Your client the leader

Not that anyone who knows me or reads this blog (both of you) needs another rant about people who rant about the stupid and irritating client. I’ve done that before.

But I was recently face-to-face with a few consultants and business owners who’ve motivated to write a bit more about this. I not sure why this is still in my craw, but here it is.

If your client isn’t doing something that is painfully obvious to you, it’s a sign that your client has a leadership maturity to be admired. That you know about their stupid actions or doltish inactions at all – that is, that they called you in the first place – is a signal that they realize they have a weakness and are serious enough in what they do to put their ego aside and call in someone to help.

Would that it were me.

We shouldn’t be dismayed or amazed at what they aren’t doing or don’t know. I’m quite sure that every one of us would seem like a child in the presence of certain experts who’d point out our inadequacies and how dangerously close to the edge we are in either missing a huge opportunity or screwing something up for good. An intellectual property lawyer (that image on my blog isn’t Creative Commons licensed?), a leadership expert (there’s more to social capital beyond my Twitter follower count?), an accountant (I can’t defend that in an audit?), a finance strategist (a traunch? leveraged growth?), an employment lawyer (I can get sued for that?), an innovation consultant (innovation is a discipline, not just big ideas?).

I for one am exceedingly unimpressed by a consultant who asks me to be astonished at their stupid client. Yeah, I get that. They called you, right?

It’s much more fulfilling to have a conversation with someone who’s willing to share how they went about solving the problem. And maybe even admiring the client for calling them in the first place.