The Cat Came Back

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

26 October 2017

I am sure many of you have heard the lovely tune about that darn cat that just won’t go away. Sometimes the same situation happens in business. Okay, maybe not exactly. But we all probably have that one client who returns, no matter what, and he is usually the exasperating one. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have repeat business and to put dinner on the table. But sometimes when that one email address pops up in your inbox, you cringe.

Come on, you know the guy. He wants you to drop everything and rush to get his project complete. He tells you he is on a tight deadline and then magically disappears when you ask for final approval. Sometimes he will resurface weeks later and finish the project at his own leisurely pace, but other times he rudely disappears and never completes the project – including payment. Your company may spend hours of time prepping and preparing, and it is all for naught.

Being in account management and always trying to remain empathetic, I have to wonder not only, “What is this guy thinking?” but also “Why is he so jaded?” Does he think if he is honest about the lackadaisical deadline we won’t do our best work? Does he think because he works best under pressure, we do? Or is he truly under the impression the project needs to be rushed, just to find out he was wrong? And if that last one is true, why can’t he simply be honest and open with us to let us know his mistake?

I know I am not able to change the way other people function. And in my field, I must take it as it comes. When that annoying cat comes back, it is ultimately our choice to take the work or leave it. But one lesson we should always keep in mind is to be honest.

The majority of people you work with or have a partnership with are good, authentic people. They may have become jaded by things in the past, but with a little effort and a flourishing relationship, they may begin to trust you. And once the trust is there, along with good work, the possibilities are endless.