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When process outweighs progress

November 30, 2016
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We try to balance our firm’s internal rhythms with the client’s process in such a way that great progress can be made.

Clients come to us for our expertise, specifically in enterprise web development, and when they trust us to deliver excellent results, we have great success. In addition to clients reaching out to us for our expertise in a specific technology, they also are asking for help in getting work done in a new way that yields different results than what they currently have.

But often, when a client says it is open to thinking in a new way, we find that’s not true — they need to follow an internal set of processes they already have established. They are measured by whether they follow a process, not the results.

Gartner captures this best in its July 2016 Financial Services Innovation Survey: “The biggest challenge to innovation is internal politics and an organizational culture, which doesn’t accept failure and/or doesn’t accept ideas from outside and/or cannot change.” When you are the vendor working to deliver digital transformation…this can be challenging.

The trick is to recognize this conflict in approach early in the engagement and exit gracefully if there is no middle ground that can be found. Often, the conflict in approach isn’t realized until there are issues or stress associated to the project. This can create fear, uncertainty and doubt, and lead to a greater resistance to change. Our role, as technology consultants, is to deliver excellent results and partner with clients along the way. When either of those things are not achievable due to a client’s inflexibility or fear of failure, success will most likely not be the outcome, for either side.

As a leader in my organization, I am careful to protect our culture and our process that we have honed over the years. When we run into a challenging client that asks us to change who we are and how we get work done, my role is to empower our team to educate the client on our process, work to meet in the middle and if all else fails, make it safe to say no…even if there are large dollars attached to saying no.

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