I am in the process of hiring a firm for a big project my business is undertaking. While the project is not altogether new, the actual process of hiring some experts to help us with it is, and as such I am getting a new perspective on how some people work and present themselves to the outside world. And it’s been a good lesson.
So often in business, we get myopic; that is, we see our business one way and think everyone else sees it the same way. But of course that is not true. What is true is that getting a glimpse of how others see your business can help you do your job better.
For example, one team I looked at talked a great game. But when I went to their website to check them out a little more, what did I find? Dead links, bad links, and outdated content. Our thinking was that, if they were not professional enough to even keep their own website up to date, how would they do on our big project? Probably not very well. Yet they probably don’t even know that their own website is broken. It’s all about being and acting professional.
That is one reason why I love working with the folks here at Concur. Here, what you see is what you get: Great software, designed to solve problems that many businesses have, and which do so very effectively. Concur makes a promise to its customers and keeps it. That’s what being professional is all about.
But what has been shocking to me throughout my research and hiring process is just how few companies are actually able to make and keep promises.
For instance, a different firm that we interviewed looked like they were going to be a winner: Competent, great recommendations, solid credentials – the whole ball of wax. So you can imagine my surprise when they totally dropped the ball on their proposal.
By the time we found this firm, it was late in our schedule, and so we explained to them that we needed an interview and to get a proposal from them fairly quickly. Apparently “quickly” means different things to different people. They didn’t schedule an interview for a week, didn’t get a proposal to us for another week, and even then, it was only after we reminded them that we were on deadline that we got it.
Needless to say, they didn’t get the gig. All of this is to say that it helps in life and business sometimes to step back and get a broader perspective. How do you actually come across to people? Are you professional or not? Do you deliver, or not? What is your customers’ experience of your business?
Knowing that can make a big difference.