I remember my first handful of weeks at my last role. I used the term "raison d'être", a French term meaning "reason to be", so many times that every time I brought it up one of my co-workers would roll his eyes, as if saying "oh man, not this again..."
I use that term to describe not the work we do, but the overarching reason why we do the work we do. Every role in the organization, from CEO down to the Jr. developer, needs a strong raison d'être. It gives one the drive to pursue goals, progress, and excellence. Personally, it gives me a reason to be passionate about the work I do, and passion is infectious.
The role of a professional services team is to service clients, work with internal teams, and be the bridge between the two. From the definition of "what" we do, we can infer the "why".
Why do we work with clients? We work with our clients because we want to help them solve their problems. But we can't solve their problems unless we understand their business pain. Getting to the root of the matter, really digging deep to understand why clients have the pains they're having helps us develop accurate solutions that doesn't just solve symptoms, but helps scale away the pain they're experiencing.
Why do we understand business pain? We want to develop solutions that accurate attacks and solves that pain so our clients continue to view us as objective trusted advisors, and not just people throwing the kitchen sink at every problem. We want our clients to know that we're not just here to ask questions, but continuously deliver the right solutions that solves their specific pain, not just any generic pain in the market.
Why do we want to be trusted advisors? We want to give great advice because we want our clients to know we're in the business of building great partnerships. We're in it for the long haul. We care about their pain. We empathize with their problems. We're not here as a transaction to strip away a symptom, but a partner to help them solve a long-term business pain.
Understanding business pain, being objective trusted advisors, and building great relationships may sound like part of a song you would here around a campfire, but it's important to remember that at the end of the day clients are people too. People like to be treated like a fellow human being rather than just another part of a transaction, even if we're interacting on a business level. Especially if we are interacting on a business level.
Oh, and I'm sure the reason for the eye rolls wasn't because my co-worker disagrees with the raison d'être... it may have to do with the frequency of which I used the term.