Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Right is right, even if it feels wrong

Tom ran the numbers again, furiously punching the enter key on his keyboard as if to determine a different outcome. There was a slight decrease of Ks. 22,000, hardly enough to make a dent on the Ks. 1.8m fiscal hole he was staring at. He had been at this for six hours now and no matter which way he tried to slash costs, it was painfully obvious that unless he made some drastic changes, his business was headed for bankruptcy.

Leaning back in his leather chair his eyes glanced up from the monitor to look out through his glass partion to his personal assistant Maryanne. She had been very loyal to him these difficult past six months, but even from his desk he could see that she was spending her time on youtube, probaly looking at baby videos since she was a new mother. The volumnious work load that had inspired her recruitment and six others seemed to dry up the minute they set up their desks. Tom had figured it was just a bad month and things would change, but half a year later, the situation only grew worse.

He swivelled round to face the window, a beautiful view of Nairobi CBD lay out in front of him. He was very proud of himself when he moved into his plush, glass skyscraper office two years back. A final manifestation of his success he thought, and the view from twenty-second floor made him feel how high he had risen. The leather, the glass, the air-conditioned office - all justified by the rising profile of his clients.  Where were those clients now? Abandoning him as soon as a new kid on the block with cheaper prices came calling. He couldn't match their prices, his overheads had risen. He tried to innovate, but lack of liquidity kept him tethered to his declining fortunes.

Tom's phone buzzed on the desk behind him, and he winced, shutting his eyes tightly as if to make the phone go silent. The phone continued ringing - another creditor he figured. Inhaling deeply he turned and picked it up.

"Tom speaking, hello"

He hadn't even bothered to look at the caller ID, he held in his breath awaiting the tirade from an unpaid supplier.

"Tom it's dad here"

"Dad, oh" his audible relief swamped the rest of his message. "How is everything at home?"

"Tom, it's about Kioko, he has been sent home for school fees"

Tom felt the tension return, his neck stiffening, "how much Dad?"

"Tom, I was hoping to get from somewhere else, but you know the exams are very near, and I don't want the boy to miss classes, because..."

With his dutiful son voice Tom cut him off "It's ok Dad, tell me how much and I will try and work it out"

The conversation ended, Tom looked back at his monitor and punched in the Ks. 22,000 he thought he had saved.

Have you ever been in Tom's situation? Are you in Tom's situation right now?
Very often in business and in life, we are faced with tough decisions we must make, where we hurt our loved ones, injure our pride, or create disgruntled enemies from our past employees.

The true businessman is he or she that is brave enough to make these decisions, for right is always right even when it feels wrong.

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