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  • Writer's pictureBen Hulme

Where do you draw the line?

What would you not sell? Who would you refuse to do business with? Where would you stand up and walk out?

Great question that sparked a lot of stories and opinions on what would be good business, bad business, ethical or professional red lines, and the luxury of choice...

Is it OK to work for a client who's products are at odds with your own social conscience? That could be big tobacco, or a sports brand with questionable supply chain, or maybe any of the huge financial institutions that provide [the fuel for growth in the economy] / [a ruinous capitalist machine that pushed wealth to the top and drives inequality] (delete as appropriate)

Pharma companies develop lifesaving medicines and vaccines and/or exploit health systems and patients for profit...

And what about that client who you know has got some pretty unsavoury personal views and habits, but your leadership have directed you to go do a deal with?

Sales Pirate challenges include...

  1. Can I sleep at night if I go along with this?

  2. Can I afford a place to sleep if I don't?

  3. Is this good business - a client that we're culturally compatible with, and a project that we can do a good job on?

  4. Can I find the 10% we do have in common, and build on that to create some value?

  5. Is this my prompt to jump ship and quit this lousy job???

  6. Or can I persuade my boss why we should walk away this time?

We all see that it's important to find clients, projects and opportunities that align with our values, our skills, and where we can look to build a successful long-term relationship.

And, being blunt, it's a luxury to have that choice when the pressure is mounting from the bank, the investors, the board or the sense of self-belief....

So here's where I land:

If it's not a good sale, where we're truly doing something valuable, why the hell would I risk my reputation - and the reputation of my business / employer - knowing that it's doomed to fail one way or another?

Be a bit more pirate. Stand up for what you believe is right, and is truly in the best interest of those you serve. And if that feels like a hard choice to make - GOOD! Nobody said it was gonna be easy 🏴‍☠️


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