Ask Us Anything 4

We occasionally answer listener questions and this one from Michael Ryan was too juicy to resist: why isn’t my client making the clearly logical decision to save money?

Jonathan and I tackle the various behind-the-scenes reasons why your clients make decisions that don’t appear logical:

The role of trust—in you, in the process and their ability to carry out your recommendations—in choosing their course of action.

How differing perceptions of risk and the fear of change can drive organizational decisions.

Getting behind surface reactions and digging more deeply into the “why” behind client decisions.

The relationship between time, value and urgency as the client perceives them.

How the perhaps invisible—but still deeply entrenched—internal politics of your client’s situation may play out.


“Straight up fear of change—where there’s a perceived risk—it feels scary. Or distasteful. People just don’t like change.”—JS

“Forget what you think is the right decision—just try to get to the bottom of what the client’s fear is about. By asking them some of those deeper questions, you may be able to uncover something that isn’t on the surface.”—RM

“Sometimes it’s that they do trust you and they’re not afraid of change, but they recognize that it (your recommendation) could fail.”—JS

“If the person who’s making the decision doesn’t reap any of the benefits, they’re just not interested in putting their head on the chopping block.”—RM

“Maybe the person who’s making the decision is new and hasn’t got the political capital to do it.”—JS

“The whole theme of this is don’t rely on your logic. Because your logic doesn’t matter. It’s how the client looks at it—it’s their perception of the situation that is going to drive the decision.”—RM

“Money is only part of the investment. There’s also a time investment for any project.”—JS

“This is not about being manipulative. It’s just really digging in to their situation and trying to understand what their life is like inside this organization.”—RM

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