by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
“I can’t believe how he acted in the meeting,” you grumble to yourself as you slam your car door shut in the parking lot after a client meeting with a joint work partner. Weeks later you realize that the client has fallen through the cracks because neither one of you took care of the follow up. Then the client sends you a private email with her concerns about the meeting. Have you ever been in this kind of mess with joint work?
Here are some solutions to try:
Set personal goals about what you want to get out of joint work
If you are in your first year of the business what do you want to learn? Write down a list of potential joint work partners and strategize who can best help you gain the experience.
Do you want to observe or participate—or maybe a little of both? Think about how you best learn and ask for what you need.
Are you willing to give or get feedback?
If you are presenting, what do you want the other person to do? Is it okay if they participate or do you wish them to primarily observe?
What are your personal values about working with clients? Write them down.
What process works best for you for client communications and follow up?
If you have many years in the business, what do you require in a joint work partner (type of client, process of working together, etc).
Interview your potential joint work partners
Now that you have a better understanding of yourself, take the time to learn about who might best help you meet your goals. Set up a brief meeting to sit down and discuss the following:
What I want to learn/What I’m willing to teach.
How does the meeting work? Who talks with the client and when?
Will you give each other feedback after the client meeting?
Do you have specific values that you want to share? (For example, a collaborative joint work process vs. observing, how to gauge that the client understands what they are entering into, what is “best” for the client, sales approach and philosophies, etc).
Who will schedule and oversee client communications and follow up?
How will the recommendations be developed? Who is involved and what is the process?
What types of cases are you willing to take on?
Are there specialized areas of expertise you want potential joint workers to know about?
What is your style? (Kolbe score, process, communications style, etc)
What resources are you willing to share?
How do you want to split the work?
Set clear expectations in advance
Now that you have agreed to work together, run through this checklist:
Is the compensation structure clearly understood by both parties?
Do you understand the types of cases you will work on together?
Do you know who is in charge of scheduling, client communications and follow up?
Who will write the PPA and prep the file?
Who will lead the meeting?
How will the person not leading the meeting participate?
Will feedback be provided and how?
Do you each understand how to use the available resources?
How will you resolve a disagreement?
Do you know how private client communications would be handled (a client emails one of you but not the other or one of the joint work partners wants to contact the client privately)?
Are you “on the same page” as far as your values?
Taking the time to lay the ground work for achieving your goals, understanding who a good fit to work with might be and how to communicate your expectations can prevent stress and problems. As a bonus, it will also improve the client experience. Wouldn’t it be a great contrast to high-five your joint work partner in the parking lot after the meeting instead of grumbling about them under your breath. Make it happen!