Things in business or life rarely turn out exactly as you thought they would. They’re rarely what you expect.

The other day I was working on a customer project that relied on two third party companies for help. My experiences of dealing with the two companies, and the opinions I formed about them, led me to the following conclusion. One company – let’s call it company A – was going to help me out and it was going to be a fruitful exercise. The other – which you’ve probably guessed is company B – probably wasn’t going to oblige too much.

As it turned out I was completely, 180 degrees, wrong. A didn’t go anywhere and B was superb.

It reminded me that even though you can go into things with a positive frame of mind, hoping that all engagements will work out for you, you can often get your assumptions wrong. While it’s great to act on a hunch in the absence of anything solid to go on, we have to check our facts where possible, speak to people and see things through. I’m sure there have been many times when I’ve said to myself, ‘why didn’t I get to this before, why didn’t I speak to them sooner?’ Is that true for you too? If so, it’s probably because things are rarely what you expect.