Monday, November 05, 2007

Viewing a Bigger Picture

Black BeltsI'm nearing the end of the training process for my next Black Belt. As a part of that process, I've had to complete weekly homework assignments. Most of the requirements were about putting in a certain amount of time in practice, but there were one or two assignments which were written or artistic in nature.

This week I have to write an essay about "Why I deserve my black belt."

Our instructor, Master Jason, has assured us that the reason for the assignment is not that he requires convincing. The real reason is that those of us going through this intensive training are in danger, at times, of focusing on the process and losing site of the underlying reasons we are going through it.

I think there's a similar situation when someone wants to build or renew her business's website. She hires a professional web design team, works with them for weeks or months to design the "perfect" look, helps write content for the site (or hires a professional writer like my friend Deb Merion of SPARK Communications), and finally launches the site. The process can take so much time and focus that the business owner forgets that the site is not the end product, but rather simply a tool in the effort to maintain better communications with her customer.

This is also how many sites run into trouble. The business owner, focused so much on the process, tries to make the site appeal to her as opposed to her client. Often a professional designer can help steer her clear of this, but if she won't listen to the designer's advice, then the site often fails to deliver (or at best delivers poorly) on its specified goal.

So, has it ever happened to you that the client insisted that he new your job better than you? How to you guard against that?

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