Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Attitudes affect everything that we do, don’t do, or don’t do as well as we could. Success in activities as diverse as parenting, world cup events, business, even risk management is determined by our attitude. Sometimes we need a little push, guidance, education or support to motivate us. Our business leaders, legislators and regulators are providing the spur, so how are we going to respond?

Selecting and surrounding ourselves with (mostly) positive people, compatible suppliers and honest partners is a good start.

Positive individuals, not clones of you, bring tangible benefits such as fresh ideas and crime prevention or minimisation. These in turn raise or diversify income streams and reduce costs or leakage respectively. The inclusion of positive people in your teams is a more efficient means of conducting business. Intangible benefits include the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, to make the most of your life on any given day.

Are you part of a small business, a huge international corporate entity or somewhere in between? Do you prefer to buy from one or other of these size businesses? Do you have a tendency to seek out the less obvious solutions? Are you conscious of the implications of the choices that you make? Does the balance of power in these relationships favour you or the other party? Is there a cultural compatibility between you and your chosen partners?

There’s much to be said in favour of culture and size matching by business organisations. Can a large organisation readily appreciate or empathise with the challenges of say a sole trader? The target markets of both organisations are almost certainly very different so why would they choose to deal with each other if there were other options? This point alone is enough to prompt speculation that there is a higher inherent risk in dealings between incompatible entities due to size, cultural, language or expectation mismatches. Service success stories tend to involve one or more smaller businesses and peter out as the organisations grow in size, losing the personal touch that made them notable in the first place. You be the judge of the evidence that comes to your ears and eyes and decide for yourself if there are greater benefits or fewer risks to you when utilising the matching concept.

The 2008 Consumer Protection Act (CPA), due for implementation in October 2010, goes a long way towards the protection of Joe Public and some smaller juristic entities. Other business buyers (CPA extract -‘a juristic person whose asset value or annual turnover, at the time of the transaction, equals or exceeds the threshold value determined by the Minister in terms of section 6’) are deemed to be sufficiently well informed not to need this type of protection. If you are small business operator who is not protected do you think this is fair? Would you now consider making purchases from business entities in your private capacity? You might lose your discounts but you would gain the protection of the CPA. Forgive the slight pun, but is this a good trade-off? Is it honest, or does it serve to undermine the structural integrity of our society?

In the past, customers and employees of corporate organisations and governments irrationally perceived such entities as a gigantic cloud; so big that it can’t be held, challenged or controlled, massive yet without substance, tough to saddle with accountability. We got the service that we deserved. Both perception and reality have changed as we can see from the news in recent times.

In the end it all comes back to people, their attitudes and what you decide to do about them. Do you associate with those who are positive or negative, the builders or the destroyers? Without people there is no reason for business, but you can choose many of those who you deal with most of the time.

We have systems available that will assist you to explore the implications of seeming simple issues such as communication and cultural compatibility in our cosmopolitan society.

Gods don’t whine, or beg, but then they don’t have to comply or explain. Whining or begging doesn’t help, adopting a positive approach and making sound choices will though.

Paul Brightman - ART (Pty) Ltd.

Creators of Risk Therapy. or or

+27 (0) 83 708 3634 & +27 (0) 11 646 2777.

Websites or or

ART is an authorised Financial Services Provider - FSP16339.

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