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4 Principles I won’t drop in 2012

Posted by mynormas on January 2, 2012


  1. As a paid consultant, I should not take commission from suppliers.
  2. I must follow The Golf Course Superintendents’ ethics of never pitching to the GM without knowledge of Superintendent.
  3. I must teach my clients the details.

1. Commission, a cut or whatever you call it.
I’ve always believed that I should not recommend specific products to clients. I’ve wanted to be known as an independent consultant so I believe that when I am hired I should recommend only the active ingredients,  formulations or specifications that in my opinion will help to solve my client’s problems. I have had suppliers who asked I recommend their products; I couldn’t. Having said that, I have also had clients, who admit their ignorance and gave me instruction to recommend a specific supplier or product. I have done that, giving more than one name, if possible. And in more than one instance, the succesful supplier has offered me a commision; I have always refused, except for one time when a grateful supplier traveled all the way from Ipoh to deliver a hamper, I didn’t have the heart to say no.

Well lately, I have been made to feel stupid for not taking part in this lucrative … ‘trade’. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that for a one-off, pro bono or free work, I should get paid by the supplier who I recommended.  Except that, I didn’t have the heart to do that either when given the chance. After all, the supplier is a friend anyway. Maybe I am not cut out for this business. Should have stuck to taking a salary.

2. The ethical part
Many years ago, as the Vice President of the GCSAM, I wrote a set of ethics. One of the ethics said something that I (or any other superintendent/supplier/member of association) should not offer advice, or service to a golf club without the knowledge of the club’s superintendent.

Honestly, it would have been easy enough to go for a round of golf (or drinks) at a golf club, ask to meet the manager and offer unsolicited advice. That could put me in a good light and maybe do the opposite to the superintendent.

Should I care? I mean, of the 200 golf courses in Malaysia, there are only 40 superintendent who are/were members of the association. Chances are, the superintendent of the club that I could afford to offer free advice are not a member of the association anyway.

3. Hold your knowledge tight
My wife, who has seen me work, feels that I teach too much to the people I work with to the point that those people feel they know enough that they can work without me. She feels that I should just stick to telling them to do something without teaching the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’.

That should be easy enough. Some client’s staff feel that they don’t need to know and some want to find fault anyway. So why bother.

4. The race card
This may sound alien to non-Malaysian readers. I have always considered myself a Malaysian first. I have always thought that I should be considered for the job because I am the best choice due to my skills, my knowledege and my experience.  It hurts when a couple of weeks back, a supplier/competitor suggested that it was easier for me to get clients because of my race.  She promised to meet me to discuss so I did not press the matter further over the phone conversation. But it was a shock, after all, if anything, I thought it was the other way round – that is, the only way I can make it as a consultant in Malaysia was if I was John, Michael or, at least in one instance; Chong.

But no, this is one principle I can’t do without. After all, I left one company because I felt that it had ‘preferred’ race over ability and I convinced a partner to change the company name from Australian Turf Management to Advance Turf Management.

All in all, 2011 has been a disappointing year for me and 1st January 2012 found me in a slightly depressed mood. Perhaps some changes are in order. I’ll have to do more marketing work for sure. Maybe I should drop the ‘halo’, do what other people are doing and stop being such an uptight a$$hole.

Maybe its time to change in 2012.

 

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