Last week, I finished a piece of work from Knowsley Borough Council – which saw me curate their music festival and support the various teams in making the multi-day and multi-venue festival happen. I started in late August 2022 and ended on late November 2022. Grand opening, grand closing. Someone asked how I feel about projects ending so I thought I would write a small piece on it.
All consultancies are meant to end. They must. The nature of the work is that you are brought in to deliver / contribute to a piece of work for a project which usually has a duration attached. Sometimes that duration stretches and sometimes it is clear and definite. But essentially an end will come.
So how do you approach the end?
Well I have always had the approach that by the time the end comes, I will have hopefully met or surpassed expectations and helped achieved the project’s aim and delivered some unexpected extra benefits too. So job done. No tears or clinging on. Wrap it up.
So is it just time to move on?
Well not always, I have heard and seen a number of consultants who before the main project they are engaged in has been delivered and completed, they will start pitching follow on work or try to extend the work they have been asked to do. Although I understand that from a business and financial standpoint and while I 100% believe retention is key to any business’ survival, it’s not an approach I take unless specifically asked to do so. Why if you believe in retention do you not push ‘extension’ on your current consultancy you may ask? Well I don’t do so because essentially I have brought in to to do something specific, so until I deliver that fully and to spec, I do not want to muddy the water with ‘extras’. I have seen how it oftentimes can change the dynamics of a working relationship and I would rather keep it pure and focused. That said, once the main work is done, and as part of evaluation, I tend to present potential builds. However I find that these are welcomed a lot better, when I have optimised delivering the first piece of work.
Luckily, this approach has paid off for me many times. I have managed to build on first engagements with a wide range of clients, including Levi’s, Google and many more, and entered into multiple further options or iterations of what we have just done. Nine times out of ten, I have been asked to present a forward path from what we may have just done and this usually leads to further work. I’m proud of my retention rate of clients and this way of working as I find it the most respectful, transparent and efficient way to work.
By Yaw Owusu
Photography: Robin Clewley