Escape the rinse and repeat trap of corporate planning.
For consultants out there who have successfully convinced their clients to take some risk and even foster some borderline creative behaviour, kudos to you. For the first year you were probably able to establish new partnerships, gain some traction, largely because your client wasn’t really sure what to expect with this new endeavour.
Once your client thinks they understand the process and see some good results in the first year, they simply want to rinse and repeat and do everything the same for the next year; easy for you to sit there and collect a retainer, tough on your brains with all those awesome ideas trying to get out.
So what do you do?
- Find a champion – someone in management who buys your ideas and believes that continual innovation and creativity is required to get to the next level. They will actively vouch for you to ensure that the ideas are implemented.
- Move on – pick your battles. You can’t change the world view of a client (until their competitor ends up doing exactly what you told them they should’ve done and then they call you and say “oh my god you were right!”), but you can change who you work for. When they need you again, they’ll come to you. Even better, keep an eye on their progress, and reappear when you feel like they are ready to do something creative again.
Whatever you do, at least do something about it instead of sitting there and just going through the motions. If they tell you it’s “too risky” or “out there”, I would say that great ideas usually had a relatively higher amount of risk and almost doesn’t seem possible at first. Finance 101, risk/reward ratio.