As you evaluate the case studies that follow, you may find inspiration in the story of how one manager found a creative way to stay true to two equally worthy conflicting values.
- Martin Nookturn was the Vice President of a shampoo manufacturing business and was in New York to meet with his advertising agency. Well while he was there, his account manager invited him to go to the Metropolitan Opera with her as her guest since she knew he was a big fan of the opera. No, whenever he was in New York, he never missed a performance. But opera tickets can be expensive, especially good tickets, and these were very good tickets. But at his company the policy was that you're not allowed to accept gifts worth more that $25. But not every company has that strict of a policy, so it's not unusual for a set of show tickets to find their way into a client's hands. Well in this case when Martin got to the theater, he asked her how much she'd paid for his ticket. But she was deliberately evasive, you know she obviously wanted to let Martin enjoy the show as a gift. So after the trip was over and he flew back home, Martin made a phone call to the Opera House. He found out how much the ticket cost and he asked if they had a friends of the opera group that accepted charitable donations. And then he made a donation in the exact amount of the ticket. Well a week later, the account manager got an official looking letter from the opera. But it wasn't addressed to her, it was addressed to her dog Gilda. Now inside the envelope was a membership card with the dog's name on it and a letter thanking Gilda for her very generous gift to the arts. Martin had found a way to pay for the tickets after all, and now every six months or so, Gilda gets a letter from the opera announcing their upcoming shows, her owner gets a gentle and light hearted reminder to stay out of the doghouse by doing the right thing, and Martin gets to chuckle every time he tells the story to other people, as a reminder that doing the right thing isn't always easy, but with a little creativity it's almost always possible. And that's the lesson here for us. When you're trying to balance two different values, like obeying the company gift policy while not offending your agency partners, you don't always have to come down on one side or the other. Sometimes there's a creative solution that let's you stay true to both values at the same time. So as you go through these case studies, always look for those creative solutions first before choosing one value over the other.
- Integrity versus results
- Leadership versus discipline
- Getting results versus safety
- Discipline versus fun
- Passion for winning versus cooperation
- Transparency versus getting results
- Company interests versus employee interests
- Fairness versus integrity
- Supplier interests versus company interests
- Trust versus fairness
- Innovation versus quality
- Safety versus respecting individuals
- Customer focus versus shareholder focus