Sat here in my usual apparent stupor, mouth open, eyes fixed – in between bursts of soft tap tap tapping on the keyboard – I am fiercely concentrating on the inside. Its 2.17am according to my laptop. As usual I am working towards one of many regular weekly deadlines, any of which, if I miss, will affect people; individuals. These take priority in my life over less personal deadlines that may in fact affect the company bottom line more significantly. Why do I prioritise so? And why do I place my own work-life balance, and even health, at so much risk on their behalf? Thinking about this takes me back to an incident on eBay a couple of years ago when I invoked a ‘gentlemen’s rule’. An item I had received was not as per the description advertised. It was a mistake; nothing devious. The seller, Jared, agreed to take back the item and pay for the postage too – both ways. He ended up paying more in postage than the worth of the item he had intended to sell. He said, in an email, “people before money, mate” when I thanked him for being so gracious.
Jared’s comment has stayed with me ever since. He was right of course and is one of the ‘good guys’, but the point I want to make is that, increasingly, business is becoming more about individuals and relationships than about supply and demand. The arrival of Web 2.0 and networking concepts referred to in previous posts here, and our deliberate move to orientate the BPIR resource towards a more personal relationship-based approach, is part of the natural evolution in our society. Looking back, this change started to build up steam a couple of decades ago when terms such as ‘internal customer’,‘supplier-relationship’, and ‘customer-supplier partnership’ became new buzz-words in contemporary management jargon. Mergers and Acquisitions gave way to Strategic Partnerships and Alliances, Collaborative Projects, and Joint Ventures. The reality of these brave new concepts is of course that they were built around trust and strong relationships between the leaders of the participant organizations. The coincidence of relationship-based enabling technologies and the ‘survival’ need for businesses to become more sharing, open to alliances and partnerships, and to identify and nurture Human Capital has forced an almost quantum leap in a few short years. I have always believed that every business is a ‘people business’, but recognition of this is only now growing strongly.
Well, I’d better crack on. I just thought I’d share those thoughts with you since they derailed me from my work. It’s now almost 3am and I’d like to accomplish a few more tasks before bed.
General dog’s body, grafter, and MD of BPIR.com Limited ” A boss with no humor is like a job that is no fun”
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