Posts Tagged ‘battles’

Before you fight them… Choose them wisely!

by Himanshu Jhamb on March 8, 2010

We’ve all heard this many times in our workplaces – “The customer is always right” and “All customers are equally important”. Well… I am going to challenge these in this post and will focus more on the latter one. This topic came up in one of my recent conversations with a publishing industry thought leader, Gordon Tibbitts, President, Atypon Systems where both of us were talking about the capacity of individuals and the choices we, as individuals, have to make in order to utilize our limited capacities effectively. At a point in the conversation Gordon said “You know what Himanshu, before you fight them… you have to choose your battles wisely”. One might ask how do you qualify what’s wise Vs. what’s not and the quick answer is – One that you think will produce the results you are after is the wise one to take.

Not all customers are made equal. Some customers are very rewarding, whereas some are pretty much a drain on your resources. For instance, I had a customer once who did not understand the value of Quality Assurance; as a result of that they did not have a clear QA management, a QA team or even any QA processes. The impact of that alone was that the project had many delays and not only impacted the customer in a negative way but even the vendors (us being one of them) felt the reverberations of the impact to a point where it affected (negatively) our bottom-line. If someone were to ask me about if the customer was a beneficial one for us as a vendor, the answer would, most unequivocally, be a resounding NO. These are the kind of customers that you don’t want!

Another very insightful point that Gordon made during our conversation was that it is a good thing not to ruffle any feathers if you see your competitor serving a high cost client. What made this insightful for me was the observation that Mr. competitor would face a lack of capacity if they are busy servicing high cost clients, and you don’t want to burn the midnight oil to get these clients from your competitors as this would almost be counter-intuitive to your productivity (and you’d be helping Mr. Competitor, too).

This also reminds me of a quote by Napolean Bonaparte:

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”

I’d like to acknowledge Mr. Tibbits for the pearls of wisdom he shared with me and I am more likely (than before) to think twice (or maybe even thrice) before I choose where I invest my resources… and I suggest you do, too!