Another lesson

Yes, it is about life and all the endless learning episodes thrown at us, disrupting a form of a routine often taken for granted and yet definitely confirmed as fragile as a hatching baby bird. It is a mix of Charlie Hebdo, the loss of a parent, the craziness in Nigeria or the end of the Google glass. Sure, these events present many political, social and economic dilemmas (of various degrees of intensity, obviously), for the ones willing to reconsider their viewpoints, they all offer a challenge to the status quo.

Speaking with a client earlier today, I underlined a few skills learned on the spot to get through some of the harder times, not just in logistics: pointless to take anything personally, and essential to remain calm when possible. Pretty simple theory, indeed. Now, since one of the areas I consult in is procurement and contract negotiation, another element to this canvas made itself much bigger lately: the terms and conditions. Those are what makes an agreement solid or plain loose. I know I am stating the obvious, and I still witness so many examples of people, and companies, falling into these cracks, it is disturbing.

Did you learn anything?

Did you learn anything?

Assessing and mitigating risks is a language I hear more of, and that is a good thing. It is painful to go through those risks: identifying them before signing anything is actually the bigger legwork. Look at it as an investment, with a return one can evaluate fairly easily. Of course, it takes time, and rushing everything (ever heard of last-minute?) often leads to an unpleasant situation when comes the time to address what was initially overlooked. Buy or rent something, hire someone or get hired: regardless of the side you sit on, get a comfortable chair before committing. Get some legal advice if necessary (yes, that too might be hard to swallow: believe me, it is part of the investment).

One of my counterparts on a project had been suggested to grossly agree on a visual inspection: flat out, he declined, knowing all too well that his name, his company and his job were on the line, constantly dealing with various authorities. Hat off to him for knowing the T&C’s of his contract, and his legal obligations. Some industries are still relying on a good old handshake and all is good… Until it no longer is. If you want to get paid, delivered or simply work within legality and save time, stress and money, even if I understand one wants to experience first hand, that kind of lesson can be costly, and does not have to. Seriously. I never know what kind of person / organisation I get to work with, I still minimise sour discoveries with some homework, and past lessons learned.