We Don’t work for Jerks
As I reported inmy book PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH, one of the hallmarks of the most successful professional businesses is that they recognize that, for long-run success, you must not only delight your clients but also provide interesting, challenging work experiences for your people.
That seems simple enough, but too few firms understand (and implement) the logical consequence: that you must say â€œnoâ€ to clients who treat you or your people badly. Not only must you not employ jerks (as Bob Sutton keeps reminding in his new book), but you must also not accept them as clients.
Richard Ennis, the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Ennis Knupp Associates (a 100-person consulting firm which provides advice to pension funds and other major investors on how to invest their assets) reports that the key to his organizationâ€™s success is that they have been very selective as to which clients they will take on. (They pursue only about 50 percent of the requests to propose that they receive.)
â€œLetâ€™s face itâ€ he says. â€œSome clients are nasty. And you canâ€™t expect to hold on to good people, at junior or senior levels, if you bring in work where they are not going to be treated properly.â€
Oh, if only more CEOs and managing partners understood that simple principle.
Does your boss?
When youâ€™re the boss, do you always live by that principle?