With todays economic challenges every business owner, operator, manager and employee face decisions that potentially cross ethical standards. When faced with seemingly overwhelming odds we all have the urge to react quickly and take any measurer possible to avoid pain. Unfortunately many times these decisions are not thought through logically or rationally, and often they’re made without consideration of the long term effects.
Transparency in business today is becoming a reality at a very fast pace. So before you make that choice to throw your colleges under the bus to save your own reputation, or place orders on credit accounts knowing you will not be able to pay the bill, think again! Are you being true to your nature? Who are you hurting to gain personal satisfaction? Are you making an ethical decision your comfortable having the world know about? Like it or not with the power of today’s electronic media (the web) that news will spread fast, and it will tarnish your reputation both personally and for your business for an infinite period of time.
To give you an example of this I sent an employee down to our local oil change shop on Monday. (Now because I’ve not finished working with the shops management to resolve this issue I will avoid posting their name in this article) I explained to my driver that he was only authorized to get the basic oil change. I also explained to him that they would try and sell him everything under the sun, however just to get the basic oil change. The ethical challenge the service person faced was this; a man drives into the shop and asks for a basic oil change (and he speaks broken English). Now the technician is responsible for selling upgrades to consumers; so the technician goes through the standard procedure and pulls the air filter out, recommends its replacement, then recommends several other services based on manufactures guidelines. The man says “well if it’s covered”. So the technician has two options 1. Tell the man its “covered” meaning yes I can bill your account for the services, or 2. Take the time to explain no it’s not covered under the cost for the basic oil change you’ve requested, however yes I can bill your company’s account for the services. They could really step up and further explain (because it’s quite obvious there’s potential for a misunderstanding) the oil change you’ve requested has a cost of $19.99 however if you select to have the additional services performed the cost will be $111.39.
What do you think?
In my experience it is not always necessary to take these extra steps to pinpoint every line item. However whenever there is a language barrier or the potential for a misunderstanding, you face a new challenge. Do you take the extra steps to make sure they fully understand, or do you think “this is an easy sale” and simply push through it? Have you thought about the long term effects?
It has been disheartening to me that just in the past week I’ve seen several similar scenarios play out with other business owners I know. So keep this in mind; short term thinking will only provide short term results. Long term thinking will provide long term results. Sound simple? How many times have all of us forgotten these basic principals?
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Chris S. Founder & Senior Partner
Maximus Ladd Consulting, Speaking & Adventures.
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