Serve Thy Customer: Wisdom to Live by

Over on Services Safari, Brian Sommer offers a great backgrounder on the best lessons he's learned over the years in consulting and client management. But what I found most interesting about reading his list are not the individual recommendations themselves, but how the broad set of suggestions are just as applicable to Spend Management practitioners serving the needs of a business, rather than simply outside, third party consultants working with clients. This is because as companies make Spend Management more strategic, procurement and operational organizational designs and responsibilities often make the functions look more like an internal consulting role to the business. And given this, understanding how to "behave in front of the client" becomes all the more important! Nice work, Brian. I do, however, disagree with your suggestion about always "dressing up relative to the client" because if you're offering a non-commodity service and you truly are the best at what you do, there's no need to impress by overdoing it on the wardrobe. In fact, this behavior can even backfire. As for me, a Brooks Brothers or Jermyn Street shirt, a timeless and often older bespoke sportcoat, and 10 year old Alden Cordovans usually convey the right blend of taste and total cost wardrobe management over the complete lifecycle of the outfit! But don't get me started on the matching bit (I leave that to my better half).

Jason Busch

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