The Reality Mirror
I believe the aim of a business should be to provide a differentiated product or service which after deep reflection your customers would still recommend to their mothers.
It encompasses developing a sustainable cash-flow, developing amazing stakeholder relationships, allowing leadership to shine through wherever it arises in the organisation and running the company in harmony with what is. By this I mean there is a way in which our society evolves over time and we are as a society working towards larger goals more important than any one of us but that affect every one of us.
There is so much conflict with what is and the direction we are all headed it reminds me of some great stock picking advice I read in a book. It said in short to go with the flow before you pick your investment. If the market and sector a company operate in are aligned in growth then be a buyer if they are both contracting then be a seller and if they are conflicting then stay neutral and wait for alignment.
The wisest people I know use their individual will to question and analyse what is going on but eventually fall in line with what is. The reality of what is happening is the most powerful convincer there is so why fight it? It trumps any marketing ploy, gamification, reality distortion or other juvenile methods which have their power and effectiveness based in simply in emotional reactions.
Does this mean we are all fated? No I firmly don't believe it doesn't but if you want to swim against the stream you do have to paddle very hard, the question is are you up to it?
So does this apply to business? I believe that it does because we can all tap into reality if we give it the space and reflect on it then once we see it without emotions, rationalisation or even fanaticism blinding us we can simply present it to our customers. If your intent is good and you want both your company and your customers to participate in a fair transaction and you are prepared to work hard on establishing what this means and covering difficult ground to eliminate misunderstandings and emotive decision making from a deal you can arrive at a rational contract which quite simply just makes sense.
If you are frustrated by emotion when negotiating just go higher. Not to a different person but to appeal to a higher shared goal that is real, I call this the reality mirror.
If you are working from evidence and where there is a lack of quantitative data you are making reasonable qualatative assumptions this reality mirror can be a hugely powerful negotiating tool for establishing long term partnerships that work.
When you face a problem you need to appeal to the lowest common core value you and your customer share and if this fails go higher until you find agreement this might start with a personal or professional relationship based on ordinary conduct, if that fails a higher level might be a stated CSR policy or if that fails you might take it up to the highest codified level of shared human goals the united nations declaration of human rights. Did you know the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals have held individuals responsible to place universal principles of human conduct above the authority of a particular leader, nation or group and this is a principle we all must follow.
Of course doing this you need to act without ego if you are using such a high aim to further your own egoistic goals then you should expect the unexpected consequences that can result. But if you're underlying aim is to run a sustainable company which is acceptable as a goal to all humans for the good of all those people who work for it, buy from it and even those who are not directly connected with it then this a great way to do business and develop lasting long term partnerships with your clients.