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Solicit complaints and open the door to opportunities.

HEYWOOD BROUN (1888-1939), the New York sportswriter, columnist, and editor who founded the American newspaper “Guild,” was leaving the theatre after a Broadway opening and met the producer at the lobby. The latter took one look at Broun’s suit, which was rumpled as usual, and said with some annoyance: “That’s a fine way to dress for my gala night. Your suit looks as if it had been slept in.”

“Since you mentioned it,” replied Broun, “Yes, I just woke up.”

How would you define the opportunity or opportunities in that situation? If you’re Broun or the producer, what would you do? The answer depends on where you are seated (or have slept). As one popular adage keeps reminding us — “opportunities come in work clothes.” They can’t be seen or if seen, you can’t appreciate it because they’re couched in the negative tense. They are undercover. But that’s normal. You can’t simply appreciate complaints, issues, or problems from customers, much more from bystanders. That’s the challenge. Fortunately, that’s where the fun lies.

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