Letters from HiZen
(This is the seventh letter in the series)
September 2, 2011
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How are you? I hope you are doing all you can to adjust to all the Culture Rules you have been reading from my letters.
Culture Rule 6: "Define the game and know its rules, if you want to play" must be making sense to you right now? It is a lot to take in; I understand completely.
This is the next and final culture rule:
Culture Rule 7: "Check it again, you need to be sure."
As simple as this culture rule may sound, it is one of the most powerful culture rules of all. I take a lot of things for granted. In fact, I used to make fun of people who have a habit of cross checking
things such as their car engine oil, the house security, even the children in the bedroom. I didn't realize that violating this law would cost me dearly one day.
That day was when the owner of the supermarket I worked in, over 60 years ago, asked me to make a presentation to a bunch of South African investors who we wanted to become partners with the supermarket.
They were well connected and very resourceful.
In fact their partnership would result in the supermarket having many branches all over South Africa. It was a huge responsibility and privilege. I was given a full month to prepare for the presentation.
As I can recall what happened, my boss gave me some financial documents to give to the investors. These documents contained profit statements for the past 10 years. These documents were the selling point
that I was to use to win the investors interest and business commitment.
The day of the presentation had arrived. It was to take place at the supermarket boardroom, 9am prompt.
I left the house at 7am with the intention of getting to the office as early as possible. I decided to take a shortcut to beat the intending traffic that always builds up around 8am. The short cut had a
lot of twists and turns; the road was very bumpy and the area was often isolated.
As I drove through the short cut, my car climbed over a bunch of sharp edged rocks. All of a sudden, I heard a loud noise. I quickly stepped on the brake and got out of the car to check what happened... I had a flat tire.
"O dear, O dear, not now, please not now." Those words raced through my mind as I quickly ran behind the car to open the boot and quickly get the spare tire, only to be shocked again; there was no spare tire.
I began to recall moments when my wife would remind me to get one each time I drove the car out. I recall getting a spare; I just could not remember where I had put it.
We didn't have mobile phones in those days like you do now, so the option of calling the office was out of it. Furthermore, the shortcut was isolated and not too many people would take it that early in the morning.
It was already 8am and it seemed like I had only one option left. I had to run to the supermarket. If I start running now, it should take me about 45 minutes to get there. There was only one problem;
the financial documents were also in the car, thus, running with them would slow me down but I didn't have a choice. I had to take the chance.
I left the car behind and ran with the documents under my armpit as fast as I could, hoping by some miracle, I would get there on time.
Unfortunately, it took me longer that I had anticipated. I arrived at the office at 9.45 am. My clothes were stained with dirt and sweat.
Dear Child, you should have seen the look on the faces of my colleagues as they watched me approach the boardroom. "YOU'RE IN TROUBLE" echoed in the air.
My boss had managed to keep the investors busy while everyone searched for me. They had even gone to my house, only to be told I had left at 7am.
I apologized profusely to the guests for my lateness and how I looked. I did my best to give a good presentation but the financial documents were rough and stained with dirt. My boss had to show them the
original documents, which they all shared.
We had given them a good impression with the financial statements, but a bad impression with the kind of personnel the supermarket tolerated.
The supermarket got the deal, but I was suspended for 2 months without pay.
Dear Child, I assumed many things and it almost cost me my job. That experience got me the last letter, the Letter N, which stands for Never Assume.
Letter ‘'N': NEVER ASSUME
It is so risky to take things for granted, never taking the time to check it again to be sure all is well and in place.
Culture Rule 7: Check it again, you need to be sure.
So, I had all the letters and their meanings:
F : Facts, not just Opinions
"Make sure what you know is complete and correct"
A : Ask the Right and Best Source
"If they don't qualify, don't pay any attention to them"
S : See in Systems
"Know the story behind the story"
T : Think and Act the Best Way
"Respond to the situation instead of reacting to it"
I : Inquire, Expect, Prepare, Move
"Define the Game and know its Rules, if you want to play it"
N : Never Assume
"Check it again, you need to be sure"
I had discovered the Culture Matrix 'FAST(IN)' but I pronounced it 'FASIN'. The word came from the 1st letter of every command.
Observe it again: (F.A.S.T.I.N)
Dear Child, FAST(IN) was going to take me on the wildest adventure I could ever imagine. FAST(IN) existed everywhere; business, office work, marriage, relationships, parenting ,money, health, students,
school..... the list goes on and on.
I will begin to explain it all in my next letter.
Please meditate on the full meaning of FAST(IN) again, they are all very important. You will need to know them by heart if you want to use them.
Remember, your Culture is everything.
--- Copyright © 2011 HiZen-3 Ltd
This story is a series of letters written by Segun Cadmus, Manager, HiZen-3 Ltd, a company created to be the Ultimate guide in Culture Management at work and life. Please visit us at: http://www.hizenworld.com for more information about what we do.
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