Mentor, mate and business colleague. David Ong, who works for Infor and who I am always happy to recommend, arrived into Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur this week and called me for a catch up.
It was a welcome visit for me to share my visit home to Australia to see my new grandson baptized.
At a usual out of office retreat at the Soi 8 bar, over a beer and some dinner we went on to discuss amongst other things, business opportunities and issues we have getting good consultants.
One issue we work hard on being able to differentiate is our value. In the end be-it in sales or service we know being a good consultant is about being able to add more than just information messenger or contractor value.
Becoming expert in our field for best value we both know works, as long as we know what is worth. As we talked David reminded me of a good old story about knowing the value of your expertise.
It was about a ship captain who was paying very port high fees after his engines mysteriously failed and he got stranded in port.
All efforts to restart them had failed, even after several high tech equipped experts were called in to get them started. As the port charges mounted the captain became even more frustrated, especially when an unlikely looking older guy arrived with a small tool box and began to work on the problem. On studying it for a few minutes the guy took out a small hammer and gave just a ding sized hit on one of the valves.
“Ok try to start the engines now” he called to the skeptical captain. To everyone’s surprise, as the first mate passed the order the engines sprang to life. Incredulous glances were shared; grateful high-fives were exchanged.
Later, a bill arrived for $10,000.00. The outraged captain exclaimed “All he did was hit a valve with a hammer, this bill is ridiculous.” as he asked his mate to get it itemized.
The old consultant responded with a breakdown that read: “Labour to hit the valve with hammer $10. Knowing where to hit: $9,990.”