With uncertainty in the market, many business leaders are focused on “playing it safe.” By following conventional practices, they may be taking a far more dangerous route. While it is important to rely on best practices, some may be short-sighted and hold your business back from achieving its true potential.
As CEO of Beryl, a company that manages patient interactions for hospitals, we have a unique culture that has resulted in extremely low turnover and engaged employees who deliver exceptional customer service, resulting in loyal customers who allow us to continue to grow our business. We’ve challenged conventional wisdom to protect our culture at all costs. As a five-time Inc. 5000 company that continues to meet our business goals, we have no regrets.
To that end, over the past few tough economic years, we’ve chosen to ignore these 10 common practices:
1. Outside capital is necessary. In January 2010, I signed a letter of intent to sell a majority interest in the company to a private equity firm. In the end, I walked away from the deal because I realised that bringing in a financial partner with a short-term view of financial performance could have a negative impact on culture, which has been a key ingredient in our success.
2. Never fire a client. A very large customer put our employees in the position of violating their core values. This customer charged clientele for something they didn’t buy, and when it received complaints, wanted Beryl to try to talk them into keeping the product—a prospect we felt would compromise our integrity. As a result, our employees voted to fire the customer. While the loss of income had a short-term financial impact, we realised that ignoring our core values was a slippery slope that could significantly impact our business in the long term. Core values are the one thing in our business that never changes. If we go outside those lines, we can lose the trust of our employees and our customers.
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