Today I suffered from not obeying one of my cardinal rules: When doing business with a client, employee, or business partner – Always get the expectations in writing and signed by all parties that will be involved. Misunderstandings appear when this rule is broken.
I was contacted a few months ago by an acquaintance; let’s call him Flash, about a new opportunity. He needed advice and some coaching. Flash seemed to be believable and trustworthy, I was on the organizational team. We had spoken about the need to return to trust in business and handshake deals. Words and several conversations were used that were heartfelt and filled with hope, optimism, and passion.
Yes, I was taken in. I wanted so badly to trust someone and some existing systems again. It sounded like a good business opportunity to me. A new business networking group would start the first of the year. And this group would be part of an established nationally known organization. In the past, some of the local off-shoot networking groups have not lived up to their promises or expectations.
At the beginning of the relationship, I came up with the value plan and a long list of those to invite to our first meeting. I had to keep chasing Flash down. Phone calls were hurried and harried between his responsibilities and at his convenience. When I was finally able to get Flash on the phone, I found out that he had not looked at the list and was sure they were people whom he did not want in the new group or could approve of. Interesting.
I was to head the first meeting and asked the Flash, as the owner, if there was an official agenda. Most organizations have a basic meeting format. Flash had not made one yet and the meeting was to be in seven days. I was told that an outside speaker had been signed to come and do some training.
This may sound logical except I am a speaker, business coach, and experienced trainer. I have twelve years of experience with several networking groups. It was made clear to me that this would be my position in this new opportunity. I had not yet been asked to pay a membership fee or actually join.
When I discovered the person that would be speaking and training I was bit taken back. It was a person that had spent time in the area a few years ago to promote his own seminar. He spent a few months in the area and the seminar fell far short of what he had promised to the people. Because I had spoken favorably for him, I received negative reactions from the people when he left the area. There was definite negative fallout. It has taken a few years for people to begin to trust me or anyone else as a coach.
Because I had different expectations and experiences from the business owner, I had to walk away knowing the problem started because I had not lived by one of my own cardinal rules:
“Always get the expectations in writing and signed by all parties that will be involved.”
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