Archive for March, 2009

“Please wear suits when you visit customers” was the boss’s instruction to Ritesh, who had joined us recently. Ritesh was supposed to travel with me for an assignment where we had to solve a few critical problems for the client. The day before we left, I accompanied him to this upmarket mall, where he got himself a brand new suit. Though it burnt a royal hole in his pocket, he was extremely proud of his latest acquisition.

We reached the client’s location and pored over their processes for the initial couple of days. On the third day, we were supposed to give a presentation with our findings to the client. Ritesh thought that it would be an ideal day to unveil his new suit. “Your suit looks great” I remarked. Eager to give him an opportunity and also because I was lazy, I offered him the chance to present our solution to the client. Ritesh was very happy with that and thanked me profusely.

He began the presentation very well. I was impressed with the way he was saying “We need to identify the root cause of the problem.” This sentence is a cliche that needs to be a part of every consultant’s vocabulary and I was glad that he was up to speed quickly. After 45 minutes, we broke for coffee. I appreciated Ritesh when we met at the loo and he seemed quite eager to wrap it up well. After the break, everyone assembled at the conference room, but Ritesh was nowhere to be found. After a full 10 minutes, he came rushing into the room. He apologized for the delay and completed the presentation. Afterwards, I asked him what was wrong.

“You know what” he said “In the loo, my zipper got stuck. I was not able to open it.”

“What!” I exclaimed “Its a brand new suit, right, that too the premium brand in town.”

“Yes man. It took me some time to figure out that the cloth lining had got stuck in the zipper. Initially it seemed funny. But later on, I started fearing for my future generations. You need to experience it to believe it. Frustrating, you know!”

“Probably, you needed to identify the root cause of the problem faster” quipped a person from the client’s team. It took quite a while for the guffaws all around to subside.

But Ritesh was not impressed, neither with the joke nor with his new suit. Then, as a good team mate, I had to quote the incident of my jeans getting badly torn at the wrong place while I tried jumping the railway tracks at Bangalore Cantonment station to liven him up again. Suitable, no!

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