One day my manager showed me a horrible graph. It was pretty simple: the graph was steady, then it dropped straight down, then after a short period, the line shot straight back up and stayed level again:

“That’s what happens when we do the right thing”, he said while pointing at the drop, “and that’s how much money we lose. We tried it just to see how bad it was for our bottom line. And this is what the data tells us.”

“Wow,” I said, taken aback. My employer clearly had two options: “do the right thing” or “be profitable”. That was the position they had manuevred themselves into through a series of bad management decisions.

My manager then said, “More than half the company would have to lose their job in order for us to stop these tactics … so are you volunteering to be one of them?”

That was the day I learned I’d rather lose respectfully than win without honor. Once people become wary of your products or your business ethics, it’s game over. You can’t sustain for long, because you won’t keep your customers much longer.

Not to mention your employees.

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