Don’t walk away lightly from hidden strategic challenges to what you do and how you do it. When a client, whether internal or external, asks you to change something so it’s simpler, clearer, flows in an alternate sequence, looks differently, etc., make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunities it creates! By lowering your pride of authorship and raising your excitement about an apparently simple request to make revisions, you can find incredible strategic challenges AND opportunities to force your thinking and processes into very different directions you may have never considered exploring otherwise.

An example?

We thought we’d finished a social media strategy write-up when the client asked us to move it from PowerPoint to a document format and add a few visuals. Lo and behold, what seemed initially like a couple of hours of simple revisions to the document wound up requiring several days of attention.

In the midst of the effort, we discovered the formatting change request was really a strategic challenge. To make the reformatted document work better, we wound up re-depicting one of our social media strategy models in a much clearer way. We also developed a new social media response model. Both of these creations will be tremendously valuable in further social media strategy client engagements.

Not every change request is a strategic challenge in disguise which will yield new and better work. Be sure though you’re open to finding the dramatically improved ways of doing things which could be lurking in that one last revision to your strategic work. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

7 Responses to “Strategic Challenges – Take Advantage of Change Requests”

  1. Jim Joseph says:

    I think this is also a lesson in accepting feedback, even if on the surface you might not seem to agree with it. Feedback is an opportunity to learn and improve, to make better. And sometimes, many times, you end up improving in other ways than you imagined. I guess the point is to keep an open mind and also avoid the “not invented here” notion as well. Nice post! Jim Joseph

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s taken time, but I’ve really worked at not defending right away, but listening and considering feedback first. It’s actually become easier on the consulting side because we have to depend on the client knowing the internal workings of their business and what will work. Thanks Jim for your comment!

  2. Tobey Deys says:

    I appreciate how you mention ‘internal and external’ clients. We often forget that internal customer service can (and should) be as important and get as much attention as external customer service. (Bit off-topic, I guess 🙂
    Great post; it’s true, change is good!

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting point Tobey! A boss of mine both stressed the idea of internal customer service and cautioned against the potential it creates for internal people to act as if they forget that they’re all on the same team. It can be a delicate balance to get it right.

  3. Charles Graves says:

    One fundamental advantage of exercising this opportunity is not mentioned. That is, demonstrating the ability to listen. By trying suggested changes you are also showing that client that you are listening to what is being said. Demonstrating to the client that you have made a change for the better thanks to their suggestion shows that listening ability and gives the client added trust on your behalf. It will eventually help in your relationship somewhere down the line.

    Thanks for your words of wisdom. I continue to enjoy reading Brainzooming.


  1. Over Deliver or Not? 21 Ideas about the Tendency to Give Too Much | The Brainzooming Group | Strategy Consulting and Strategic Planning - August 17, 2012

    […] It stretches you to take on, learn, and accomplish new things. […]

  2. Find Agreement in an Adversarial Conversation - 10 Things to Listen For | The Brainzooming Group | Strategy Consulting and Strategic Planning - August 20, 2012

    […] an online survey and a variety of proposed changes. While the survey was fine as it was, we tried to implement as many proposed changes as possible from one of the client team members. The result of those changes was an online survey that was […]