When is a shortcut truly a shortcut a researched or known quicker route from A to B rather than something that could backfire and cause problems or damage elsewhere? One area in business and in life that is never worth taking a risk over is our reputation – we all want to be known as working with honesty and integrity and the day that gets challenged is incredibly difficult to recover from.
Just look at the news, (that is if you actually read it or listen to it,) so many stories of individuals and organisations alike all being caught out for having taken a shortcut. Consider the fuel emissions story where the CEO had no idea what was going on, but somebody did and the excuse that “it’s just standard industry practice, everybody manipulates the figures and results”, doesn’t wash with customers. Sadly, there will be a great deal more to follow with stories like this.
Where in your business have you taken shortcuts? In hindsight would you do it again? MPs in the UK have lost their reputations and standings over claiming funds that they in hindsight they shouldn’t have, even though at the time it was normal and common practice. Intent is always the key word here, maliciously defrauding your expenses vs. doing what everyone else does is the moral argument, unless of course it involves breaking the law where that is black and white. Understandably those with intent and scale have gone off to jail, the others by contrast have lost their reputations, their jobs and the respect of their peers because of taking shortcuts.
A personal example involved me believing everything was correct, as did my accountant at the time, however when the Inland Revenue asked about my overseas bank accounts in Australia I naturally advised all was OK everything there is taxed at source as a non-domiciled. Well that is not exactly correct because in Australia they have a different tax level for non- domiciled to what I pay over here, so I was in the wrong, innocent of intent but guilty in the eyes of the law, a small slap on wrist was given.
Shortcuts may seem a good idea at the time but will they be in hindsight. Ask three questions
– What impact both positive and negative could this have on your reputation professionally or personally?
– Where can you gain the right advice to ensure your decisions do not leave you exposed? I would recommend having the right PowerTeam around you.
– And of course remember that paid for advice is so much more valuable and almost always many many times cheaper in the long run than not taking any advice in the first place.