Advertisements

Tag Archives: Design Success University

How Decisive Are You?

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

There is a wonderful quote I found that states:  “Be decisive.  Right or wrong, make a decision.  The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.” (Author unknown).   How quickly do you make decisions?

Too often we see designers who get so frustrated with clients who can’t make decisions (a quick decision maker might be something to add to your “ideal client profile”!), and yet those same designers may not have stopped to realize that they are not quick decision makers for their own business.  They may be plagued by what we often refer to as “analysis paralysis” – or overanalyzing and over researching the situation.

In an article by John Whittaker, marketing director of information management solutions at Dell Software, he states: “There’s a growing tendency in business today, from seasoned executives and newly minted MBAs alike, to overanalyze things. Because we’re in a digital age where there’s so much information available, we tend to think that, regardless of where we are in the decision-making process, there’s always more information out there that could help us better determine the right course of action ….”.  Does that sound like you?

One way to speed up the process is to do a quick SWOT analysis.  This process is something I learned a number of years ago when first introduced to strategic planning and I have found it one of the most valuable tools to use.  SWOT is the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  When using the SWOT analysis, you are identifying your firm’s internal strengths and weaknesses as well as the external opportunities and threats.  Make a quick list for each of the 4 categories.  It will help you focus on your firm’s strengths, minimize threats and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to your firm.

Whether the decision relates to taking on a challenging client/job, restructure your business or make adjustments to your model, expand your business or solidify what you have but increase profits — whatever the decision you are grappling with, calendar the time and then gather the information, do a SWOT analysis and then move forward!

There is so much information available that it’s easy for leaders to get caught up in what we call “analysis paralysis” and become unable to make a decision.  But remember, the most important quality a leader, and CEO of a firm can have is decisiveness.

You can’t be afraid to make a mistake.  After all, you can always make a course correction if needed, but more importantly is the fact that you cannot make up for failing to take action when that action was needed.  So keep reminding yourself that making the wrong decision is not the end of the world and as actress Keri Russell states, “Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”

So do that SWOT analysis, make that decision, and take action.

Actions prove who someone is.  Words prove who they want to be.

LEAVE A REPLY

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
So we can better direct you to resources, help us by sharing your revenue level…

RECENT POSTS

OUR POPULAR POSTS

Continue reading How Decisive Are You?

Advertisements

Avoiding Contract Controversies

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

Do you get frustrated because you feel your client has not read your contract?  Are you sometimes left wondering why a client has not responded once they received the contract?  Or worse, they decide not to hire your firm and you feel it was something in “the contract” that did it!

There are two key issues that I feel will solve these problems.  First is having a well-developed contract (reviewed by your attorney), and second is how you deliver it.

So having a great contract is extremely important – but there is no “one size fits all”.  The legal parts of the contract can be the same for every contract, but the “meat” of the agreement is the Scope of Services and what each party’s responsibilities will be.  If you have done your homework and effectively interviewed the prospective clients you should be very clear as to what services they want you to cover.  Along with that you want to clarify the responsibilities of each party so there are no misunderstandings later.  Communication is most often the culprit in any dispute and having it in writing is critical.  I like to say, when in doubt, write it down.

Having said that, verbal communication is also important as so many problems are solved, or avoided by clarifying that what you heard/read is truly what the other person said/meant.  So this leads us to the second issue which is how you deliver the contract. I recommend that you never just send off a contract to a client – whether by “snail mail” or electronically.

In a perfect world you would personally deliver the contract to the client and sit down and go over it with them – and as you do so, you periodically stop to ask if they would like anything clarified, do they have any questions, are there any adjustments needed, have you captured everything they want your firm to handle and basically making sure that they understand what is written and it meets their expectations.

But in today’s world your client may not live in your area or even in the same country, so you move to Plan B.  What that involves is arranging a and set a phone appointment with the client and using a service like Go To Meeting.  This type of service allows you to talk to the client while sharing your screen where you have pulled up the document.  You can then review it with your client, make any adjustments necessary, and then send it off to them at the end of the call.

Taking the time to always review the contract “in person” with the client gives you the opportunity to address any misunderstandings immediately.   Learn to send effective messages while being an effective listener – and never forget the value of feedback.   As George Bernard Shaw put it, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

COMMENTS (3)

  1. Roberta Martin
    In doing this I have felt a bit awkward. Does one of us read it out loud to the other, or do we both sit together reading silence? I am never sure what is the “comfortable” thing to do. If I read it aloud, it feels like I am treating my client as if they are a kindergartner.

    What do you think is best?

    Thanks,

  2. Larry N. Deutsch, ASID
    I read my Letter of Agreement (so titled to remove the harshness of the contract’s formality). I pause at each paragraph to see, and ask, if there is further clarification needed. Often a client will state that all is understood. At that time I bring up one or two issues that others have questioned and I ask again if there is any further clarification needed. Usually there is additional discussion at that time.

  3. Ray-Lee
    As opposed to reafing the agreement verbatim, I often go through the agreement explaining the paragraphs. I would say something like ” The next 3 paragraphs covers our fees. Our first billing of $$$ covers ABC, which is due today. Then if you would like us to handle XYZ, that will additional charge of $$$” At the end of discussing those paragraphs, I would ask a question pertaining to what was covered to make sure they understand and is paying attention. I may ask something like ” Would you like to set-up recurring payments on a designated card? I make this more a discusion than just reading which can be very uncomfortable for both of us. I never allow them to brush it aside saying they will read it later. I respond with ” Oh, oh I wanted to point out something”

LEAVE A REPLY

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
So we can better direct you to resources, help us by sharing your revenue level…

RECENT POSTS

OUR POPULAR POSTS

Continue reading Avoiding Contract Controversies

Brush Up on Business Etiquette

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

My more experienced clients sometimes confide in me how shocked they are by their junior designers’ lack of proper business etiquette. You could chalk it up to differences in age or generational values. It has occurred to me, though, that there might be more to it than that. If this is their first job in a design firm, they may not know any better. In that case, you need to explain to them the facts of business life.

Part of becoming a professional is learning how to conduct oneself in various business situations. The young designers I meet understand the importance of social etiquette. They have learned from an early age how to get along and tend to be friendly and respectful. While you need social skills to succeed in any profession, business etiquette has its own set of rules that must be learned and mastered. Even in today’s more casual business environment, a certain amount of formality and propriety is still required.

When onboarding new hires, take time to review with them your expectations regarding business etiquette. At minimum, you should discuss your firm’s policies on the following:

  • Punctuality – Arriving to work, meetings, installations, etc. on time is an essential trait of professionalism. Tardiness is not only disrespectful; it is a waste of others’ valuable time.
  • Dress – Clothing should be suitable to the workplace, not sports or leisure wear nor too revealing. For business meetings, dress should be more formal, in keeping with the client’s or business associate’s norms.
  • Communications – External emails and other forms of communication should be clear, coherent, contain sufficient detail to solicit or provide the needed response, and be free of informal slang, abbreviations, misspellings, grammatical errors, etc.
  • Technology – Maintain separate accounts for business and personal communications, data sharing, social networking, etc. Adhere to the firm’s policy on use of devices during meetings. Never put in writing something you would not want another coworker, client or business associate to see.
  • Meetings – Arrive on time and come prepared to contribute. Stay engaged and show respect when others are speaking and for differences of opinion. Participate but do not dominate the conversation.

Whether an inexperienced designer or a frazzled professional, it pays to be mindful of proper business etiquette. Like all good manners, it is most noticed when it’s not followed.

Continue reading Brush Up on Business Etiquette

%d bloggers like this: