Bad tasting envelopes

Becoming a partner in a professional firm is viewed by some as a big deal. I mean, you’re supposed to be a big shot now right, schmoozing with clients, barking orders at staff, leaving the office early to play golf. How did we ever get that image in our heads?

I’ve been Brent’s partner now for nearly three years. Yes, there is schmoozing, but no, no barking at colleagues, and I don’t play golf. What I can tell you though is that the “new-ness” of it all has worn off a bit and no matter what level of accomplishment you think you may have achieved there is always someone out there ready to straighten you out a bit. For me that person is Brent.

Last weekend Brent sent me a text (yes we occasionally communicate like teen-age girls) asking me if I had time to do the weekly A/P check run. Being the good junior partner that I am I texted back “OK” (followed by “LOL”). The following Monday morning I went right to work.

As anyone who has processed A/P knows some vendors provide remittance coupons and envelopes for your payment. And as anyone who has sealed those envelopes can you tell you, some of them don’t taste very good.

Well, I had one such experience and from a vendor I am otherwise very happy with, but the bad tasting envelope left, quite literally, a bad taste in my mouth. I found myself getting irritated at the vendor. Surely they must know that their envelopes taste bad! Didn’t they care that their envelopes had an offensive taste?

I let the whole thing roll around in my mind for a day, thinking perhaps there was some greater pearl of wisdom to be learned from these bad tasting envelopes. “Such a small thing…” I said to myself, and then I got it. Yes, it was a small thing, but how often is it the small things that matter most? In business it turns out quite often.

Now this bad tasting envelope had turned into a learning experience for me. More than that however, it is now a symbol of the experience I don’t want our clients to have with me or our firm. Are we perfect? Certainly not. Can we improve? Always. And the road to improvement starts with awareness…or in this case bad tasting envelopes.

Here’s to the future when I get to delegate paying the bills to someone else!

About the Author
Geoff Chinnock is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our Business & Accounting Advisory practice. To get in touch with Geoff, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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