Sunday, 2 February 2014

Suit you sir?

A visit to my tailor highlighted to me the importance of trust and humility in professional relationships

ONE look in the 360-degree mirror was all it took to notice.

Tailor Anand has created fine bespoke suits for me for the past 18 years or so. Measurements were taken off my latest block – itself built up from the complex series of measurements taken by good tailors every two or three years. But at that first fitting, the jacket did not look right. It seemed to allow too much room in the girth so I asked Anand if he could tuck the waist in slightly to give it a more tapered look.

He stood behind me, gently put his hands on my 'love handles' and said: 'Mr Warren, I can work miracles with the fabric, but only you, sir, can work magic with these. I can do no more.' He turned me around, pulling the fabric tighter as I had asked, only to reveal two unbecoming bumps on my sides. I conceded the point and we continued the fitting.

As I was walking away I pondered the significance of the way in which plain truth had been delivered, kindly and without malice. I was not humiliated, upset or angry with Anand. In fact I was rather amused that he had, after all those years, felt that at that moment that he had the freedom to convey to me a misconception I had about my appearance in such a delicate manner. It made me think about the relationship people have with their money, their attitude towards it, their goals, their misconceptions, what outcome they wish for and how these factors may affect the decisions they make. To use as a metaphor, how the suit would land up fitting.

Do they take the time to establish what they want it to look like, how they want it to fit? Do they invest the time working to convey this to the 'tailor' and, more importantly, do they have a tailor they trust? That fitting galvanised me into losing two stone and I have gone back to have a new block made and have shared with Anand what he had inadvertently done for me, in making me realise that I had as much of a responsibility to him as he had to me. He could have made me look as good as he could; however without my input I doubt I would ever have been truly satisfied with the result. So it is with investments: the professional and their client must interact if they are to achieve the desired outcome.

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