Choose Your Clients Carefully
The luxury of choice
If you are reading this then you have been blessed with “the luxury of choice.” You lead a professional life, you toil all day, but probably not with a shovel or ax. You may have an office, or at least a We Work space. Maybe you work from home. Or out of a client’s office. Hopefully you have not succumbed to a coffee shop for a wifi signal. Or maybe you are lucky enough to work at a private club replete with creature comforts like a sauna and a dining room.
Regardless of circumstance, you have been blessed with the ability to CHOOSE how you lead your life.
You choose your partner, where you live, how you live and (hopefully) who you work for.
Choice is what makes life delightful. Like a menu. Or as Forest said, “like a box of chocolates.”
The ability to choose is a luxury that, once realized, is to be coveted and directed towards a happy and fulfilling life – – both professionally and personally.
So why can’t you choose your clients?
Well you can. Few people in commerce realize that you can choose the clients you wish to work with. Not for but with.
Here is why and how.
Life is short. As Torstein Hagen in the Viking Cruises commercial says, “there is only one thing we don’t have enough of” and encourages us to spend our time wisely.
What type of people do you wish to spend your precious time with? Dolts and fools or kings and giants?
Why would you even waste precious time to surround yourself with small minds, tunneled perspective, darkness and shadow?
That’s what it’s like when you work with people you don’t cherish. If the ideals and values and behaviors are not consistent with where you see the vision of your own life going, then move away.
But what about the money, you ask?
Money always flows to good ideas. And good ideas usually come from forward-thinking, best-practices people.
Do you chase after prospects exclusively for monetary value? Or do you seek out satisfying experiences that advance your intellect, talent and integrity?
Since you have a CHOICE, apply the highest standards against every effort you decide to pursue. Move towards the ones that help you grow. Resist the ones that stifle your spirit and thus growth.
When you work with people who you like, whose values you share, whose social company you enjoy, whose teachings are valuable, then you will become profitable.
Not just financially profitable but soul-satisfaction profitable.
There is no greater measure of time spent than how fulfilled we become because of the things we do in our life that give us, and those around us, joy.
The key is to marry your ambition with the people around you. And not just your team – – but your client team.
Satisfaction comes from a job well done and done with people you admire, respect and enjoy.
And done right leads to riches.
As Honeywell’s Larry Bossidy observed, it’s all about execution. The devil is in the details.
So HOW do you go about choosing your clients?
1. You must choose to be deliberate about what businesses or organizations you want to do work with.
- Make a list of companies you admire because of what they do or make. And remember companies are still run by people so you can also put the list of people you most admire on your list.
- Synchronize your choices with what you are passionate about doing. Do you like sports, theater, art, medical devices, devices in general, mechanical stuff, movies, bicycling, bicycles, making model airplanes, literature, etc., ad infinitum?Doing work around what you love is where it’s at. Which brings me to number four.
- Having a purpose in life is a good thing. Doing well while also doing good is as good as it gets. Seek out clients whose purpose is in synch with what’s important to you and good for the world too.
- After figuring out the sectors and then specific companies within those sectors, begin to apply additional criteria, such as:- Will you learn something new?
– Do they have the resources to accomplish big goals (why saddle yourself to mediocrity?
– Who is doing the best work and leading the field in new ideas while still being successful in whatever legacy business they have been in?
– Are they nice people you would want to hang out with in your personal life?
– Are they financially sound? To paraphrase Tom Carey “Money buys a lot of culture. But without it you can’t have a culture.”Those are some of my criteria and they work for me. You have to decide your own. And finally….
- Take the long view and do what’s right – – always.It’s easy to compromise. To give in. To except “this one time because…”
As Byron Wien, of Blackstone so succinctly states: “There are no shortcuts”.
You have the luxury of choice. Use it in everything you do. Be deliberate about how you choose your clients in the same way you would make any important decision in your life.
I’d be delighted to hear your comments on this approach.