By Marcus Honesta.
Trouble always seems to come in waves. Especially when it involves commercial television production. One thing leads to another and what was at first a small problem can, if left unattended, become a tsunami of disasters.
Earlier today, I “googled” the word “trust.” It was a sobering experience. After at least 20 pages there was no mention of anything like, “trust is a belief in something or someone”. That didn’t happen until page 27. There was a reference to mistrust. (A psychiatrist was offering help for people whose trust had been abused through infidelity or fraud.) There were all kinds of other trusts; financial trusts, businesses with “trust” in their name, companies eager to help you set up personal trust, and charitable trusts of every kind.
It begs the question, have we lost sight of what trust really means and how important it is in establishing business relationships that really work? This is what Warren Buffet had to say on the matter.
In life, all relationships are formed on the basis of trust. It is the foundation for all friendships and partnerships. There is no doubt the same dynamic should exist between clients and their advertising agencies.
Yet in my role as a production consultant one of the most common dilemmas I find is the lack of trust between the two parties. One has no choice but to ask the most obvious of questions; “why is it so?”
There is no simple answer, however it seems to me that much of the angst would be eliminated if the agency were to involve the client earlier and take them gently and thoroughly on the creative journey. The transformation would be astonishing. All of a sudden the problems that are faced become problems shared. The hurdles that have to be overcome are cleared together. Astonishingly there would be no more them and us, there would just be us. Animosities would disappear, partnerships would flourish and the workplace would be a joy to be in, not the spiteful, distrustful, combative battlefield it all too often becomes.
Now this view will no doubt be criticised by many as being far too simplistic, and childlike in its prognostication, however, maybe getting back to more traditional human values isn’t such a bad idea.
Repairing The Trust
The first step is to become fully aware of the nature and extent of the reasons for the breakdown of a relationship.
Once this is understood, then the rebuilding can start to take place. Both parties need to sit together and frankly discuss the issues and problems that exist on both sides. Trust me, the initial pain associated with this process will be richly rewarded in your future dealings. There will also be an extraordinary and enormous vote of confidence in recognising that a genuine attempt has been made to make amends and build a future together.
I recently sat through what was interestingly called a “tissue session” (TS). This was arranged after the completion of a very large project that had not gone as smoothly as it might have. The outcome of the TS was astounding. I genuinely felt that all the parties involved walked away believing there was hope for the future and a lot had been achieved in what was a lengthy and sometimes difficult session.
This brings me back to my original premise; take clients gently on the creative journey. Then, if problems do occur they are ours, not yours.