Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Remember, Best Intentions Often Not Enough

Business people need to keep in mind that many of the activities that can get them and/or their business into trouble do not have an intent requirement.  That means, you do not have to have a bad intent to get into trouble.  And on the flip side, having good intent does not earn you a pardon.

This is important because in the rush of business, when opportunities or decisions present themselves, the same focus and decisiveness that make many business people successful, can also be their undoing.  Focus, taken too far, ignores outside factors and potentially interested parties.  Decisiveness then moves quickly down the path which is informed by the information available.  Combined, a business leader can make quick decisions on limited information ignoring potentially important concerns because of the good that is expected to come out of acting on the information the leader does know.

Therein lies the rub. 

Business leaders may try to comfort themselves during the mad rush of business decisions with the belief that good intentions, in combination with their business sense, will get them through unscathed.  However, often, in business environments where there are many interested parties, and decision makers can have multiple persons to whom they are responsible (shareholders, Board of Directors, Members, executive officers, employees, etc…) the question may not be whether one is trying to do good, but whether one is taking care of certain people to whom they have some responsibility, or whether one is making reasonable efforts to avoid doing harm to someone.

As a result, good intentions are not enough.  In addition, business leaders need to make sure that their good intentions are in harmony with their other responsibilities and duties they may have.  In short, business leaders need to keep in mind all of the various parties and persons who might be interested, tempering their good intentions in the moment with full consideration of those persons and parties “not in the room.”

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