Sneeringly, they called it the school report – their annual Appraisal Interview at this prestige lighting firm which insisted on asking clients to award each consultant a number of points out of ten for every single input, including meetings. But one of them, Waheed, came round to seeing the benefit of this points system.
Waheed’s job was to design lighting schemes and then sell them to the client. Somewhere he’d picked up the idea that the presentation was the main thing, and that he should try to look, act, speak and dress in an unconventional style that spelt Creative.
If he did that, even quite an ordinary lighting scheme would be made to look better than it was, and could be charged at a premium price.
So he paid little attention to the schemes themselves – just dashed them off quickly and casually, then changed into one of his crazy suits and ties for the big meeting, where the client would be dazzled and certain to eat out of his hand.
But the Appraisal Interview showed that he’d misjudged his own talent. All this detailed research was able to show that his presentations were generally not popular (apparently clients found him irritating), but his lighting schemes were rated very highly indeed.
What he hadn’t realized was that those quick, casual sketches represented brilliantly simple solutions to difficult lighting problems. He was some kind of Picasso of circuitry and optics. And when he was taken off presentations and kept at the drawing-board, his ‘points out of ten’ soared impressively.
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