Monday, June 25, 2012

Who are your clients and what are they teaching you?

Every person we meet can be our teacher if we let them.  This is as true in respect to our clients as it is with our friends, lovers, colleagues and acquaintances.  

Their influence can be subtle or stark, whether it is helping us to see the world through different eyes or introducing us to new ways of being and doing.  

Reflecting on who I serve as clients and where I have helped and can help them, inevitably got me thinking about what they have taught me.

Through collaborating with others over the last few years, my clientele has largely been engineers, scientists, pharmacists and physicians.  In many respects, they are my opposite: typically logical analytical thinkers, data and detail orientated, with a focus on process, precision and perfection.

Working with them, I notice my own skills and practices have sharpened, for example:

  • Tailoring my language to help ‘speak to the other’s listening’ e.g.: referring to emotions as another source of data which can be used to make effective decisions.

  • Responding more appropriately to those who seek to know the science behind mindfulness, including encouraging them to experience it rather than intellectualise about it.

  • Being disciplined and rigorous in respect to referencing my work.  One client requires that the medical and legal teams review my slides before they are presented.  This has been beneficial for my own consultancy and credibility. 

  • Sharing leadership stories across disciplines, giving leaders a sense of comfort that others face similar challenges and opportunities elsewhere.

  • Joining the dots: as a result of doing more large scale conferences, I have improved my skills in linking my contribution to that of others, in order to build a coherent journey and story for participants.

  • Facilitating everyday work:  providing tangible tools that participants can apply even immediately. 

Whatever you do, who do you serve and what are they teaching you?


Thanks to collaboration with: Innovaacom (Pfizer); Lane4 (DSM, Centrica Energy, Oracle, Syngenta) and RedThread (Ericsson).

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