What are your non-negotiables?
What are the behaviors that you absolutely must-have and absolutely will not tolerate?
Over the last five years, I’ve developed a “manifesto” of sorts that lists out the things that I am willing to work with and more importantly, the things that I will not work with — at all.
This list has helped me sort out “good” projects — which are beneficial and profitable to my company, from the “bad” projects — which do not fit what I am trying to do.
Here are five of the items on my list:
1) I have to have a good overall feeling about the project, client, or customer. If we don’t “jive” at the very beginning, I usually do not see this improving over time. If I get a bad vibe or if I’m uncomfortable about a potential project at the beginning, we usually redirect to another service provider. It just works better this way.
2) I don’t abide by any kind of bad treatment. For example, no one will yell at me, threaten me, or curse at me or my team. As an addition: we do our very best to stay away from anyone who attempts to threaten us with litigation or who has a litigatious background. Research comes in handy here.
3) I encourage transparency. We post progress reports, notes, photos, receipts/invoices, and openly accessible documentation during the process. If there is a question or issue, we like to address it earlier rather than later.
4) I steer clear of negativity, bossiness, deliberate ignorance, and contentious behavior. In my experience, if someone exhibits these traits during the discovery or information-gathering phase, there are sure to be bad implications for the project down the line. While I’m fine if someone is having a bad hair day or is having a “moment” — I usually chalk that up to life experience — but if that behavior is spilling over into the process, I work very hard to not let that impact our deliverables list. See #2 — we tend to not work with these customers anymore.
5) I state my expectations, values, and ideas very clearly, in the very beginning. Most people’s time is extremely valuable and as a consequence, all of us must reduce the time we spend dealing with people who don’t respect time. If a project seems like it will be a good fit for me and for my team, it usually is. If it’s not, it’s not — that’s just how it is. Usually, we sort out “good fit” during the initial phase of discovery.
I’m happy to report that over the years this list and the others in my toolkit have helped me gain more and more clarity about the type of work, the type of people, and the types of customer referrals that come my way.
I hope you will find your top five list of non-negotiables — and keep them. You will find that many options close down and the journey that you are supposed to be taking — your true journey — will reveal itself with even more clarity.
I’m interested in networking with you if you are success-oriented and/or if you are in business, and/or if you are interested in attaining green, sustainable, eco-friendly practices in your home and at work.
Send me a tweet at @monicadear if you want to chat.
Special offer for Women on Business readers: purchase an e-version of my 240-page book on “Fifty-one Ways to Build your Community of Clients Online” for only $9.99 (use PayPal or your credit card to pay). 200 copies available. Use this discount code: womenonbusiness.
For instant download click to purchase