One time I was involved in some civil construction work. Through it I met many artisans, equipment and materials vendors and all kinds of professionals.
I had one artisan/sub-contractor who I will call Tunde. He was very good at his job. His English was not perfect, but I understood all his text messages and quotes. He could use technology. He would proactively shoot me pictures to explain a point and show progress. He was very loyal and supportive. I came to trust him because he had many opportunities to cheat me or withhold what belonged to me and each time he passed the test with shinning colours.
But he had one problem. Let me explain.
Whenever we went out to select materials together, he would agree with all my choices.
“Oga this one good. I like am”.
“That one too sef good”.
“Yes, you fit take this one too if you like am. E fine well well”.
Me: But I bring you here because na you be expert. You need to tell me the reason why one better pass another one so that I go fit choose”
Tunde : OK Oga. Which one you like out of all of them? That one? OK. Na im fine pass. Make we buy that one. E go last and e fine.”
Very exasperating, to say the least.
So I stopped taking him out to select materials. I would ask him for the qualifying parameters prior to my store visits and then just go out and make a choice.
Then I would return and say “Wetin you think of this one?”
Him: Ah, Oga you get taste o, you sabi better thing o! This one dey very good. Na the best one”
And when I make an obvious error in giving work direction? He would not correct me. So it happened that we spent a lot of money to buy a material that was not suited for the specific application it was to be used for and it failed. It cost money and more materials to remove it, get a different one and return to the site. So I asked him how come he later spoke like he knew that was going to happen. Yet he watched me through the decision phase to implementation and never stopped me or expressed a word of caution? Did he know how much that cost us in time, money and opportunity?
Tunde: Oga no vex Sir. I no want make you vex. I too believe you. I too small to correct you. Who I be for where you dey?” No vex Sir!
Me: Your job na to work for me and also advise when I dey go wrong. If you continue like this I go terminate our agreement and get someone else. Make you no fear me abeg. Na you know your work pass me. Na you be the expert. I go listen to you. Na you dey see wetin I no dey see. Dey tell me as e be every time abeg, you hear?
Tunde: Yes sir!
It was a work in progress still. Sigh.
SAN
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