Saturday, October 28, 2006

Good Business, Bad Business

I was reading Seth Godin's blog today. Seth wrote "Purple Cow", "Free Prize Inside", and many others. His post was short and to the point. He criticized anyone who takes the viewpoint "It's just business". After all, it's OK to lie, cheat, and otherwise treat others poorly to succeed in business, because it's "just business".

Seth hit the nail right on the head when he said that he wouldn't ever want to work with someone who had that viewpoint. Just look at the numbers. Assuming you work only 40 hours a week (and who does that anymore?), you are at your job for more than a third of your waking life, and that doesn't include commute time, lunch breaks, weekend and evening "overtime", and all the other spare cycles we spend thinking about work when we aren't at the office. How depressing would it be if we chose for that time to be a morass of amoral (or immoral) activities? How long before it poisons the rest of our life?

One of my Karate teachers over the years, the great Timm Rowton, maintained that he wouldn't even speed. As far as he was concerned, if you have to rationalize or use the words "I can get away with it", you were on a slippery slope. I think it's the same for our businesses. Let's face it. You might be able to "get away with it" in the short term, but eventually you are going to hit that speed trap and your customers will know exactly what kind of business you run.

And then they won't be your customers anymore.

So, what businesses do you know of which display a level of integrity which is second-to-none?

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