Today I was asked by a potential client who's known me for years, why I have defied the odds and become so successful at what I do by speaking truthfully and honestly. They asked, why do I say "No" so much. More than anything, they wanted to know how it is so easy for me to say "No" and walk away from business.
It was amazing to me how this question came about. They were in the process of putting together an RFP for a new line of business. They asked me if I would be interested in the new line of business, so I asked them to tell me about it.
The biggest issue was... they couldn’t tell me exactly what they were trying to get out of the RFP. What they did say was that they were going to do an assessment of some new technology that they needed in order to streamline their business. I said, "Ok great! What risk are you trying to mitigate or what kind of solution are you trying to come up with?"
Surprisingly, they couldn’t give me a clear answer.
So, as I say to most people, if you are looking for a certain outcome and you are looking for solid results, your outcome needs to be VERY clear. If your end goal is vague, you will have vague results. If you cannot clearly define what you want, and what you're going to be doing to accomplish it, then it's highly unlikely you will achieve the goal in the most optimal way possible.
That's why I make it a point to tell everyone — make sure you not only understand what you're doing, but you have clear intentions on how you will succeed. You can do these things for different reasons. For example, somebody can say, "Hey Stephynie! Why did you take that client and you knew they weren't going to pay you?"
Well, I wanted to grow. I wanted to learn, I wanted to gain knowledge, and I wanted to gain EXPERIENCE. Experience is the most important thing at that point, and that is my explanation for why I take so many people pro bono.
Or, maybe for a certain industry, I can be doing transformational coaching, which allows me to gain a better understanding of my clients. For example, today I had lunch with a VP of strategic sourcing. She said, "We need to ask better questions to our vendors and suppliers. We think we are asking the right questions, and when we put out an RFP, the RFP comes back and it's not actually giving us the solutions that we need".
In this case, it was SO important to have a clear goal in the process, and to clearly convey that goal, so they could mitigate their risks and find the solutions they needed to grow their business internally.
Regardless of what it is, it's ALWAYS important to fully understand your outcome, and MANAGE that outcome once you've achieved it. Always keep in mind what your true intentions are. Simply because, if your outcome is unclear... your results are going to be highly unclear as well!