For someone who strives to live their lives harmoniously, caring for the client would have the same substance and quality as paying attention to a friend, a neighbor, a family member and – why not, one’s own person. No less, but no more. In the business context, the client’s honor is similar to the special place that the host offers to an outstanding guest: the value of the attention offered makes sense as long as by default all those present, up to the children, receive the recognition of their due place at the table.
Along the lines of this metaphor, the good host takes care of the good of the guest(s). They do not neglect him or overwhelm him with excess of politeness and embellishments, cultivate politeness in gala clothes, get excited even without asking “what would our guest need or would like?”, he uses diplomacy and avoiding getting into certain topics either be blunt or taboo.
The image of the abundant table is close to the spirit and aspiration of RINF. We all feed and recognize ourselves as people at the table: the honored customer, as well as the others, from small to aged – those who are in plain sight, as well as the unseen. The noble task of caring for the guest is not the responsibility of just one, but in different forms, of all of them. Everyone must ask themselves, regardless of the position they occupy in the running of a project: “What more could be done for the benefit of this project and this client?” Unlikethe metaphor of the feast, in the business reality, the discussions and questions addressed to the client are necessary, taking precedence over the pragmatic and analytical dimension of the relationship.
RINF refuses the schematic relationship of the type: the client says what he wants and we execute. We are not executors, and our relationship against implicitly, involves thinking proactively in the sense of the client’s well-being, beyond the agreed framework. It is above all else, an assumption in front of one’s own conscience and not a slogan.
No manager can impose such a standard. He can choose the right technical experts for a project, he can set an example for himself and he can encourage his people to take on this high responsibility. But understanding and taking responsibility remains a personal act, as a superior form of understanding one’s own life.
More than having goodwill and thinking proactively, it is necessary to cultivate just thinking and acting, beneficial to all those involved, that is, systemic thinking. The universe of this thinking is much broader than the technical dimension of the local project. It involves understanding the motivations, risks and opportunities starting from the project and going beyond it: what would be worth doing in the client’s department, in the strategic context of the client with its resources, customers and competitors.
A hypothesis is a temporary construct, a tapping of an idea that seems to be useful to the client, but by no means an obsessive imposition for the good of the client only as it is perceived by us. The hypothesis is easily formulated and recognized by its ostentatious expression:
“I think it might be useful to …”
“I wonder if it would not work and …”
“If it were up to me, I would also add …”
“I wonder why it was not chosen and …”
Trenchant and well-targeted questions are equally important:
“What else should be done here?”
“What is the risk you see?”
“What would be the best thing to offer for your customers?”
“How much do we differentiate ourselves now from the competing product?”
All these questions, once formulated, represent the gateway to the privileged area of business consultancy.
We have the courage to honestly acknowledge our limits, precisely so that we can overcome them. Working with your own vulnerabilities is more than just asking for the customer’s feedback. It is an open interest to understand what the reality of our relationship is:
“Are you satisfied with what I offer (we offer)?”
“Is there something that dissatisfies you in our relationship?”
“Would you like to do things differently?”
These six principles can start by being a code of conduct and end up being our right attitude towards RINF customers, all seated at the abundant table.