Thursday, September 01, 2011

When New Brooms Come On Board

Today I got a call from an old client I like, wanting information about a project I worked on approximately 2 years ago. The person who contacted me was not my old liaison contact; just someone I was aware of in the project but I didn't have anything to do with him directly. I was able to fill in the blanks he had about the project and how it ended, and what my recommendations were at the time.

I hope that they plan to resurrect the project. And if they do, I hope that they will invite me to work on it again.

This is one of the projects that touched me personally. Yes, I liked the people and the money and the actual doing of the project was also fulfilling. But there are certain projects that you want to be involved with because they mean something to you personally/ creatively and this is one of them.

The call reminded me of a very important lesson: unless the parting with the client is less than amicable and you don't want to ever have anything to do with him/her, keep enough information in your files to remain knowledgeable about your client and his/her agenda.

I've found that sometimes when employees move on, the people who take over don't get as much information as they need. If such a thing happens, fill the new guy in on what has previously happened (in my case it was my final reports on the project, our contract and dateline of events. )

Of course you do it in such a way that the new contact understands that you respect that they will want their mark on the project and do some things differently. But if you position yourself as a helpful resource who has institutional memory, a liaison person who doesn't want to be seen as vulnerable to his new colleagues will appreciate it. And you may very well land yourself new assignments from it.

[P.S. I am aware that sometimes the new broom is so set on sweeping the whole department clean they may even throw out the good things about the project. Good things like you.In that case, walk away. It's their loss and they may learn too late that what you know could have saved them time and money.]

Question: What's your experience with people who have taken over projects that you worked on? Did they treat you like the resource you are, or did they sweep you aside in their quest for "new and better?" Or maybe they expected you to stay on under conditions that were less favourable than before?

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