Boy, did I screw up last week. We had a big opportunity for one of our biggest clients. They asked if we could help them place a very specific resource. They only needed this resource for about two or three months. It wasn’t going to result in a lot of direct profit for the placement itself.
But this was still a big opportunity for a number of reasons. It was an opportunity to show them how responsive we could be. The company I work for has a vast network of IT resources. We could have proven that to our client by providing them exactly what they were looking for.
It was an opportunity to move closer to being our client’s trusted advisor. In consulting, that’s the goal with any client. You want to be the go-to team that the client turns to without considering any competitors. When they know that you have the client’s best interests in mind, they don’t think of you as an outsider. They become reliant on you to help them be successful.
It was an opportunity to remove friction from our client’s daily work. They had a need. Something was missing that was making their job more difficult. We could have filled that void and made the client more productive, more profitable, more successful.
It was an opportunity for future business with this client. They would have said to themselves, “They did a great job in that other situation, I want to work with them again”.
When we got the request from the client, I immediately sent it to our sourcing team to find this rare talent. But then, I didn’t follow up. I got busy working on some other things. Before I knew it, a week had passed. The client notified me that one of their other vendors found the resource they were looking for.
For more information see Managing Your Consulting Career
I could argue that I had nine other major initiatives that I was working on. I could blame our sourcing team for not providing someone promptly and keeping me in the loop.
I could probably come up with as many excuses as there were opportunities. But the bottom line is that I should have owned that. I should have done my job by making sure others were doing their job.
I lost all of the above opportunities. I also let my team down. All those years of coaching my son in baseball, telling him to keep his eye on the ball, and I took my eye off the ball.
It doesn’t matter how much experience we have or how good we think we are at what we do. We still have to keep our eye on the ball and execute for the client.
If we don’t execute, someone else is always in line with their eye on the ball, waiting for the opportunity to execute better.
When has taking your eye off the ball cost you opportunities?
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.
If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com
Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net