Archive for 5 May 2008

The Likeability Factor

The current close race to secure the Democratic presidential nomination has lead to a focus on electability. And if any of you follow any of the late-night talk shows, especially The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, you also know the issue of electability has become many comedy writer’s favorite go-to joke.

Why? Because how do you define the state of being electable as president, unless it has already occurred? The only people who know for sure who have presidential electability are those who have already served as president. And what bothers many people about politicians, across the political spectrum, is their willingness, indeed, their seeming compulsion, to change characteristics and beliefs in their desire to become more electable.

Which brings us to the Likeability issue many of us in the industry grapple with. To work effectively with a client, there has to been some level of mutual respect and understanding. A good client will appreciate your skills, insight, and talents, and value your ability to improve their surroundings. To deliver this type of service, we must be open, understanding and patient, remembering that we have the rare gift of being invited into someone’s home, someone’s life, in order to make a positive change. 

But, as we’ve discussed previously, projects can often become more than just about the design…we become part psychologist, part therapist. And this is where the things become murky. Too often we allow ourselves to let the Likeability Issue to become overly important, to the detriment of business.

1. You don’t bill for all your time, because she’s a “good client”

2. You don’t bill for all your time because she’s a new client and you’re trying to establish a good relationship

3. You don’t bill for all your time because it seems like she’ll be a good client and you don’t want to “scare” her off

4. You don’t bill for all your time because it seems like she’s going through a lot right now and you just want to make things a bit easier for her.

Recognize yourself in any of these? If so, you’re letting the Likeability Issue get in the way of your business. When people pay you money to make, do or provide something for them, that’s a business relationship, not a friendship. Don’t let your very real human desire to be liked get in the way of building a profitable business.

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5 May 2008 at 6:26 pm 1 comment


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