Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We speak the same language....don't we

I'm looking at the thermometer in my office at the moment and it's reading 93 degrees - it's 98 degrees in our kitchen, and probably a little hotter outside.....not the best environment to try and get anything done, but the heat is on in more ways than one.

The business pipeline is good at the moment with a couple of projects each on with two major clients, a smaller piece with another and several pieces of new business heading in too - in fact I had to turn away work this week for the first time in months.

Of course, the upturn always happens at tricky times - it's the nature of running a small business. Next week we're off to France for a holiday, so it's all hands to the pump to cram about three weeks work into a week and a half so that I don't have to take my laptop with me.

One of the interesting pieces is working on client relationships with a professional services organisation. We're looking at what really makes a difference and enables the corporate and the professional services provider to work in harmony. So far, it seems to come down to three factors: transparency of price; effective communication and business understanding.

The key is communication. Looking at both sides of the relationship, I've met erudite and articulate people who are passionate about their businesses and the expertise they bring to the office every day. I'm working with English speakers, but they don't necessarily speak the same language.

Each industry and each function within them has its own code; its own jargon and its own shorthand. What's fundamental for any business service provider coming into an organisation is to get under its skin; to absorb the lingua franca and mirror the style, behaviours and language of the people who work there every day - without losing the professional expertise.....and a small degree of detachment necessary to avoid 'going native'.

My client recognises this and has pretty sophisticated sustems in place not just to collect client feedback, but to act on it, using it as the means to drive the business towards much more mutually beneficial relationships. Language is still a bit of a sticking point - but they're getting there.

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