If you had to choose between delivering awesome work to a client but have them not like working with you or delivering shoddy work but having them love you, which would you pick?
It’s a false choice, to be sure. You can accomplish both.
But if given the choice, I would take delivering awesome work and having them not like me.
When someone hires me, I’m going to put everything I can into doing the most amazing work I can for them, because that’s why they’re hiring me. I also have high standards, and I don’t want to be represented by poor work. No one hires someone to be there friend or bring them donuts (although I’ve considered hiring people to bring me donuts, in the past, to be fair…)
If I turn in awesome work, there’s a better chance they’re going to come back for more. They’ll also be more likely to recommend me to others. They worse they might say is, “while his work is amazing, I don’t think I’d ever go to lunch with him.”
Again, I realize it’s a false choice, and I try to accomplish both – giving a client great work AND a great experience working with me. I suspect that some people out there would rather like the people that are working for them, even if they get poor or even average work. But that’s not me.
If I were on the other side of the equation, I’d always hire someone who I don’t particularly like but delivers awesome work over someone who I really like that doesn’t deliver very good work.
In my view, we don’t hire friends. We hire people who can achieve the goals and strategies we’ve determined.