Bad Client! Bad, Bad Client!
In a previous post, I came down hard on consultants who hide behind the phrase “I did my job” when, at the end of the day, we have a seriously damaged client relationship. But, in that post, I ignored one precious and important fact of life:
Some people are assholes. And some of them are your clients.
We all know the signs and behaviors. They never do anything wrong; its always your fault. They never deliver anything of poor quality; you just didn’t explain it right. They are never late on deadlines; you just weren’t clear on when you needed it. They don’t think your training was worth anything, but they didn’t pay attention in class. They second guess every recommendation you make, but never have any useful input. The cancel meetings at the last minute, but won’t sign the change request to approve the cost overruns that causes. They sign a contract with you, but then don’t abide by the terms. They always want something for free. They don’t pay bills on time, abuse you and your staff and generally make your work life a misery.
Well, here’s how you fix that problem:
That’s right, fire them. This is about the only time you’ll see me give advice that doesn’t entail some degree of “the consultant needs to up their game and do better”. You can’t fix these people. They have some kind of deep rooted need to make you feel like crap and, if you drill down on it, they probably do it to everyone else they work with. Most likely, they have empty and lonely lives and leave work only to be greeted by a houseful of neurotic, asthmatic cats. But, whatever the cause, you can’t fix them and life is too short to continue working with them NO MATTER what they generate in revenue.
So, give yourself a break, get rid of them, and spend your newly free, relaxing time finding someone who really gets the value you provide and who will be a good partner.