We all must make choices on a daily basis. Some are simple. Some are not. Some are dictated by circumstances. Some are dictated by physical limitations. Some are “pre-determined” by choices previously made. Some are determined by the limitations we set consciously or unconsciously. Some result from decisions others make. Some from the code of conduct or belief system we personally hold for ourselves. Because others make one choice, our own choices – due to our beliefs, practices, principles, rules, perceptions, and experiences – become narrower. We could choose differently – we choose not to.
We choose where and when to do business – location and hours. We choose the kind of business – products and services. We choose how we will do business and with whom. All those choices have implications – near term and long term. The choice we make today to get by and pay the bills may prevent us from doing business with someone else tomorrow.
Many choices you make may seem to be “harmless”. They seem to be small things such as choosing to deal with a business or a person who you have been told has acted in “bad faith” with another individual, a person who has been a reputable strategic business alliance with your business. Suppose a strategic ally, someone who has increased your revenue and reputation, has taken the time and trusted you enough to provide a confidential negative “reference. The ally has said, “Don’t do business with this person because . . .” IF you then decide to do business with that person, what are the possible interpretations your strategic ally can make on your decision to do business with that entity?
- You didn’t believe me.
- You don’t care about that kind of behavior.
- It couldn’t happen to you.
- You would have or have done the same thing.
- You don’t value the relationship with us.
- You don’t have very sound judgment.
- So what, who cares about you – this is all about me and what I need.
Choices, so many choices. We have to decide daily who will be the best business allies. Who will be able to help us grow our businesses – directly and indirectly – today and tomorrow. We have to get through the short term to get to the long term, but we cannot sacrifice the long term for the sake of short term gains. Our choices cannot be based on desperation when our logic is dictated by our desperation to find the revenues to pay the expenses we are incurring. We make bad decisions when we fail to make our decisions in a context of long term objectives.
Long term focus takes planning. It takes making the choice to make plans, not fly by the seat of our pants, to work on the business and in the business. In order for a business to have long term strategic and financial success, it must have perspective on how short term choices move the organization:
- In place/status quo
when it comes to the long term vision of the business. Strategic choices as to who you do business with and who you don’t. How you value your relationships past and present. What you will and what you won’t do as a business practice. How you price your products and services. Where you do business. When you do business. The terms and conditions of doing business. The choices you will make in the face of the choices others make. All make the difference.
There are many choices which organizations either overlook or look the other way when encountered. What direction are you looking? What choices are you making when you encounter these choices made around you?
- Conflicts of interest
- Hostile work environment
- Wage and hour (failure to pay overtime)
- Worker misclassification
- Failure to pay or file taxes
- Immigration violations
- Securities violations
- Intellectual property theft (including customer lists and contact information)
- Falsifying documents (changing dates, creating documents after events to provide support of events and dating as if they occurred at the time…)
What messages do you send within your organization and outside the organization by the choices you make? IF you fail to treat your workforce fairly and compensate them for overtime worked, do you believe everyone in your organization will make the right choices for your organization 100% of the time? IF you do business with someone your strategic allies have put on the “do not do business with” list, do you think you will continue to be on their “do business with” list? What are the consequences of choices – direct and indirect? What choices did you make today? What will they lead to tomorrow?
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