The lighting “bully”
Perth, 17th May 2010
When I graduated for my masters degree in industrial design at the University of Delft in the Netherlands ages ago, my professor had spotted a weakness in the presentation of my graduation project. The panel assessing my project had questioned me about a part of my project that obviously was not too convincing. They had rightly spotted that it had a few “holes”. Though I graduated successfully my professor later took me apart and said: “Martin, next time you decide to lie, do it convincingly! We would have bought any story told with confidence but your hesitation and obvious discomfort with the subject gave you away!” He said it tongue in cheek but it was well meant and had a lot of truth…it has stayed with me forever since.
My point today is that we face our clients everyday and present our work to the best of our ability. But we do come into situations where we know we are missing a part of the story or we have not really had the time to complete what we intended to. Yet we have to face up to the client. Generally the truth is the best way to go and we take the consequences on the chin. But sometimes the client may not really want to know the reality. They hire us for our competence and want to feel that we are in control of the task entrusted to us.
So we “bully” ourselves through the presentation with confidence and reassure the client all is well and under control. It is a judgment call which one can only make with experience and the knowledge that you can actually make good on it. If you can’t, it is always better to face the music straight away rather than to be found out later. As you grow and train your staff it is crucial they understand the distinction between “bullying” your way through with good intent and purpose rather than bullying your way through for pure personal ego and satisfaction.