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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
Posted By Bakari

On the popular TV show "The Office", the branch manager is a bit of a doofus.  He's not all that bright, he is totally obsessed with having his employees like him on a personal level, and he has very little knowledge of actual business or management theory.
He makes his superiors wring their hands and shake their heads - but the thing is, his office's sales record is the best in the company, so despite his many, many faux pax, he always keeps his job.

Nobody can quite figure out how he manages to do such a good job in spite of himself.

Even though he tells them quite clearly, time and again.

He considers his employees family.
He wants his customers to feel cared for.
He is more interested in making people happy than in making money.

You can't learn to be community based and to value clients as actual people in business school.  You can't use the idea of caring about people and being friendly to increase the bottom line, because if your interest is in the bottom line, you are genuinely interested in people.  You can't fake authenticity. 

Its either about the love, or its about money. Once you start thinking about rate of return ratios, receivables balance fractions, risk-adjusted profitability, or marginal value-added pricing structures, and all the other things one learns in business school, you are far beyond the point of seeing every person you work for and every person you work with as numbers.

From there it is a very slippery slope to the scenario described by "Jack" in Fight Club: If the cost of the average rate of settlement times the expected rate of failure is less than the cost of a recall for a known deadly manufacturing error, we don't do the recall.
In the end it comes down to morality.  Its either being moral, or maximizing profit.  They are mutually exclusive.

No business is going to have as their slogan "All we care about is your money", and a lot of them try in ads to sound like it isn't true; for any public corporation it is actually illegal for them to consider anything else above the bottom line - if they tried the shareholders could sue. 
For the vast majority of companies jumping on the band wagon, being environmentally responsible is a marketing gimmick as much as a catchy jingle.

Thinking in terms of doing productive work for society while earning fair compensation, as opposed to thinking of how to maximize revenue while minimizing costs will not (always) lead to the highest possible profits.

It will, I think, mean that business actually increases while the rest of the country is in an economic downturn.  It means getting so many referrals its necessary to turn jobs down after going a year and a half without any form of advertising.  It means when, inevitably, mistakes are made, no customer ever makes a claim, because they realize they are not just numbers, that every attempt to be careful was made, all actions in good faith. 
It means that quite a few of my customers make me meals while I'm working.

If a job is a paycheck, it will show through to the customer, no matter how you try to hide it.
If I am ever in a position to hire anyone, my first question will not be about education or experience or abilities or references.  My first and most important question is just this: Why do you want the job?  If its about pay and benefits, no matter how qualified, its "next please".

It has to be about the love.


 
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