3 doorsOne of my mentoring clients recently shared a "good news/bad news" situation with me. 

  • Good News:  A new client, a VP at a great company, had signed off on Option 1 
  • Bad News: In the kick off meeting, the CEO kept asking about objectives and tactics that were part of Option 3

If not handled thoughtfully, this kind of situation can lead to all kinds of problems.  Misunderstandings, a feeling by the client that the consultant isn't giving the project his all, and scope create and feelings of being taken advantage of by the consultant.

The Great News is that this situation, properly framed, can be a great opportunity to re-open the discusion of value.  While all three options achieve the client's objectives, Option 3 obviously provides the most value.  And the CEO definitely recognizes the value of Option 3.

What I recommended was for the consultant to go back to the CEO and/or Economic Buyer, and point out the client specifically did not choose Option 3, but that it may make sense to reconsider, in light of the CEO's remarks.

If the client chooses to upgrade to Option 3, there is increased value on both sides of the relationship–which is a great outcome. If the client chooses to stick with Option 1, he will have a better understanding of the scope of Option 1, and not be likely to push for additional elements that are beyond the scope.  And, the client is likely to look more carefully at all 3 Options in the future.  

I also pointed out to my mentoring client that he must have done a great job with his proposal, since Option 3 so clearly resonates with the CEO.