One little secret in federal government business is that clients, especially prospective ones, can sometimes drive contractors up, and over, the wall.  It’s hard not to take non-responses personally and, even when you do have a good basic relationship, the pace at which feds move can be challenging to those used to commercial market dynamics.  Sometimes problems are internal.  While they nominally have nothing directly to do with you, such instances can disrupt the fulfillment of your important project.  Just in time to help with these “personal personnel” issues is a column in from Harvard Professor Steve Kelman.  Kelman says up front that federal agencies may have more than their share of personnel issues.  He cites tips from an executive coach on how to work with difficult people, whether they’re in your client’s organization or on your team.  Attempts at reconciliation are one suggestion, while partnering together to navigate a crisis is another.  Whether you use these specific tips or not, it is clear that contractors will run into difficult people and situations.  Having the right tools to deal with them is essential.