Shine a Light on Your Assets

Off Angel Island - final day in SF

Off Angel Island – final day in SF

New clients may come to you or your company, based on your reputation. They will stay with you and, more importantly, return to you based on the experience that was had in working with you. That means that it will be the personal experience had with the people on your team that will bring them back.

Business is Personal. We’ve said it before, and it cannot be overstated.

Knowing this; the wisest approach to the development of client relationships is keeping in mind the fact that longevity with the client will be a direct result of the work delivered and the people delivering that work.

So, set them up to succeed.

Show off all your people; give your client the opportunity to know who and why each person is on your team, to be impressed at the wealth of skill, talent and experience you have accumulated and make available to your clients…

Don’t hide them behind a screen of corporate anonymity.

When we bring a new talent onto a team, we take care and effort to introduce that person to the rest of the team along with the qualities, traits, talents and accomplishments that brought that person on board.

Rather than a simple, “This is Tom, our new Art Director…” we augment that introduction with, “…you gotta spend time with this guy; he’s done amazing stuff. He publishes his own cartoon strip, writes and performs music, surfs like a demon and has cured cancer, twice! Get to know him and welcome him to our team.”

This serves two, primary purposes.

  • One: this gives the rest of the team a context within which to get to know the new person, to ask questions and discover mutual interests. In other words, to Launch the Bonding…it makes this New Guy or Gal more of a person from the start.
  • Two: this also serves to render the rest of the team conversant in the qualifications of that individual; what unique things that person brings to the table to augment the team.

Each team member should be able to authentically and enthusiastically give testimony as to the uniqueness of each of the rest of the team.

Which brings us to why this same practice is something we ought do when bringing or sending a team into a project or client.

Sending or bringing along a team under the banner of your company is one thing; impressive at the outset but with an effect that ultimately dissipates and even disappears if your people aren’t introduced as highly valuable in the right of each one. Blow your clients away at the quality of the team you have gathered for this project; impress them at your acumen for finding and hiring good people and let your client know what makes each so fantastic.

These are the people who, working with you, for you or under your banner, make you look good. Capitalize on that.

F’rinstance; rather than, “This is Sheila, the Project Coordinator for your project…” Perhaps, “Client, meet Sheila; she has a few years of producing live television under her belt, has worked in China and Australia and kicked some *ss in the process. She is one of the most organized people I’ve ever found and we’re lucky to have her. She’ll be Project Coordinator on your project…at least, until we promote her…”

This approach will give your client more confidence in work, opinion or suggestion that comes from Sheila. It will engender trust in her and in your entire team.

This approach will unfailingly communicate to your team that they are trusted.

Further, as work is delivered, as components and projects come online, credit those who actually do the work. Let your client know who wrote the script, who drew the schematic, who created the amazing artwork, who discovered the wrong bolt was specified for the rocket launcher. Credit your people and you will look even better; tuck that individual contribution behind the impersonal banner of the company in some digest or unattributed document and nobody gains…

…and the opportunity is missed for acknowledgement, morale boosting and a deepening of the personal relationship.

If you present and treat your teams as no more than a roster of titles, they will be seen as no more than that; virtually interchangeable. Give them context, give them credibility, empower them to act in your stead when you are not available and this will only grow your reputation for astuteness and clarity.



“IMHO” the handy eBook on methodologies and techniques for the creation of compelling experience is a free download for Apple iOS and OS from iTunes or the iBook store.

Successful Succession


Ferenc Nagy Performing @ Global Village, Dubai

A Good Leader, a responsible Leader, plans for what is to follow.

S/he never assumes longevity, the Good Leader; remaining proactively aware that one’s tenure on any project or in any company will always come to a close…oftimes foreseen, though not uncommonly and sometimes disastrously ill-timed.

One of the key – if not the crucial – responsibilities of Leadership is the preparation for one’s untimely departure. Focused foresight and planning are integral parts of upholding one’s responsibility as Leader.

Don’t be responsible for leaving teams, projects, companies rudderless. Not for a moment.

This is why many companies do not allow more than one or a very few executives to travel together; the risk of losing vast amounts of institutional and operational knowledge is simply too great.

It is not only the large company that calls for the planning of one’s exit. The fact is that any team needs to be prepared with succession plans for principal losses; most especially, that of the Leader.

