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Some Consultants Are Priceless


Good morning lovely people

We’ve had our fair share of business coaching and consultants over the years.  Sometimes it has felt like going to the doctor after a late night party when you knew all along you should be sleeping it off.  It’s a waste of money to pay someone to tell you what you are not honest enough to tell yourself.  When you really need a diagnosis, the network of trusted people around you, are the ones that will tell you the truth.  Our senior team and a few external advisors keep us on track and we love them for it.

The money we’ve spent historically has had a few positives, definitely not £ for £ of value but we’ve slowly absorbed the good parts.  I often wonder whether these parts would have occurred naturally through hard work and learning from our mistakes?  Surprisingly the most beneficial part of the advice turned out to be marriage guidance.

Family businesses have a whole different dynamic: generational power struggles, sibling rivalry, conflicts of vision, marital discord etc.

I married Victor because he made me laugh.  I know now he was just like Rocco. Yes I’m comparing my husband to a dog.   They are both so excited to see you, even if it has been months, they remember.  If anyone raises their voice both would be off. Confrontation definitely isn’t for him.   You’ll find both of them sitting next door on Nonna G’s sofa.  When your partner is best at being happy and your job can leave you in tears, the lesson is not to ask your husband to do your job just get him to do his and amazingly the problems get sorted, with the help of a great team supporting us all.  That took me decades to figure out.  A happy Victor is good for business.

Our “counselling” taught me the value of different skills. These skills are amplified and celebrated the most when we’re at our busiest.  I’m more impulsive, which often gets me into trouble.   Victor is far more gentle.  He’s our Mr Culture.  For the first 15 years I didn’t value how important culture was, the immediate commercial needs because the focus and for a time it tripped us up.    What I love about August are the visitors that we get to meet year in and year out.  Outside Contini George Street last week, I ended up chatting to a lovely lady, Jill. Her family have been visiting Edinburgh for the Festivals every year for almost thirty.   The question I always get is “How’s Victor?”. Stories followed of a photo of her, now 18 year old, daughter aged two with said Victor. So many people have crossed his path we once got “I’m a friend of Victor” badges made (if you’ve still got one let me know).   His skill of connecting and sharing are indeed priceless.

There are many consultants, Victor’s mother had the most important of all.  She carried three still born babies full term. RhD negative mother and RhD positive babies. The anti D immunoglobulin hadn’t been invented which now avoids similar tragedies. Nonna Olivia, on religious grounds refused to abort any pregnancy, at 41 this last one could have taken her life. The consultant advised of a high risk but new ground-breaking technique.  The baby would be sectioned at 24 weeks and given a blood transfusion in the hope of saving both lives.  60 years later, the baby that is in the British Medical Journal as the first to survive such a procedure, is our darling Victor.  We will forever love that particular very special consultant and the team of medical staff who helped save two very precious people.

You know I tease him lots and comparing him to Rocco may seem harsh, despite similar grooming budgets, but watching him unconditionally share happiness with others makes me love him even more.  He was 60 on Tuesday. As a partner in life I’m truly blessed to have him as my better half at home and at work. 60 is the new 40.  Rocco is keeping him young. My couch and my coach, my support in every way.

Coincidentally, lovely Alina shares the same birthday as Victor.  Virgos must be the most beautiful people.  Happy birthday to two of our stars.

Keep well and keep laughing, both are priceless.


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