News and Events
Blog Post – From the Cesar Chavez Team
The Importance of Maintaining a Positive, Transparent, and Friendly Relationship with Your Client – by Haynes Cooney
Over the past year and a half, the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School team has enjoyed a very strong relationship with our key point of contact at Chavez. Making himself available to attend periodic team meetings and host the team at a Chavez campus, the client has been closely aligned with the team’s efforts and has consistently supported the team’s recommendations.
As the team entered the second year of a two-year strategic planning project, we were building on the findings from last year, assessing progress to date, and continuing to develop the core elements of Chavez’s strategic plan. As part of this effort, the team wanted to capture the perspective of campus leaders, administration, and board members on Chavez’s current performance and highest priorities.
NO MATTER HOW SOLID AND POSITIVE THE CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, IT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP THEM IN THE LOOP ON YOUR EFFORTS, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU PLAN TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS IN THEIR ORGANIZATION.
The Compass team devised a survey instrument to help capture these perspectives and inform the selection of certain elements in the strategic plan. The team proposed the idea of a survey to the client, who agreed that it could be a useful tool.
Eager to develop and deploy a thorough survey, the team invested a couple of weeks in preparing a lengthy and detailed document covering a broad range of topics. We had multiple team discussions to refine the structure of the tool, as well as the terms and definitions within each section. Happy with our effort, the team anticipated a quick review with the client and a rapid dissemination of the survey to Chavez leadership.
Three meetings with the client later, it was apparent that had we engaged with the client earlier, we could have used our time more efficiently. Based on the client’s input, the final document is significantly shorter and more focused than our initial product. The lesson learned for us is that no matter how solid and positive the client relationship, it is critical to keep them in the loop on your efforts, particularly when you plan to reach out to others in their organization.
We are fortunate to have an active and engaged client, and we look forward to continuing to work with Chavez through the remainder of the spring.
To learn more about Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools, visit their website: http://www.chavezschools.org/
Haynes Cooney has an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He works full time for IBM and lives in Arlington, VA. This is his first year volunteering with Compass.