Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions
Category >> Integrity and Ethics
Feb 29

Excuses! Excuses!

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Frequently a customer or employer will request that you complete work within a specific period of time. If you encounter difficulties meeting the deadline, you have a tendency to offer excuses. You may believe that your excuses are valid and others should understand and accept them. However Scripture provides an example where excuses were not so easily accepted. Likewise customers may not be so quick to accept your excuses either. The Lord told a story about a man who sent invitations to a dinner party and received excuses in return.

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” (Luke 14:18-21)

When the Lord asks us to do something we need to obey immediately, at all times and in all places. In this instance the Lord displayed his anger at the refusal of the invited guests and invited others to the dinner instead.

The business reality is that if you don't do something for a client or customer, somebody else will. Every time you offer an excuse you need to understand that one or more competitors may step in to supply what your excuse said you couldn’t give.

My perspective is that you need to weigh every time you have to say “no” to a customer. Make sure the reason you give is a solid enough explanation for failing to meet a customer’s request. Over time if you offer more and more excuses when your competitors don't, your business will shrink. Some excuses offer valid reasons for saying “no,” but an effective management perspective says you must make certain that excuses don't become a way of doing business. No customer wants to feel that their needs can be easily dismissed so that the business can do what they want.

Look for more ways to say “yes” to customers rather than offering excuses. Your business will grow as you please your customers with your service and attitude.

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Dec 16

Give Thanks to the Lord!

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

As we wrap up our business year with Thanksgiving still a recent memory, I marvel at how most of us fail to return thanks to the Lord. I confess I fall into this trap too often. When we consider the many blessings bestowed upon Americans and the rest of the world, it is easy to lose sight of recent history. A person living in the United States with a lower income lives better than a king from 1900.  Advances in medical care, air conditioning, and labor saving devices are a true blessing.  Even the impoverished world experiences consistent improvements, especially in areas without war.

Dec 04

No Small Parts

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

I watched an interview with John Wayne who expressed appreciation for director John Ford. Wayne credited Ford with providing excellent guidance. One key point Wayne made was Ford’s insistence that there was no such thing as a throwaway scene. Every part in every scene is crucial. While some parts could be considered minor, they improve the overall effect of the film.

Sep 30

A Lesson from Temple Leaders: Clean Your Own House

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

I worked with a client, “Ken,” in an effort to resolve several important issues. He kept procrastinating work I recommended and was headed for a major problem because of the procrastination. After going over the same issue a few times, I related the story from scripture when “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” (Matthew 21:12, NIV)

Jul 31

Defending the Indefensible

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Often during a news programs two or more pundits will dig in and defend their political party or political position even when a position is ridiculous. While we all may have different points of view, defending the indefensible doesn’t make sense.  Likewise, a business can also try to defend an indefensible position.

I was ordering a steak and asked the waitress how well done a steak would be if ordered it medium. I was told, “They will cook it just right.” I never received a definition of what medium meant, i.e. a little pink or red in the center. When the steak arrived there was barely any trace of pink in the center. I showed this to the waitress.  Unfortunately, a faint pink color inside a steak does not fit any reasonable definition of medium.  Again she told me that they cook everything right. After a brief discussion I gave up and ate the steak. However, I did not become a regular customer. When an establishment defends the indefensible, they make themselves look incompetent.

“George” had a drinking problem. One day while looking for a file, I saw a liquor bottle in his desk drawer in violation to a no alcohol or illegal drug policy on the premises. When confronted, George explained he was just keeping the bottle there; but he wasn’t drinking from it.  However, the contents were half gone. Ultimately the situation caused his dismissal. Had George confessed and accepted a treatment plan, he may have saved his job. Instead, he insisted on defending the indefensible.   

“Stan” a policeman friend, told me the one thing that irks him is the person who defends their driving when stopped for a traffic violation.  Stan agreed that if they quickly acknowledged what they did with a humble attitude, he is more likely to let them go with a warning. When they try to make him believe they were only going a few miles over the speed limit when radar clocked them at 47 in a 30 mph zone, he is inclined to write the ticket with little or no break.

King Solomon wrote, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV) No one likes to be wrong.  However, when you are; it is better to confess and renounce your actions with an apology and adjustment rather than start defending what is clearly wrong.

The marketplace took care of the steakhouse; they went out of business. Don’t wait for the marketplace to punish you. Confess and make things right.

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