When people change on you at the last minute what do you do?
At a meeting with a company director and another consultant to finalize details for an important presentation to the board, I was put on the spot. I had been contracted for a seminar on communication and the other consultant was presenting his data. It had all been planned for months.
The board meeting agenda was passed around. Instead of the seminar I’d prepared, I saw that I was now scheduled to talk on change for 30 minutes and to co-ordinate the whole meeting. I was rather taken aback by these last minute changes. I’d been changed on without any consultation.
I reviewed my options. I could refuse to accept the changes, since they were outside what I’d been contracted to do. I could get angry with the client and walk out. I could just go along with the change to keep the peace without any protest, though fuming inside. In the end I decided to speak out to the client and work on a solution. In a calm manner I told the client that I was unhappy with the change and lack of notification about it. The new subject wasn’t one of my speaking subjects and I’d already prepared a whole seminar. We negotiated and came up with a solution that worked for both of us. My prepared seminar would be scheduled in at another date for an additional fee.
By working through being changed on in a calm and confident way, we came to a solution that benefited us both. The client got what he wanted and I got another work opportunity. I established the boundaries of what I was prepared to do, but was flexible enough to accommodate the client’s wishes.
Change does happen. Everyone gets changed on sometimes. We can choose to handle these changes without losing control. By being open and honest about your boundaries, but at the same time being flexible, you can make change work for you. I ended up with additional work and a satisfied client. It can be far more useful and important to maintain a working relationship than to stand on your rights.
Being changed on is outside our control. It happens. What we can control is our response to the change. Find ways to make the change work for you. Resisting the change is unlikely to be of any benefit. Change can be positive if we let ourselves go with the flow and create new opportunities because of it.
When were you last changed on?