A friend–let’s call him me–recently had a bit of a hangup with a business relationship.

On a long-term project, there were some unavoidable setbacks.   My friend decided to work through them, hoping to get everything back up to speed…before the customer noticed.

It’s a funny thing, but customers like to look at status reports on long-term projects.   A couple of months after the biggest problem, the customer called my friend wanting an in-person status update.   They told him to be prepared for an uncomfortable conversation.


Now, the setbacks were truly unavoidable.   Things came up that were entirely outside the realm of my friend’s control, but he had to deal with them anyway.    When the problems were laid out in front of the customer, it went from uncomfortable to a discussion on how to expand the business relationship.

Transparency for the win.

Bad things happen.  Anybody who doubts this is clearly not equipped to deal in the adult (that’s adult in the “grown-up” sense, not adult in the “porn” sense) world.  Companies know that bad things can happen to derail a project.  They are going to be more interested in how you get the project back on track than anything else.

When things go wrong, be open about it.   Your customers/family/friends/one-night-stands will appreciate not having to wonder what’s going on.

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    1. So true. Transparency is important. As is education – in this case doing just what you did… explaining bad thing X happened, but that was because of A, B, and C.

      Glad your, errrr, I mean “your friends’s” situation turned out positively!

    2. Excellent advice! And, even if the outcome isn’t as good as yours, you sleep easier and you build a reputation as someone who can be trusted.

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