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When I first started consulting, I got kicked out of quite a number of offices and I quickly understood why. The reason is that a company is a reflection of the person who runs it and it takes on a character that reflects his or her personality traits.

All well and good, but when things go wrong and the consultant gets called in he’s going to start pushing buttons that hurt, because what’s wrong with the company is what’s wrong with the boss. This is true of all of us in business and as none of us is perfect, our businesses will suffer from our imperfections.

My wife, Helen, recently came on board at the office and it is quite amazing how her different character has highlighted mistakes that I make without even being aware of. For instance, she pushes me to get two quotes for anything, whereas I would normally just accept one quote on the assumption that the person presenting it is going to be reasonable. Sometimes the quotes have differed by almost 100%. There was the guy who quoted about R8 000 for some carpeting work at the office. I paid him the 50% deposit and then Helen told me I was mad. I phoned him and told him he was mad. He immediately dropped his price by R1 000. I said he must refund the deposit and only then would we talk. A few days later he called and offered to do the job for R6 000. I still insisted on the refund and he paid up. So now we can do a proper job and get two quotes. Can you imagine how much money I’ve wasted in the past?

What’s the solution? I don’t know. I guess just being aware is a good start.

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