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« A New Year - New Potential | Main | The Social Challenge for 2009 - Scaling Relationships »

January 13, 2009


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Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius

"Analysis paralysis"... most of us have heard this term before. There is a time and place for KPIs, ROIs, procedures, policies and etc (I am business operations person, I am all about those metrics and guidelines). At the end of the day, you can't become Zappos, Google, Opera, and other great companies if you hide behind numbers and formulas.
If your people are not encouraged AND rewarded for doing the right thing... well than don't be surprised when competitor poaches your customers in droves.

Rachel, I hope you will write more articles with as much passion as this one. There is a level of evangelism needed for mainstream businesses to "get it" some day.

Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius


Thanks for saying this, Rachel. It certainly needed to be said! My current (large corporate) client seems to speak only in $$, but it's me that needs to step back, stop buying in so completely, and remember that I'm still working with human beings. I need to be realistic and speak in financial terms, but it's also appropriate to trust.

Matt Roche

I have been a CEO for over 12 years. In each company, we have done the right thing to the best of my ability.

However, I have discovered in working with clients that doing the right thing is inevitably more expensive and uncertain than spending more on marketing and lobbying.

The longer you can continue doing the *same* thing, and selling it better, the more profits you wil l make. Sure, the chickens come to roost eventually, but that is what monopolies and bailouts are for.

Jen Zingsheim

Balance is truly the key. A while ago, I worked for a national retailer of high-ish end furniture. "Do the right thing" was a core part of the training for every employee, and all, even the seasonal holiday staff, were pretty empowered to do the right thing for customers. What some saw as giving away the store (no-hassle return policy, even on furniture) made for happy customers.

Problem was that some just saw the direct hit on the daily bottom line instead of the "ok, the client returned that sofa, but they were happy with the experience (and quality) and might be back to buy a dining set" or whatever, they became fixated on making up the revenue number, sometimes making bad decisions because of it.

Metrics are important, but any time people get *too* wrapped up in numbers, they can sometimes start to miss the bigger picture.

Like so much in life, balance is key. Your point about personalizing business is important. I heard an interesting story on NPR last night about a guy who is spending an entire year not buying anything that he can't put a face behind. Very interesting experiment. I think social media can serve as an extension of this, if used correctly.

Matt Roche

To clarify my point above - I will still choose to do the right thing (when I know what it is!), but I believe that it is not rational to expect that all CEOs will given what I described above.

Rachel Happe

Hi Matt/Jen - thanks for stopping by and leaving your perspective.

I think I'm struggling with something that many senior executives struggle with as well - which, as Matt alludes to, what is the right thing in certain circumstances? Sometimes there is not much choice.

By stating 'Do the Right Thing' I am also not suggesting that companies bankrupt themselves - what I'm suggesting is that if customers have a problem, you hear them out and try to help. There are a lot of ways to do that.

Kind of gets back to my "Expectations - Reality = Satisfaction" Set the expectations that you can deliver on given your business model and be honest about it with your various constituents.

The best any of us can do is be honest and transparent so that those around us don't get unnecessarily frustrated and angry.

I've been an executive and I've made some mistakes in this regard as well...but try to keep my eyes on the prize in terms of what I owe others who are working with me...and I've been in a couple of situations that I couldn't be transparent and that has made me feeling exceedingly trapped.

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