You Love Me, You Love Me Not
I don’t mind arrogance when it’s a case of someone just tip-toeing over the line from supreme confidence (not that I would ever do that). But I do mind ego, when it’s so easily bruised that it becomes a sort of vainglorious driving force.
Consultants have bemoaned to me that a client hasn’t followed all of their recommendations. They have whined because the client took credit for the inspiration (or execution) without mentioning the consultant. They have engaged in hissy-fits because some people in the organization disliked them. And they have turned to commiserating and enabling colleagues when the project ends and the client stops calling.
This is a business. If you want unconditional love, get a dog. If you want love reasoned with tough feedback at times for your own good, get a mate. If you want 24-hour adoration without surcease, get some LSD.
The quest for affection is tendentious and illogical. At consulting meetings among colleagues across the land, consultants with bruised egos are being supported by sympathetic, like-minded brethren telling them that they are not appreciated. They ought to be told, by collegial professionals, that they ought to stop whining and get back to business. (And, yes, women are worse about this than men, but not by all that much.)
If you have a fragile ego, you shouldn’t be in consulting. In fact, you shouldn’t be in crowds.
Focus on improving the client’s condition by rapidly and completely meeting the project objectives. (For those of you who immediately thought, “Why not EXCEED the objectives?” go back and read from the top again.) Then go home. You should have collected your money long before.
Which reminds me of the consultant who told me he always leaves a sizeable amount of the fee until the end of the engagement to assure that the client is completely happy, because he feels guilty accepting the full fee before the project is totally completed. To whom I say, “I’d like to hire you to mow my lawn.”
A lot of people need strokes. But in that case, you pay the therapist, not the other way around. Yours in mental health….
© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.