Key Business Buyer Issues

I promise that my blog will not promote any personal political beliefs. However; the recent events surrounding Rep. Mark Foley have my blood boiling and serve to reinforce my long-standing belief that most politicians are losers and would fail miserably as business owners. The allegations against Rep. Foley make me sick and if true, they should lynch him but there are equal numbers of his associates who bear responsibility.

There’s a HUGE lesson to be learned here about running a business and dealing with issues, large or small.

Apparently, rumors of his inappropriate behavior began to surface in September 2005 (see the timeline In typical Washington fashion these allegations were swept under the rug with a simple warning to Rep. Foley who naturally claimed there was nothing wrong. A number of his fellow representatives were aware of a “situation” and did nothing. Again, this is all hearsay at this point, and hopefully, the truth will surface; it always does.

So how does this relate to running a business? When an issue arises in a business, the boss cannot simply turn a blind eye or even leave it to the process to work its way through. It doesn’t work. From small acorns oak trees grow and any series of minor missteps in a business can spell disaster. Customers can be lost and never retrieved for example.

Ross Perot, the founder and former owner of EDS, which was sold to GM years ago described the differences between EDS and GM as it relates to potential hazards after he began to work in their culture for a while after the sale. At EDS he said, if someone sees a snake, they kill it. At GM, they form a committee to study snakes. The lesson here: if there’s a problem in your business address it immediately. It won’t go away. It will grow exponentially, and could severely impact other parts of the business. The worst thing you can ever do in business is to do nothing. Sometimes, even a bad decision is better than no decision.

Getting back to Rep. Foley, I only hope that this matter is treated like a business decision and not a politically motivated one. Unfortunately, when you add the upcoming elections to the mix, there is sure to be an attempt for all involved to point fingers, and cover their rear-ends.

Wouldn’t it be a welcome change if the situation is handled just like a top level business leader would take care of the matter if it happened at their company: gather the facts quickly, assess the impact, determine who involved had the opportunity early on to confront and remedy the situation, who else turned a blind eye and did not attack the matter because it wasn’t their job, and then fire all the culprits!

In business, you cannot let your loyalties bankrupt your company. You have to make tough decisions everyday. Get used to doing it now, because it’s part of the fabric of business. Great leaders have mastered the art of making major decisions.

The responsibility in business or politics must ultimately stop somewhere. In business, it’s the boss. In the Foley matter, it’s whoever is in charge of the pages and failed miserably to ensure their complete safety. While the system failed, somebody has to pay. These are children we’re talking about. Rep. Foley will pay a huge price and deservedly so. However; he’s a symptom; the disease needs curing.

As I am writing this, I see the resignations have begun with Kirk Fordham a Congressional aide being the first to “resign” (that’s Washington talk for the party needs to get rid of somebody and hopefully the fallout will end).

That’s it – that’s all.


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