Rungs of the Ladder: Becoming a Client’s Trusted Advisor

Stephen Hammel recently joined LDG as Vice President of Business Development. In his 35-year career, Steve has contributed to the development of several billions of dollars’ worth of design and construction across a spectrum of programs, ranging from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to healthcare systems, universities and airports.

Steve has what he calls a “rungs of the ladder” philosophy when it comes to client relationships. “As consultants, we need to know the company, their people and what they need. We need to understand the purpose of the project. A client might say, ‘I need the water to turn on’, but our role as consultants is to go beyond that task and find out what the project does for the organization. Once we understand the purpose behind the project, all the rungs of the ladder line up.”

Hammel says looking at a client’s big picture can prevent rework and increase efficiency. “We’re not just a client’s design firm, we’re their trusted advisors. We want to help clients do what they do better,” he said. “If you go to a doctor with a sore throat, and they treat you for that symptom without looking for the underlying illness, they’ve failed you. It’s our responsibility to help a client with their larger issue and not just an individual task.”

According to Hammel, when a consultant acts as a client’s partner, “they know we’re not just looking for more work. In fact, we’re trying to save them time and money. But it’s more than that—we provide good service, deliver on our commitments and meet deadlines. That’s how you earn trust.”

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