Small Decencies

Years ago, John Cowan wrote a sweet little book. In it, he described a subtle but important element of consulting, Small Decencies. He describes a prospective client who asks him to meet the following morning at his office, which is a three hour drive away from Cowan's home. Cowan agrees, since the prospect is a friend of a satisfied client, and gets up at 3am to make the drive and the early meeting.

Arriving, he finds the only parking lot several blocks from the prospect's building. Once at the building, he takes the elevator to the designated floor, only to find no receptionist and no cue where to go from there.

He sits.

And waits.

Some time after the appointed hour, the prospect appears, running late, and quickly sets about explaining his difficulty, which he hopes Cowan will agree to help resolve.

Cowan feigns regret, but just can’t fit this engagement into his schedule.

He explains to his readers, but not to the faux-prospective client, that this client failed his dedication test; he neglected to attend to the small decencies. Slip over here for more ...