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Consulting starts early. At least it did on that first day, with a team kickoff meeting at 7:30 a.m. Held in a conference room on the seventy-second floor of the HGS building in downtown Chicago, I suppose the purpose of this meeting was to get to know other members of the consulting team and to share our initial thoughts about the client. I was also looking forward to the breakfast I assumed would be waiting in the room for us.

I arrived at the meeting room twenty minutes early. Nothing like creating a good first impression, I thought to myself. But, in truth, I was too excited to stay at the hotel any longer. I’d been waiting for this morning for over two years, and it was finally here. I planned to flip through my notes ...

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