The Client Is God. (And So Are We.)

In most major religions, God is on the throne. As long as that priority is followed, everything flows smoothly from there.

Another way to view this – which is espoused by the major Eastern religions – is we are all one. This is especially true when the definition of an agency is considered.

An agency, by definition, is not a supplier to the client. It represents the client. It works on behalf of the client. It is, in effect, the client. Most professional service firms' long-term self-interest will be improved if they adopt this "agency" mindset.

We exist as one with the client. What is good for them is good for us – for we are them. We are their agency – not a supplier.

At The Phelps Group, we believe that what is truly good for the client, will, at least in the long term, be good for us. Any attempt to put the needs of our firm over those of the clients' is short-term thinking at the expense of our long-term success.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were caught between the orders of your company’s department head and the client's needs? That conflict of interest most often exists because of a flawed organizational model.

By demolishing functional departments, you help assure that the client’s needs are always on the throne. Then, no one ever has to question who they work for. You know you are working for the client.

Using The Phelps Group as an example of how this works: There is no account management department and no director of client services. So it's always crystal clear to our team leaders and managers that they are working directly for our clients. There is no media department and, therefore, no media director. Our media specialists know that they work directly for the client (and client team) they serve.

Our most experienced people with proven abilities to do and teach – who would be department directors in other organizations – are our coaches. When our specialists need additional thinking from someone else in their discipline, they’re encouraged to seek it from whomever they wish and, of course, their coach is often their most qualified consultant.

But the coach doesn't mandate the answer. The specialists report directly to their team and their client(s). There’s no doubt about for whom our specialists work.