Anyone out there with unquestionable business morals?

Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand

Are there any gentlemen with unquestionable morals left within the business world?

One would certainly hope so, with a large scattering of ladies too, I daresay. So where does the line between morals and “it’s just business mate” get crossed?

Well, there is no definitive answer to that because it will depend on a whole variety of situations and scenarios.

One of those scenarios is the human factor — what feels wrong to one person does not to another, and so the lesson was taught at a recent coaching session.

I wanted to go one way but the client most certainly wanted to go in the opposite direction. As strange as this may sound, this makes for very healthy business coaching.

It allows for exploration of both sides, it allows for that devil advocate approach and, usually, a plan “C” emerges that is acceptable and workable by all.

If you are wondering on which side of the equation I stood — moral or “it’s just business” — well, let’s just say I was on the business side, with a spattering of moral fibre and big chunk of it’s best for the public. There was no plan C at the end of this one. There will be a plan A/B if we are lucky.

Here’s the story, and you can decide which way you would have gone (I strongly believe neither way is right or wrong).

Imagine this — two small rural towns, far enough apart to house two businesses with the same franchised products and not compete for clientele, but close enough that one could service the other if the need arose.

One of these businesses is run very professionally (and not just because they have a business coach) and the other is not — hence they are struggling to pay the bills, could not pay wages last week and the town is rife with gossip about all the reasons why, most of which are only fit for daytime soaps.

The good business has been watching and waiting, and the bad business has got itself into a hole that is unfillable.

One of the roles of a prudent business coach is to look at the big picture, the long term, the opportunities and the potential.

So this very forward thinking coach said okay, it’s time to act. The answer came back — “not until his door is closed and locked for good”.

Coach said: “you’re leaving the opportunity open to others and, while waiting, missing dollars. But if we act now that will be the nail in his coffin. The lid’s shut mate and the all but one screw is down and countersunk.”

Get the picture here? Going back to paragraph one, where is that moral line and when does it become a sound business manoeuvre?

To put another angle to it, for the investment of a van and driver (which is close to being needed already for the good business to carry on growing), there is the potential for $5000 plus a week income with no increase in fixed overheads.

Yes, we need a van and a driver, and some initial marketing, but this had already been budgeted for.

There will be some ongoing marketing costs but, in a small town, word spreads very quickly — maybe too quickly, hence the bad business losing all its local support — or was that the “wild west lifestyle” the owner had adopted?

Oh, and another point — the product and service in question here is seasonal and the season is fast approaching.

The client’s side of the story is simply “it’s not fair, I would hate somebody to do that to me”.

Totally commendable and morally just. I really like this client, but timing is everything.

So what do you think? Let’s run a poll, simply because Bill and Jacinta are running polls on a daily basis.

But we can do it on way more important topics than health, poverty and water taxes.

Text me A for the moral stand and B for the time is now, and I’ll let you know the results next month. 021 280 8679.

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