You never know who you’re going to have to work with and that’s ok!

A common theme I hear from learners is how they don’t want to work with so and so ever again, or because of rumours, they don’t want to work with them at all, ever. In the real-world we seldom get that choice or make it unless you start out with your own vision and build a team of ‘friends’,  but all this is easily tempered by our need for work vs. how picky we are at who we work with. Regardless, you might be in for a surprise, because you never really know how it’s going to go with a particular person until you’re collaborating, no matter what the rumours. I’ve seen some of the best work come from individuals who prior to engaging did not want to work together. Surprise surprise. They either clicked right away, learned how to mitigate each other and/or the rest of the team also kept them civil. Even when you choose to work with those people you know and those who you know you work well with, it’s always a good idea to give all potential collaborators the benefit of the doubt. It’s good practice when you’re in a learning environment to be able to work with what you consider are difficult personalities because it prepares you for what it’s really like in that place we call the real-world. What war stories do you have from working with others and what did you learn?

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The peculiar and unknown variable called the client expectation

When you provide a service to a client you never really know what kind of client your going to get. So what to do with that wild card? There are many ways to mitigate the client if perceived as a threat. The hardest thing to do and the one skill that we all think we’re good at, is being crystal clear on what a client’s problem is, ensuring that there are few uncommunicated expectations and that they are not promised the world and given one continent. Another skill you can develop when dealing with a client is to prepare all possible reactions that they may give towards what it is your pitching, creating or designing, before, during or after your first meeting. You can prepare for this in a few ways:

  • work with your team on role-playing the client as the rest of the team presents the idea
  • draw a persona map of your client as below

Ultimately, when you think of a client as collaborator and engage them in that way, the work will be better for it, you will be challenged to grow and improve and you’ll also make a better client for someone else one day.

the stereoclient