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Businesses don't.......

by Justin York Misc

I was out and about in London today and I saw a brilliant sign in a Costa coffee shop, 'businesses don't make coffee, people do'. That message while simple is so effective, not only the product that you see in the shop, but those that grow it thousands of miles away and all those in between that ship it and roast it, the list would go on. The wall in the shop demonstrated how Costa sees its people, pictures of the 'Barista of the year', the farmers and children in a nursery who benefit from the Costa foundation.

There are lots of things I don't like about big business (such as how they may or may not pay their tax etc but that's a different story), there are also great things about big business which we could all learn from. Now I'm not an insider of the Costa empire, however it strikes me that they wish to show this face to the outside world, perhaps to gain competitive advantage perhaps genuinely, it's difficult to tell. The fact is that they do some good.

Those that have philanthropical aspirations, will be seen as good or better than those that do not; if you look at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation you will see that they do great work all around the world and still some treat Microsoft with a level of contempt because of the aggressive way that they did or maybe still does do business. Even though Bill Gates is no longer (technically) at the helm, he is still treated just the same way as when he was; with respect and admiration by some and as some kind of devil incarnate by others. On the way to creating what is arguably the world's largest software company, he has created a persona for the company which is incredibly difficult to shake off.

People will always of course be fickle, that is the nature of us and we shouldn't ever forget that and yet we still seem to want to pillory those that are hugely successful and in many cases, we don't even know why we do that. Perceptions then are the key to this discussion; if you have ever been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one of a major software company's releases, which may have not quite lived up to expectations, then you may understand these points of view; after all, you call and wait and wait only to be told it will be fixed in the next release or something equally annoying which does not solve your immediate problem. Once of course isn't too bad, it's when there are a chain or series of such events that we really get irritated. Some will always believe what the papers say, or their union leaders or their flavour of politician or ethical campaigner. Recent examples are Brexit, the leave campaign told us we would get £350m back every week, which is great news, except with the instantly applied rebate we already get back (or rather don't pay) a considerable sum of money, the estimated sum is around £100m it doesn't seem quite so great, perceptions; the vegans and vegetarians are complaining about trace amounts of tallow used in the production of the new £5 note, that's fine and I accept that they don't want to handle them or use them. A smallish group against the general population are trying to force their values on us when most of us couldn't care less, perceptions.

That's also fine, except you begin to get a jaundiced view of the world and that view then becomes your mantra and everyone else is wrong and not only that, does not deserve any opinion on the matter. When we arrive at this place then we start to get into conflict, demonstrations and arguments, from there it's a relatively short step to some form of anarchy.

Perceptions, never forget them and above all try to look at things from the other persons point of view, because then you begin to understand what they are seeing and in some cases you learn just a little about how you come across. I also believe that It's ok to be an evangelist and display your concerns, I also believe that its even stronger if you don't force it on others!