How to prepare one’s team? Simple stuff…

Share information. We’ve written before in this space about the value of sharing information; of the resultant empowerment of one’s team and individual investment in the project or goal. Implemented from the start and maintained on a continuous basis; the ongoing sharing of information as a project evolves is key to the successful stepping up of a temporary surrogate or permanent replacement.

Keeping one’s team informed, involving the team in the decision-making process – seeking input and informed opinion – prepares the entire body for the departure of any one individual. …AND, as has been covered previously and will no doubt be covered, again; maintaining engagement of all team members ramps up personal investment in the project or company and tends to result in a far tighter and responsive team and exponentially better result.

When the departing individual is the erstwhile leader, the confidence and value of s/he who follows, knowing the how’s and why’s of the courses of action taken and decisions previously made cannot be overstated. Shared Knowledge is Power; secrets undermine.

Don’t risk a departure or absence that leaves your team(s) adrift; this is a fundamental betrayal of the trust placed in Leadership. Plan for departure from the first day, without leaving it to the last minute; as there may not be such a “last minute” for the building and activation of such a plan.

Share relationships. Even if one is the primary point of contact with the client or executive on the job; even if one is the virtual fulcrum for the program, plan or operation; the simple and expansive practice of including one or two select members of the team to participate or simply “audit” meetings, sit in on calls, FaceTime or Skype sessions reaps rewards in myriad ways.

What Myriad Ways?:

  • Knowledge of nuance.
  • Exposure and concomitant credibility as competent leaders in and of themselves; to the client, certainly, but as much to empower these team members, themselves.
  • These Includeds become Lieutenants; when things get crazy and one’s Clone is otherwise occupied, the deployment of the Empowered Surrogate can be essential to success.
  • Will engender trust in one’s entire team by the client as well as mutual trust within the team in stepping up and moving forward when any member departs.
  • Not doing this undermines everything. Information unshared is, again, a virtual land mine.

Giving exposure, credibility and respect to one’s teammates or lieutenants exposes the Good Leader as what s/he is, brings fresh perspective into these meetings and conversations and will engender respect and authority for these individuals who may need to stand-in for the Leader at any time.

These very people, in the leader’s absence, will need to be clear on the history of the relationship or project to be able to operate with ease and comfort in your stead and to be conversant in the evolution of the project and relationship…to Deliver.

Be aware of who is on the Team. Especially in an industry wherein freelancers and consultants move from project to project, company to company, country to country year after year; guard against viewing individual members as defined by the job done or task being filled at the moment.

I see this a lot in the part of the world where I am working, now. Management tends to view individuals as the jobs each are filling, with no thought or curiosity as to what resource or potential these men and women might represent. Not only is this dismissive to the body of work, skills and talents likely represented by the individuals on the teams; it is a hugely expensive shortsightedness on the part of Leadership.

Respect for a staffing plan may be honorable, strict adherence to it may be foolhardy.

As projects evolve and the myriad unpredictable or unforeseen obstacles and opportunities arise, knowledge of the above mentioned background, experience and potential on one’s team can make the addressing of same a matter of moments or hours rather than days, weeks and months.

Don’t assume, don’t pigeonhole. (Besides: pigeonholing is fowl.)

Share your knowledge: Mentor. Teach. Share. Ask. Involve.

This does not mean Lecture, Pontificate, Order and Berate. Rather, it means open up and be willing to learn at every juncture, throughout the process of the work.

The time and money saved, the powerful increase in morale, the increased productivity and responsiveness of one’s team and the possibility of spectacular realization of goal, well above and beyond original vision is worth it.

One of my favorite anecdotes from my own history is the time, two decades ago, when my Production Team were wrestling with a dilemma within our imminent show. This was a spectacle with over 12,000 participants in an iconic structure in New York City. Very public; very big; only one shot at success. These were not “closed” meetings, as I believe anyone who wants to know how things are going should be welcome…one never knows.

From the back of the room, during a pensive lull in our conversation, came the voice of one of the the crusty ol’ “union guys,” a driver on the project. “Well…” he says, “..back in 1975 we had the same problem with [name of show and Diva redacted!]. What WE did was…” and he gave us our solution.

One never knows.

Trust your people.

Know your people.


The free ebook for iPad, iOS and OS, “IMHO” is available for download from the iTunes Store. Check it out; galleries, methodologies, techniques for creating compelling experience are all contained, therein. Full refund if you find nothing useful.