Epilogue: Business and Social Become One

The author goes into a (rather extended) story about family life: how children, at some point, become individuals who exert their independence. They start asking questions rather than accepting everything an adult says as the truth. They start acting in their own interest rather than merely doing as they are told. The behavior of the parent must change dramatically at that point as well - and it must, as you cannot (successfully) fight the process of growing up.

It's a metaphor for the relationship between business and individuals (employees as well as customers, as well as others with whom the business interacts). The era in which business was "in command" by virtue of its hold on economic goods has waned in an era of competition. If your attitude toward customers is "take it or leave it," they will leave it - and get it from a competitor. If your attitude toward employees is "obey or get out," they will get out - and go to work for a competitor.

Just as parents must shift their approach to dealing with their children when the change occurs, so must businesses now shift their approach to dealing with people now that the environment has become competitive and individuals have discovered their power.

Social Matters

Back to the parenting metaphor, the author returns to the notion that people must learn social skills, and asserts that with his own offspring, "I did the right thing from the very start." The basic principles of getting along with others (being respectful, considerate, cooperative, polite, and the like) are applicable to interacting with others in any context, through any channel through which individuals choose to interact.

And just as a person who is self-serving and discourteous to others will find himself alone, a business that continues to operate by the hard-nosed standards of treating individuals as a means to the end they wish to achieve will find itself alone - customers will not wish to buy from them, employees will not wish to work for them, peers will not want to partner with them. And as a result, the business will fail.

Conversely, the business who attend to social matters will build productive relationships with the individuals upon whom it depends for its survival; and in a competitive environment, the company that is most effective at doing so will not only survive, but excel.