Letter from John: May 2012

Over almost four years, Floricane has fumbled more than one consulting engagement. None have been complete disasters, but each concluded with a sad sense of remorse -- and, in the worst of cases, a strong sense of failure on my part.

And while I've been fortunate that we've hadamazing successes to counterbalance the missteps, I can't help but regret -- and learn from -- each of these poorly concluded engagements.

Recently, a small but significant project cracked wide open at the seams - just days before we were to put the effort to bed. Over the four months of working with this client, things periodically felt clunky -- but we were truly surprised by a bolt from the blue email from a client, and its vehemence.

After limping across the finish line, some difficult-to-digest feedback from the client and a lot of internal discussion, this latest stumble reminded our team a few things about our best work. It benefits from (at least) three things:

  •     Relationships. When we connect with, and genuinely like and believe in, our partners, we're more likely to do great work. 
  •     Contracting. When we take the time to get -- and stay -- on the same page as our clients about the nature of the work, the outcomes to achieve and the definition of a successful project, we're more likely to do great work.
  •     Communication. When we check in frequently -- to strengthen our relationship and check on our contracting -- everyone is more likely to do great work. Including our clients. 

Our team's boldest commitment, our vision for the work that we do, is to change the world. It's important to remember that a powerful vision requires "discipline and a strong will"* -- and that we'll occasionally fall short in our efforts to do excellent work for each our clients.

And so, read on! We have a lot of new opportunities ahead of us to be excellent.