“Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?” – Andy Warhol
I believe it was Dilbert who pointed out the two most important rules of business. First, the customer is always right, and secondly, they must be made to pay for their arrogance. Obviously, I don’t subscribe to the latter, but even so the principle that those who pay the bill can do no wrong is hard to swallow sometimes. In the interim management sector one particular foible of potential clients that annoys me is when they ask the question “Point to the role on your cv that is identical to our requirements”.
It irritates me on a variety of levels. To start with, I am rather offended that it reduces three decades’ experience and education to a mere parrot like ability to repeat myself when requested. Then it displays a smug assumption that the client has actually understood their problem correctly in the first place; that thirty year career that I just mentioned leads me to strongly believe that is rarely the case. And thirdly, there is an internal inconsistency; the reason, as they will inevitably explain, that they want you to demonstrate that you’ve done exactly the same before is because they, their company and their issue are all unlike anything else that one will have come across.
In fact, forget Dilbert, the management guru they really need is Murray Walker, as in “the lead car is unique, except for one behind it which is identical”.