As a consultant for over half of my career, I’ve been keenly sensitive to tending to the wishes of my client. That meant the person who oversaw and ultimately signed off on my work, at least in the beginning. As I gained experience and insight, I learned to focus more intently on the “economic buyer.” That’s the individual ultimately responsible for hiring and retaining me. Sometimes that was my “supervisor;” sometimes, it was someone else. Regardless, I learned to attune myself more to this person’s concerns.
I’ve heard it said that the person who ignores the “economic buyer” suffers. Far be it from me to argue with such wisdom. That said, I believe that focusing solely on this individual neglects others who can make or break a consultant’s work.
And that’s potentially everyone at an organization. From the receptionist to the IT department, each professional matters to a consultant. That’s why I’ve worked to forge relationships with individuals throughout my clients’ organizations.
In short, everyone is my client. Not just the person signing off on my work, nor the person who can hire or fire me. Everyone I come into contact with matters. As representatives of my client, each is critical to my success. Their role, informal or not, may not be immediately apparent. Yet ultimately their support may ensure my long-term engagement with the organization.
I act as if my client is everyone. That attitude continues to serve me well.