The Consulting Thing – Part II
By Lyle R. Hill
To be totally candid, I wasn’t quite sure how these “Consulting Thing” articles were going to be received. I mean, after all, who am I to be telling anyone how to run their business or their personal lives for that matter? But to my pleasant surprise, they have been well received and even generated several comments. And not just ordinary ones either, but comments from some very bright and influential industry leaders. People like Tom O’Malley, Don Keller, John Wakefield, Art Langston, John Keating, Heather Crews and Doug Studt sent e-mails while others called to encourage me to keep up this Consulting Thing series. A few of them even sent in suggestions for me to use. One from Doug Studt, was “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” That’s pretty good. Of course you would not expect anything less from Doug. John Wakefield took exception to a couple of my suggestions, but he’s from Arizona so I ignored him. All that sun and heat does stuff to you. So with all of this in mind, I have decided to add one final round to this consulting series thing and then I will move on.
1. Always Tell the Truth … and I do not mean “half-truths” which are often as bad as lies. A reputation for honesty will take you a long way in life. And remember this saying by George Bernard Shaw … “The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he can-not believe anyone else.”
2. Always Maintain Your Control and Composure … In other words, Keep It Professional (KIP) at all times. I know there are times when you would like to scream at someone or maybe even smack them in the face, but never let your-self get to that point. When you lose control of yourself, you have lost any chance of controlling the situation.
3. Keep Pedaling … my father, Lyle Alvin, knew more cute little sayings and platitudes than anyone I have ever known. When I was a kid, one of his favorites was “the only time you can coast is when you’re going down-hill.” I quickly responded with the concept of coasting on level ground with a brief explanation of the laws of inertia to which he simply replied, “you know kid, sometimes I worry about what’s going to become of you.” By the way, Lyle Alvin was the kindest and most honest man I ever knew. I had great respect for him.
4. Don’t Waste Your Time … on bad people, bad customers, or bad suppliers. One of my friends says he often puts at the bottom of his correspondence that goes like this … “I don’t regret my past, I just regret the time I spent with the wrong people.” That’s priceless!
5. Enjoy Life … and if you are not enjoying your job, quit and try an-other one. Like now!!!
6. Chase A Goose Every Now and Then … a wild goose that is. You might be surprised at how it turns out. There have been probably 8-10 times in my life when I went after something where the odds were incredibly against having any success. But they all came out quite well. As I type this, my son, Patrick, and I are chasing a bit of a wild one and I think we’re going to get it. It will be a good reminder to me and a good lesson for him. Also, even if nothing is caught, sometimes the chase is worth the fun.
7. Make the Call … be a decision maker. Often a bad decision is better than no decision because the soon-er you find out something that you decided to try is not going to work out the way you thought it would, the sooner you can move on to the next possible solution. I really don’t like dealing with indecisive people. They will burn you out in no time.
8. Expectations … you need to try to manage the expectations of everyone you deal with. And you need to manage your own. You do this by being honest, forthright, and most of all, doing what you say you are going to do. Under promise … over deliver.
9. The Extra Mile … another of Lyle Alvin’s sayings was “you’ll never find much traffic on the extra mile.” Actually I think he used to say “you’ll never find a traffic jam on the extra mile” but either way I think you get the picture. There were times when I used to think he was a little wacky, and maybe he was. But for a guy with only a ninth grade education, he was probably one of the wisest men I ever knew.
10. Read Ecclesiastes … on part two of this consulting series thing, I suggested you read the twentieth book of the Bible’s Old testament (Proverbs) and nobody complained or criticized me for this so I now suggest you read the 21st book which is Ecclesiastes. I read this book (which will take you about 15- 20 minutes or so) at least twice a year. Good for my mind and my soul.
Lyle R. Hill has more than 42 years of experience in and around the auto glass industry. He is currently the directing manager of Keytech North America, a consulting firm, and is the co-founder of Glass.c.om
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