Why don’t we go back to good practices?

I remember the 70’s, my father was the vice-president of sales in a family owned medium sized hardware store back in Santo Domingo. Sometimes on Sunday, he would go to the office and took me along with him. I loved going because I always came back home with a new toy. The walls at his office hung portrait and messages saying “I love my competitors” and the “four-way test from Rotary International”, the latter being one of the guiding principles of that organization. He was a proud Rotarian and always tried to apply those principles in everything he did.

Today all those things look old and out of date, the word of a person is worth nothing and people do not keep agreements anymore. Companies in the race for a sale see the customers as simply numbers rather than people. Sound familiar? Like when you speak to a “customer service” representative from a telephone, cable or fitness company and agree to certain terms; just to find out weeks later that a “new” charge had been added to your bill without you knowing. There’s always a justification, but when it’s wrong, it’s always an “oh, I’m sorry” … Yes, most of the time the issue is resolved, but, what percentage of us call back to fix it? The truth is, companies play the numbers and all the time the percentage is on their side.

Good business practice is about principles and good companies must have good people. People that are capable of fighting for what is right for their customers, the company and their leader. Too many people at all levels in companies are not aware of their role. It ranges from janitors to presidents and vice-presidents. The janitor, for instance, sometimes doesn’t like what’s he is doing and spends years thinking to move on, just to find out years later that his time has passed and didn’t realize ‘the dirty corners’ that he left behind. And what about the vice-presidents? With titles and money in their pocket, they focus their career only on revenue, they transform the ideal approach they once had for this year’s bonus, and forget about others. What about the customers and the future of the company? Sadly, this cloudy mentality occurs too often.

Do you remember Eastman Kodak? They use to own the patent of the digital camera before they sold it to Apple and others. It was Steve Sasson who invented the first “digital camera” while he was working at Kodak in 1975. Perhaps, I am too hard with those executives, but isn’t one of their jobs to think of new ways to benefit their companies and keep a good image upfront? The tranquility of their salaries are supposed to make them think outside of the box and come with new ideas, right?

Coming back to my initial point, this country is supposed to lead the world in almost all aspects, and that is something, besides the recent political clouds, that is still happening. Take the FIFA scandal, as an example, near the end of May 2015, fourteen people were indicted in connection with an investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. This could be seen as frugal for some people, but for a person who comes from a country where the law is a commodity and the constitution is sometimes just a “piece of paper” the value in those positions of the United State is paramount.

As a general rule, this country is an example for all others; a point of reference. Why do the values that make this nation what it is, have to change? Why don’t the great companies and all us move again to those standards? No, the Politians are not the only ones to blame, we each have our individual share on this.

I’m not that naïve, but still I really think that this moment is to make corrections. Correct the wrongs at the schools, at home and make improvements at work from top to bottom.

Let’s stop blaming our boss for failures that could have been avoided if one was able to do it right the first time, but remind him that he has to do it right too.

This is not only the country of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates nor Barack Obama or George Bush; this is also the country of Joe the Janitor that cleans the desk of Bill Gates or Sarah the assistant of president Bush, if it wasn’t for them the others wouldn’t exist.

It is so simple that we all forget about it, why don’t we just go back to the first page of the book and read it again?

I am sure that if we begin to apply those principles again, Diogenes, yes that Diogenes, will finally find some hope in his search.

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