If the Deal Starts Bad, the Deal Will End Bad

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Hey, welcome to the Driving Success podcast. On today’s episode, I give you a real life example of how we as a company are relentless to our values and our alignment to the values, in which we just backed out of a $1,500,080 decision based on misalignment to values. This is a recap. 

It’s a real life example, but it’s a recap of the concepts we’ve been pushing about becoming a great business is based on values and culture and mission statement and core values. And I try to get the message across in today’s quick riff that, when people are saying it’s just a business decision, I’d completely disagree with that. It’s more than just a business decision because business is about people. 

And if we lead with people, the business will work itself out. If we lead with business, the people may not work out. So hope you enjoy this quick riff. Doesn’t go very long today, but it is impactful and we talk about a real life $1,500,080 decision that we just punted on. We’ll see you down the road.

I thought I’d share with you today a $1,500,080 decision that we recently made based on culture and values being misaligned. So let me give you a little background.

We are busting at the seams here at Commercial Fleet. We’re literally on top of each other. We are elbow to elbow from a workstation standpoint. We need more space. And so we’ve looked all over town looking at different space and negotiating different deals. And we basically finalize the deal on very nice office space. 

It was 13,400 square feet of office space. And the total lease agreement was worth $1,500,080 to the landlord. The reverse of that is it’s a $1,500,080 commitment on our part to the landlord. It’s a pretty big chunk of change. Talking couple hundred grand a year in lease payments.

But we were fine with it. We liked the space, we liked the deal, we were good. The downside is, when we started to get to the nut cutting of negotiating the deal, certain things began to pop up. And the first thing that misaligned with us in culture and values was that the landlord was not going to allow our contractor to use the restrooms.

Now, we were taking out the entire first floor of a six story building. We were the only people that had access to these restrooms. It wasn’t disruptive to anyone else in the building, but yet for some reason, our contractor was going to have to use port-a-potties outside in the rain and the cold and the wet.

We didn’t really get that. It just didn’t make sense to us. We couldn’t figure out the logic of that. We’re all human beings. We have businesses, Commercial Fleets is a business, and the landlord’s got their business and the contractors got his business. We’re all people and yet for some reason, people couldn’t use the bathroom. It just didn’t make sense to us. We were really upset about it. It just didn’t align culturally and value system wise. 

We couldn’t imagine why would you not allow our contractors to use an inside bathroom when it’s almost December here in Texas and the weather actually does change. A lot of people think that it’s always warm in Texas. There’s a lot of actual… In that December, January, even into February, sometimes there are some cold days and sometimes from cold and wet days. And yet, you can’t use the inside bathroom. So right out of the gates, that was a little bit weird for us.

And then there were certainly other things within the the agreement that we just couldn’t culturally and core value get aligned with. So you know what we did? By the way, this is after we paid our deposit. This is after we paid the advance rate. This is after we had signed our side of the contract, we punted and we said, we’re out. 

If this is the logic that’s happening based on humans not being allowed to use an interior restroom, what else could go wrong? What other misalignment might happen? What if we decide to throw a huge party in the parking lot for customer appreciation? Is that going to be problematic too? Are we going to have to get port-a-potties for that? What if we need to bring certain things through the main entry, like the big rig that we’re going to put, the front of a big rig that we’re putting in our new offices. Is that going to be a problem? It just didn’t sit well with us. So what did we do? We punted on a $1,500,080 deal.

Now, we were able to get our money back because they hadn’t signed their side of the contract, which was lucky for us. But I just want to give you an example on the podcast today of in business, it’s more than just business. And anyone who says that it’s just a business decision is wrong. It’s always more than a business decision. 

It’s always a values decision. It’s always an alignment decision. It’s a cultural decision. It’s a human to human decision. And I wanted to get on and give you this quick riff on the podcast today to let you know that we don’t jack around when it comes to this stuff, man, we are dead set on the fact that if it doesn’t align, if the deal starts bad, the deal will end bad. That’s real business.

So when people throw out or maybe even you are throwing out, “Screw the person, it’s just a business decision. They’ll get over it.” It’s not true, man. People don’t get over that stuff. And I’ve been in business now, next year will be the start of our 25th year in business. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that what comes around goes around. And I think we’ve been on the losing end of that many times, and I’ve shared with you before that I think my role is a leader has not been the best. 

I don’t think I’ve always been the best leader. I don’t think I’ve always treated people in the organization as well as I should have. But the one thing I damn well know for sure is we haven’t screwed any customers. And that has benefited us countless times. We have left millions and millions of dollars on the table and probably additional interest rates spread that we could have gotten because of our desire to treat the customer right and do what’s right. And this is just another perfect example for you to learn how to run a better business through our wins and our losses.

By the way, this could be looked at as a loss for us. Maybe we did lose out. But I don’t think so. I think this one just wasn’t going to set up right. I think it started bad, and in my experience it would have ended bad. And if you can believe that a $1,500,080 decision, a deal that big fell apart because we are relentless to our core values and the humanistic approach to business and our thought process of, if you’re not going to let the contractors use the bathroom, what are you not going to let us do?

That’s the lesson on today’s Driving Success podcast. I hope you enjoy it. Remember, we need you to like it and share it and tell other people in transportation, heck, there’s 3.5 million truckers in the United States. 

Let’s get 3 million of them listening to this podcast because every one of them needs to become great business owners, not just great truckers, not just great towers, not just great construction company guys and girls. 

They need to learn to be great business owners. And that’s the purpose of the podcast. And if you like it, do us a favor, share it like it, comment on it, spread the word. Help us get the word out that there’s a new podcast that helps the transportation industry become great owners. 

We will see you all down the road.

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