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Getting the Work Done Takes Muscle…and a Plan

Posted by Ilise Benun on


Here’s the latest from Claudine Hanani at The Hanani Group:

When you start a consulting practice, you usually begin thinking about the quality of the work itself. Yet if you don’t focus on the leadership necessary to stay viable, you’ll create sticky situations that derail projects, damage client relationships and ding your confidence — even if your actual work product is good. To run a successful agency, you must do more than simply turn in good work — that’s only the entry fee. Take time to understand the soft science of managing your client because they expect you to bring a method for how the work gets done effectively and efficiently.

When you’re working from outside the organization, you have to keep things moving along at a certain pace or else – like gravity – a velocity too slow will bring the whole thing crashing to the ground. It’s all about:

  • Keep them connected to your game plan
  • Make sure your reviews and approvals don’t linger

How to Get Muscular and Planful

Part of my method is setting ground rules at the beginning. I make clear we need muscular decision-making so they know they can’t meander when I need authorizations to move to the next phase. Muscular decision-making –a concept coined by California-based execution gurus Vision 2 Execution — means leaders know what decisions are coming up and are prepared for them. I talk about decisions in the beginning and put the timeline for decisions on the schedule up front. I am very clear about how long their review should take and when I need it.

When I onboard a new client I ask them how they like to be reached so the contact the project needs and I want happens smoothly. We all know clients who almost refuse to read email and others who are moving in too many directions to be easily reached by phone. If your goal is to be visibly valuable, you need to find out how they want to hear from you, so just ask directly in the first meeting.  You want to be easy to work with do it in a way they prefer.

When we write an email, we use lots of headings for the scanners who don’t want to read a whole paragraph. The header gives them the topic of the paragraph which is a lot more encouraging than just clumps of words in a paragraph. We also take time to write compelling headlines so they can feel the energy in what we’re doing. Then we close out by writing YOUR ACTION, and below this are bullets that outline what they do by when. This direct approach ensures no one has to sift around, digging through a paragraph to figure out what they need to get done.

When you lead with strength, you will meet the needs of the project and add the value of doing it with a process any leader will respect.

The Hanani Group works with design professionals —both agency and individual— to create brand preference so you can give rise to loyal, raving fans and profitable customer experiences. Our work is to reveal and integrate your special story with branding, marketing & PR and help tell the world so they fall in love with your company. You can be among those who achieve higher referrals, realize better retention and command a price premium. Our complete go-to-market support completes the process of creating an enduring love affair with your customers. Read our manifesto at


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