For those who do not know, a stylesheet, AKA CSS, is used to help define the look and feel of a web page. Check out the CSS Zen Garden for some great examples of what CSS can do.
While working on a recent project I noticed that the incredible web page I created did not look quite so incredible at the customer’s site. Some things would be off by a few, or not so few, pixels or images were just not showing. To make a long story short their MOSS custom master page called a custom stylesheet which changed the way of a lot of stuff I designed worked. I did get everything working and looking right but it did not make me look quite as good to the customer as I would have liked. I should have gotten a copy of their master page and stylesheet before I started designing. So much for first impressions!
This experience can be used in real life. While people and companies do not have stylesheets defining how things look and feel they have corporate standards and just “that is the way we have always done it” that do. While your job as a consultant or even as an employee is to do the best possible job possible you need to understand that the company’s “stylesheet” may make what is “incredible” to you not incredible to them. You may want to create the world’s best web site using AJAX, JQuery, Silverlight, and many other buzz words but the company is still on I.E. 6 or may not authorize the use of Silverlight. Your job is to make your “incredible” work in their “stylesheet” and perhaps make recommendations and suggestions as to how to change. That is what changes the consultant to a trusted advisor.