One of the more common business questions that I hear often, in various forms, is about understanding how to actually drive success in business engagements. Early on in my career as a business strategy consultant I honed in on a trifecta of paired efforts that enabled me to, simply put, make things happen. It is so much a part of driving my work that I share this on my web site as a foundation of my methodology for work.
I originally created this in the business context of consulting, but it applies across any business effort that must be driven through engagement with other businesses, teams, colleagues, etc. The three areas of concentration are industry-agnostic and universal to business. Where you read “client” below you can insert any of the other partners or stakeholders mentioned above, or that you work with, and this approach to driving your work will be just as effective.
Ask & Listen
Devote yourself to becoming an expert in your client's business by asking the right questions and actively listening. Develop a holistic understanding of your client’s situation and needs so you may provide exactly the right solution for the scenario.
Regardless of the size or complexity of a project or program work to understand your client’s concerns, challenges, dreams, desires, and any other telling information. This will come in very handy as you start driving work and must assess and manage how it is progressing (see Program Management Fundamentals).
Apply & Work
Once you have a holistic understanding of the situation and the real needs at hand, you must partner with your client to agree on a set of goals and begin developing a usable and enduring solution. Doing this together in true partnership will generate both buy-in and accountability for success from everyone involved.
Apply your expertise through both creative and strategic thinking and use program and project management methodologies to ensure both structure and executability. You must work diligently to consistently demonstrate value to the project, team, and client.
Partner & Execute
The most effective way to ensure a client achieves their goals is to partner with them and share in the execution. Bring the client on board early in the process to help them understand the very essence of the art and science that is a part of the solution you have developed for the client.
Continually engage with your client to put your strategy in place and to see it through to a successful end.