Control, Influence and Adherence

This is the fourth in a series of twelve blogs that provide insight and tips on managing client relationships.  In this blog, we’ll discuss issues and solutions associated with  Control, Influence and Adherence.

Control, Influence and Adherence

When managing relationships, you will often make an individual impact, and other times need to go with the flow.

You have the greatest degree of control over your own behavior, both in how you conduct yourself and how you respond to client preferences.

You can exude influence over the efficiency within your team. Your level of cooperation, responsiveness, and unselfish contribution will greatly influence project outcomes and customer satisfaction.

Unless you are high up on the leadership chain, you will need to adhere to the majority of cultural doctrine.  Over time, your contribution on the individual and team level can have a positive influence here as well.

Regardless of your level of control, influence, or adherence, you will always enhance client interactions through awareness, a positive attitude, and proactive behavior.


  • The only person’s behavior you can change is your own.  If your client routinely shows up late, wasting everyone’s time, ask what you can do to schedule meetings at times the client has fewer pressing demands.
  • Avoid blaming the institution for disappointments in project outcomes.  If your company’s antiquated computer system accounts for delays and partial deliveries, suggest ‘work arounds’ such as out-sourcing some printing or scheduling heavy data entry early or late in the day.
  • Always look before you leap – understand implications of your behavior.  If your enthusiasm to gather project data motivates you to directly contact all stakeholders on the client’s side, hold off.  Consult with your primary client representative in advance to be sure you won’t be over stepping your bounds, violating client protocol, and complicating the relationship.
  • If your choice of action will not improve client interactions, reconsider.  If your response to a client’s over-use of acronyms and buzzwords is to resort to the same approach, take a deep breath before you RSVP.  Perhaps compiling a directory of technical terms and acronyms for the entire team will have a better impact on the relationship.
  • Don’t complain, offer constructive criticism.  If a team member is challenged by the workload and always late with the deliverables you need, respond with suggestions for time management rather than negative comments.

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