November 5, 2010

5th Ace

The year must have been 1982. Location: the building of a holding company in Istanbul. For the last 4 days and nights I had been working sleeplessly with one of my colleagues in the company to finish on time the feasibility study concerning a factory investment in Saudi Arabia. In the late afternoon of the 4th day the general manager of our company told us to participate in the 10th year celebration of the holding company, which was to be held on the upper floor of our building. Although we were unshaved and unkempt,  we followed this request.

The main shareholders of the holding company were of course there. At one time during the celebration one of them approached us to ask why were we looking so dishevelled. Waiting for some congratulatory words of “well done”, we explained to him about the work we had accomplished and told him that we had spent all of the last 4 days in the company. With his unique style he said, “That isn’t so spectacular. I have worked many times for 5 days long without sleep”.

That day, for the first time in my life, I understood that 4 aces are not always sufficient and that your employer can show you the 5th ace in the business life. After I left this holding company I established my own companies, so I did not face the 5th ace from any employer again (except for the various aces shown to me by my partner during the last 25 years… :-)…). My clients, whom I consider to be my employers, have also tried a few times to show me their 5th ace, but they were not very successful. :-)

If your company is going into a partnership with another company and if the management of your company will be controlled by the new partner, then you will have an ‘employer’, to whom you will report as an employee of your company. It is helpful to be prepared for the 5th ace syndrome before the beginning of the partnership. That is why we work together with our clients to increase their resilience during the negotiations with the prospective partner. Whether or not to make use of the gains they have made during the negotiations, after their partnership, is naturally our client’s decision.

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