It’s a good feeling when you have a great working relationship with those in your organization. Especially as a consultant, every new client is a litmus test. You never quite know what the culture is going to be when you walk in as an outside source. Fortunately, at times, you end up having a great working relationship with your client. As with any great relationship, you start to get comfortable. It’s a great feeling, but it’s also dangerous territory.
In business in general, and especially when working as a consultant, don’t give up best practices. When you get comfortable, things like proper documentation, getting things in writing, and official sign offs tend to start slipping. Are you doing anything wrong? No. The problem is, in business, things can all change in an instant. Management is often replaced, teams change, and suddenly you have new people coming in and wondering if you’ve delivered what you said you would. You have to consider how the working relationship would go forward if some of those key players you have such a comfortable relationship with were replaced.
What can you do? By all means, maintain the great relationship you have. However, you should do this while simultaneously sticking to the book. Get written sign off on everything and be prepared to back yourself up in case it becomes necessary. You can keep a good working relationship while still auditing yourself to be sure that your progress can be tracked on paper as well.
The unfortunate truth is that everyone is replaceable, even you. The next management member, executive or team coming in may not have the same great feelings about you. If this happens, can you back up the work you’ve done up until this point? Can you prove that you had sign off on everything that you’ve done? Are you completely confident in that? If not, you have to reassess your strategy and the way that you are documenting your moves. Get written sign off, even from the co workers that you’re going to lunch with and having a drink with.
What is most important to maintain when you are comfortable at your job? Do you think it’s necessary to give yourself a paper trail or do you think that the moving parts of an organization aren’t something to worry about? What are your thoughts? Comment below!