In business as well as in our personal lives, we make difficult decisions – and unfortunately, we don’t always have (or take) the time – to think through the outreaching affect our decisions have on others.
Some may say (to themselves) they don’t care about others when they are facing difficulty, but if you are out there, LISTEN UP. There are even SELFISH reasons to focus on the impact we have on others.
A short story;
An executive for a medium sized service company called and asked me for advice. Here is his story.
This executive was very stressed when he called. After a general discussion of the state of his business, he described a bid he was considering. He needed this account, he thought, but I saw it as bad revenue. Business that would have long term negative effects. He was already struggling financially; had a tremendous amount of employee dissatisfaction and turnover and didn’t know how to get out from under the mess he had created (his words, not mine).
“This bid is HUGE”, (he said) “and can save the company, but we need to go lean”.
In the his industry, payroll is his largest cost. So, what do you think he was planning? Cut staff, reduce wages and tighten the margins.
Now, on occassion that may be necessary and the right thing to do, but not in this case. He was planning to price far under a competitive rate for the position and he was already skimming from the bottom of the recruiting pool.
Further, it was not as if he had an amazing culture that made up a dime of those poor wages. He had problems; he needed to make changes; true….but he was going down the wrong road.
In his desperation, he was willing to add to the high expenses of employee turnover and poor morale. I believe he already knew it was the wrong decision but needed to hear this play out.
This was the perfect storm for the type of disgruntled INTERNAL poison that eats through our relationships, business practices and business outcomes. Imagine already struggling service levels after adding to the pain. Talking through costs of startup; turnover; risky margins; reputation; and many more areas made this an easy decision. Hey, at least there was no performance bond!
This man may have NEEDED more business. But truly not THIS business – At least not the way he believed he should have price it.
Am I suggesting that we should pay to extremes, never make reductions and give up bidding on those huge and somewhat risky contracts? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I totally understand the need to be competitive and to push past comfort levels.
BUT (ouch, here it comes) we need to make each decision CONSIDERING the 3 critical parties in any organization. The customer, the employees and the company. Yes – all three! Because, when any one of those three take a big hit, it probably will not end well.
He wanted my advice, and here was: Of course you must get aggressive when bidding many contracts. But first, consider this Winx3 … 3 parties, three wins, very powerful.
p.s. In case you are wondering, the story was some time ago, and the company is doing much better. Oh, and no – he did not bid on that account.