“My Desk, My Mess, My Business”

The Garfield post-it pad on my desk that reads, “my desk, my mess, my business” constantly reminds me that we as individuals and businesses all have messes we must confront. The important thing is to identify the messes quickly, figure out the solution, and make sure no one outside your company ever knows there was a problem. If you aren’t running into any challenges, you probably aren’t trying hard enough to grow, expand, and improve.

As consultants we are brought into challenging situations our clients are facing and need to be effective problem solvers. Here are three situations where clients brought us in to help clean up the mess.

  1. A customer gave our client the lowest satisfaction score possible and said they would never work with them again.
  2. Half of the participants in a sales incentive program did not complete the online registration and therefore could not begin participating.
  3. A client wanted to streamline the way it brought new products and services to market but the current system included 21 processes and several owners with distinct needs.

Comments Welcome!

Tell us what you would do to help as a consultant in these situations. Check in this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to see what steps Ideba took.

-Stephanie Vanterpool, Research Director

3 replies
  1. Ideba
    Ideba says:


    Ideba asked the customer to participate in a 1:1 interview with us as a third party and requested their honest feedback on their experience working with the client. In taking the time to talk with her we identified her main areas of concern and how they could be improved.

    During the interview we also learned about her passive communication style: she wasn’t speaking up about the problems she saw. We worked with the client to set up weekly touches between the customer and her account manager so that she has the opportunity to voice her concerns and have them addressed instantly.

  2. Ideba
    Ideba says:

    The client set up a test account to allow Ideba to try and complete the registration. After recording the time it took to register and noting problems with the user interface, we scheduled a call with the vendor managing the website and shared feedback on how to improve the existing website. We also added materials into the on-going campaign (to promote the program): an html e-mail and drink coasters that would go directly to participants. These marketing materials outlined FAQ about the registration process.

  3. Ideba
    Ideba says:

    Ideba interviewed all constituents that would be impacted by the new process, and “clients” that would be directly impacted by the new process. Ideba, then used these findings to shape a new single process that was ultimately automated using Web forms and Microsoft SharePoint technology. The new consolidated process drove approximately $5M in annual cost savings.

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