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It only takes one ... As a reader of this blog, you’re probably a switched-on operator with an eye for detail, a superior work ethic and a low tolerance for nonsense. Is it not maddening, therefore, when despite your most careful and comprehensive efforts, very important things go awry due to someone or something down the line? Ad Nauseum This happened often during my brief stint as an ad agency account manager. One memorable time concerned the first issue of an expensive newsletter for a large new client. The copy was flawless. The photos were magnificent. The layout was swish. The paper was chosen. The whole thing was client approved. The printer ... stuffed up one of the colours. And so we missed deadline. It was Christmas. My cast-iron delivery promise was shattered. I looked bad. The agency looked worse. And the client was furious. You do all you can. But we still rely on the skills and integrity of others. When people or processes fail and there’s nothing you can do (or could have done) to prevent it, it’s enough to rot your socks. Flowery Language Today, as a sole trader, I’m solely responsible for my errors (and excellences). I was reminded of the bad old days, however, by a recent Christmas overture. A very large insurance company sought the attention of a very senior corporate executive. After sustained and complicated exertions, the two parties were finally united. Delighted, the insurance company wished to commemorate the event and cement the relationship. A reputable florist was chosen. A huge bunch of flowers was selected. A beautiful message was crafted. The expensive order was phoned through. The florist employee who took the call dutifully wrote the card. In loopy, child-like writing. With sincere regards from ... pubblic Affairs. Chain of Fools We’re only human. But that’s cold comfort when someone torpedos your best-laid plans with an innocent (or otherwise) error. Sometimes, when I get over my distress at another catastrophe, I marvel at the tiny, unforseen elements that brought me down: The bodgy font file. The jammed photocopier. The empty toner cartridge. The Mac / PC glitch. The late courier. The missed freeway exit. The mistyped account number. The wrong post code. The thunderstorm. Have you experienced similar frustrations beyond your control? What’s the smallest thing that brought down your biggest thing? I’d love to knwo. Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire
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