In "Confessions of an Agency CEO" we find some interesting questions about the nature of client relationships and whether that "good" vs. bad dynamic is associated with good work. I quote the passage I find most interesting below.
The Lesson is similar to the Zappos example: in a well-run company, culture often trumps strategy.
It’s often said that clients get the work they deserve. What separates
the truly good ones from the awful?
I am big believer that, whether they want to admit it or not, agencies are defined by their clients. A client’s willingness or desire to do interesting or innovative work is what’s going to help you or hurt you in your attempt to create successful campaigns, build a portfolio, win awards and recruit new talent. The client’s culture invariably rubs off on the agency. It’s important to consider this going in to any new relationship. Good clients are secure and accountable individuals, who know what they need to do and can give clear direction. They stand behind their word and defend their position. They don’t hang the agency out to dry at the first sign of trouble. Good clients are secure enough to take risks and are not afraid of being wrong. They trust the agency and can effectively manage from a distance, which allows the agency to focus on delivering a great product, not managing an erratic client. Bad clients, conversely, are insecure, political and weak. They are afraid to stand up to their peers and bosses. They try to make everyone happy and get incremental credit along the way. Making great ads is secondary to their petty need for constant validation. Their insecurity and weakness leads to fear. And the fear leads to constantly second-guessing their decisions.