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Edition 388 – The Weather Forecast

Back 20 years ago, when I was a partner in a four partner practice, with an office in Sydney and another in Adelaide, Nick Matsis was one of my business partners. I often referred to Nick as the wise, old sage of the business, even though, in reality, he wasn’t that much older than me. It’s just that his ability to sit there and see your issue from a different perspective, helped me to gain clarity at a time when a solution may have seemed well into the distance.

Nick is of Greek heritage, and on one particular day, I was relaying the story of a difficult person in my orbit. For the life of me, I can’t recall whether it was a client or an employee. However, as we’re in the meeting, and discussing the issue, and the individual, Nick made a profound statement that has stuck with me to this day.

Once I drew breath, Nick piped up. “You know” he said, “there’s an old Greek saying that, loosely translated into English means, ‘you can tell the weather by the first thing in the morning’”.

As I sat across the table, I must have given him some sort of quizzical look. So, he explained further.

“When you wake up in the morning, pull open the curtains, and the sun is shining, well, generally, it’s going to be a nice day. Correct?”

“Similarly, if, when you open the curtains, it looks miserable outside, then it’s more likely to be a lousy day. Correct?”

At each asking of “correct”, I nodded my head.

“Well, the same applies to those people that come into our lives”. He then proceeded to articulate that, if early on in a relationship, things aren’t going well with a client, an employee, a supplier or a colleague, then, more often than not, it’s an early indicator of how that relationship will pan out over the longer term. Similarly, if it starts out well, generally, it’s a good early sign.

I’ve tested this theory over the years, both in the businesses that I have owned and operated, and with the clients that I have worked with in their own businesses. Well north of 90% of the time, the theory works.

So, next time, when you onboard a new employee, and their attitude isn’t quite right, or they turn up late, or they have a habit of not finishing what they’ve started, remember, “you can tell the weather by the first thing in the morning”.

Similarly, if it’s a client who won’t listen, or argues the point on what you’ve charged them constantly, or is disrespectful to you and your staff, remember, “you can tell the weather by the first thing in the morning”.

And, whilst each of those are examples of a negative weather forecast, I’ve now lost count of the number of times, over the past 20 years, where the weather forecast has tuned out bright and sunny. The energetic, interested employee that listens and contributes; the client that listens to your advice and their business moves forward; or the colleague who genuinely values you and your contribution to your industry, and wants to work with you for the mutual benefit of each of you.

In my opinion, 90% is a pretty good strike rate

This Week’s Tip

Words. Actions. Body Language – they’re all great weather indicators.