As I’ve worked over the last few months to communicate the story behind why I created Change Agent Communications and help people understand why I refer to it as “a new agency with a new attitude,” I’ve given thought to quite a few things we are doing differently and how and WHY we’ll stay committed to doing so.
Owning your own agency is not easy. No entrepreneurial feat is easy. But I’ve never been attracted to easy, and I love being able to make the rules, rethink the model and figure out how best to serve clients as a true partner – all while doing work I care about, for clients who understand and appreciate the value of a partner who is all in, for the right reasons.
All agencies say they are focused on the client. But I know that sometimes that focus is rooted in the needs and desires, or even goals of the agency, holding company or whomever calls the shots within the agency. As a business owner, it is important to make money and to run a profitable business. You want to pay yourself, your teams and experience growth. I certainly have goals for Change Agent Communications, but I have a very strong position on how I will and won’t meet them, and that does not revolve around profit.
It revolves around the client. When you truly are client-focused, meaning not motivated by your own needs, clients know. Heck, you know. It feels good to genuinely care and come from a place of pure intentions. It makes the engagement more enjoyable and it also fuels what can become a strong relationship. If I don’t care, I will not disservice you and offer to take on your challenge, because the last thing you will ever catch me or anyone on my team doing here at Change Agent is work that “keeps the lights on.” (Yes, that is an actual term that is used often to describe low-level, mundane or seemingly unimportant tasks.)
And if you don’t care about having a partnership, then we really are not a good fit. I won’t have an air of desperation that makes me or anyone on my team work with people who treat others poorly or do not wish to collaborate. Life is just too short to be a jerk, or to work with them. My position is, if that leaves money on the table, so be it.
Pure intentions, understanding and empathy go a long way with building client relationships. Those are core elements of true client-focus that yield mutual trust and strong partnerships. There is no room for narcissism or putting yourself at the center.
I have a very close friend who often states the following: “I’m not for everybody, and everybody’s not for me.” I laugh when he says it, but it’s rooted in knowing himself and who he best connects with, as well as who will and won’t appreciate him for who he is and what he offers. Funny enough, I do think I’ve adopted some of that line of thinking as I’ve added new clients and continue to decide who I’d like to work with.
Leading with: “We’re client-focused” doesn’t make it anymore real than leading with “I love working with people,” at a job interview. It’s how you show up and deliver. It’s actively practicing and mastering the art of not being motivated by your own needs.
Try it. It works.
(This post was penned by our CEO and Founder, Angela Connor. Feel free to connect with her at angela-at-changeagentcommunications.com, or follow her on Twitter.)