The requirements of building courseware for a client are profound. The androgogical issues, visualization, interactions and technologies are to be expected – they are at the heart of transferring knowledge, skills and behaviors through the digital pipe. What I find more challenging are the political relationships; that is between the client and their constituencies and management, as well as our internal thrusts and parries for creative influence, budget and resources. But the most important function is to service the professional (and social) relationship between two organizations and attempting to harmonize them for the greater good.
When working in a customer relationship capacity the former me was hyper prepared and naturally anxious, therefore insecure. I was successful but I missed many other opportunities to expand my influence – and I certainly didn’t revel in the experiences. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally survived enough times that I now prepare the very least amount of material required to guide the meetings and establish mutually agreed upon outcomes: Set the stage, remove the ego, and listen hard. More importantly, taking a zen like approach to the relationship and the meetings has allowed me to actually enjoy these opportunities.
I am constantly reminded – and I share this with colleagues – we are not curing cancer here.
Surrounded by failures of leadership, a tanking economy, a society bereft of honesty and trust, focusing inward has allowed me to flow through these encounters with an ease I never thought possible. How did that happen? Simple. After so many months of scraping by, hemorrhaging clients and money, unable to latch onto an executive position or gain prospects, I hit rock bottom – and I survived.
After that, I figured quite consciously nothing could be so bad that I couldn’t endure. With nothing to lose, I loosened up. And by believing things would turn around (and of course working towards that goal) slowly and fortuitously, I have emerged. So many others are beginning their slide, and I am on the other side of the curve.
I moved fiercely to control my destiny through sheer force of will by networking contacts, contacting networks, applying here, there and everywhere. Interviews, few; frustrations many. Mounting bills and pressures. I thought I would blow but instead the negativity just began to evaporate. Then I got quiet. Still. A few small contracts came in. I did great work. Then some major opportunities landed and then more. Until I am homo workus erectus. I realize of course this can be as temporary as spindrift flying off a wave. And…if the slide begins again so be it.
It may not last but it offers a lasting lesson.