • Derek Huether

      Bob, I’m with you on this. I appreciate this new guy being positive and starting the relationship in the way that he did. It wouldn’t be very tactful to waltz onto a project and challenge the customer at the first meeting. He may disagree with the customer in the coming weeks or months and I’m fine with that. If his “this makes sense” counters the customer’s idea of it, I expect him to justify himself, not just try to explain.

      If we look at this tactically versus strategically, I can accept if he makes the client unhappy in the short term if he offers a plan that will make them happy in the long term. Lose the battle; Win the war.

      I’m looking forward to see how he picks his battles.

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