Chances are you’re like the client we had to fire last year. When I went out to her office to see her, and have a very difficult 45 minute conversation about why the relationship had to end, she asked “Why didn’t you just call me and tell me I wasn’t paying you enough to make it worth it?” For one, that wasn’t true. For another, as a human being, she deserved better. But she just couldn’t get over the fact that I wouldn’t take the easy way out.
Chances are you’ve done something like the PR agency rep who called last month on behalf of a potential client. She was looking for a Detroit-area firm to support the opening of a new location of her client’s chain. I explained that on one hand, we are very qualified as we often work with local or regional operations of national companies and we work daily with clients in fast-growing Downtown Detroit, where this business will be located. On the other hand, I explained that we don’t have much experience in her client’s industry, per se. Intrigued by our relevant experience, she asked for a proposal and needed it “tomorrow.” I cleared a big chunk of my next day to write the proposal. A month later and days away from opening, I still have not received any kind of acknowledgment or response. The referral source even followed up and received no apology from this rep, who took the easy way out.
This growing club – Chicken S*** Nation – avoids difficult business conversations at all costs. It’s like all of the rules of dating have extended to doing business. “I’m just not into them” means unanswered emails and calls. I guess we’re supposed to get the message that it’s time to move on? In a technology-enabled culture where couples break up via text and employees get fired via email, it’s no surprise that Chicken S*** Nation is growing in ranks.
It’s not just in relationships’ beginnings or ends. There’s almost a new adage in business that if your customer likes your work, he’ll tell you. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably not say anything and will start thinking about options behind your back.
Business can be fun. It can be rewarding. But it can also be hard. One of the hardest parts used to be having difficult conversations. It’s so tempting to make your challenging work life easier by just zooming by the tough stuff. But think about the people on the other end. Mutual respect dictates the same honesty and level of communications you would expect. You owe it to them to suck it up, talk about it the right way and give up your membership in Chicken S*** Nation.