In our last episode, we discussed how to avoid hiring an expert steamroller. You know, someone who comes in, hijacks the project, and leaves you with something you didn’t even want in the first place. In this episode, we’re talking about the other side of the relationship, when the client steamrolls the expert. It’s important to recognize the value of experts and let them do their job.
As a client, you may not even know that you’ve disregarded the experts you’ve hired. There are many external agencies and experts that come in with a goal of doing anything you ask. While that can feel productive in the beginning, it’s not the best use of an expert.
In fact, you’re just amplifying any missteps, mistakes, or misguidance that you already have by not allowing the expert to step up to the plate and lend their skill and experience. Even though you might not know that you have done this, here are some symptoms of this problem. I invite you to listen carefully and see if any might sound familiar:
- When you hire someone, you feel like it’s still your project.
- The people you’ve hired don’t seem to have anything to add to the conversation.
- Hiring an external agency or experts ends up being even more work for you.
Listen to Season 2: Episode 18
How to Know If You’re a Steamroller
I’m not saying in all of these cases you are steamrolling your expert. But if these things have happened, it’s probably time to take a deeper look. If you listened to any episodes this season, you know the reason to hire an external agency or expert is so you can get more done, get it done better, or expand your ability to get things done.
If you’ve hired someone and it still feels like your project, that’s definitely not working. The reasons could be many, so this is the time to take a look and see how you’re showing up as a client, determine if you are clear on what your expectations are for their work with you and what your expectations are for the work you want to contribute. Only then can you stop being a steamroller and start to leverage the value of experts you hire.
To make sure that you aren’t stepping all over your experts’ ability to help you, here are a few key guidelines to keep in mind.
Decide Upfront Who Is Going to Lead
There are many different levels of experts with different levels of skill and experience. You might be hiring a freelancer who’s really good at executing CSS code. Super. Let’s be clear about who’s leading here. Even if you’re leading the relationship, how are you making room for their expertise? Are you asking for their feedback? Are you painting a clear picture of the end result you want so that they can lend their expertise on how to best achieve it?
Make Sure The Expert Can Lead the Relationship
If you don’t want this to be your project at all, you may want to make sure they can take the reins in the relationship. In that case, your responsibility is to paint clear objectives on timelines and outcomes and work with them to set up a structure to have regular check-ins and communication. Then the only time you need to dig in more is if the milestones or check-ins aren’t being met.
Make Space for the Value of Experts to Shine
The other place to ensure that you’re not steamrolling your expert is to make space for their skill and experience. In the case that you’re leading, or in the case that they are part of a team of equal leaders, thinking about how you structure your results, how tasks are assigned, and how expertise is welcomed is key. Intentionally leaving space and inviting expertise in means that we can harness the most value of experts.
My friend Stacy notes that one of my personality traits is that I can’t just go along with a bad plan. And this is also true when it comes to clients. We’ve had many clients over the years propose shortcuts or implementations that I knew wouldn’t actually get them the results they wanted. And when that happened, we had very candid conversations about what their motivations were, what they wanted to ultimately accomplish, and if this was indeed a good choice for them.
In some cases, they wanted to go forward with an alternative that we didn’t agree on, which is fine. They are the owners of their business, and they should be able to choose what they want. But at that point, we also had to step back because I just can’t be part of a bad plan.
That’s not to say that we haven’t adjusted plans with clients or changed course. The right thing sometimes needs to come in stages. But doing a house remodel in phases without a blueprint means at some point, you’re going to have to rip out something that’s already done. Which is why strategy and planning are where we start for every client to ensure we’re in step and in sync along the way.
Why You Don’t Want to Be a Steamroller
The end result of making sure that you’re not steamrolling your expert is that you get the full value of experts and external agencies you’ve hired to help your organization and team. Even though it can be uncomfortable to let go, to trust someone else, and to allow change inside of your business or organization, it’s key to eventual success. This is ultimately what you want. As long as it’s aligned with the results you want to get, it will benefit you, your team, your organization, and ultimately your clients and bottom line.
Interested in really leveraging the value of experts you hire? At FieryFX, we know a thing or two about getting the most from working with experts. Plus, we’re experts in strategy, websites, analytics, smart business, and technology. Find out how to benefit from hiring an expert by booking a consult with us.