Yesterday I had a mentoring conversation with a team member. The conversation was prompted by a new contract. Interestingly enough, we worked with this client before. It started great, but ended not-so-great. I like to win, so of course I wasn’t happy, but I have the maturity to learn from my mistakes.
So when the opportunity presented itself to work with this company again, I was a little uncertain but said to my team, Hey, why not? We’ll learn from our mistakes and “kill it” the next time. So we moved forward and—six months later—success!
Yesterday was the first day of this new contract, and in the meeting, I asked the director, “What was it about IGS that made you select us again?” He said, “We remember our good working relationship with IGS.” So although it ended not-so-good, the overall experience was positive.
I went on to tell my team member…
- Learn – Learn and listen. The latter part of the contract execution didn’t go well, but when I wrote the new business proposal, I cited everything that went wrong and how we were going to improve things this time around.
- Tweak – People appreciate the real; the real comes from honesty. I took what we had experienced and made recommendations about what we could do differently the next time. In the proposal I said, “We know you, we know you can be problematic, we know what causes you to be problematic, and we know how to manage you.” The director appreciated our candor because he is a direct communicator like me.
- Refine – Cha-ching, we won! But winning isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning. We know what we did wrong last time, and we’re improving. We continue to polish the work and get better. We’re just blessed that we had the opportunity to do so.
I went on to discuss with my mentee that in addition to our capability, people like us. Many people go to college, graduate school, and on to PhD programs, but true business connections come when people like you. I’ve been blessed to have God’s favor that way, and it transcends me. If you meet any of my friends, family, and even employees, you’ll see that we’re very often happy and light. We’re full. People like fully satisfied people. Yes, we’re good at what we do, but people also say, “I want to talk to that girl because she seems happy.” A solid combination of strong skills and likable personalities among the team—that’s how you win, again and again!