When the Business Dark Side Calls

By Bryan Orr

Why is Star Wars so attractive to us? It isn’t just about the heroes; what would Luke be without Darth Vader? I would argue that the villain or obstacle in a story is more important than the protagonist, and in modern movies and books,  writers have become more skilled at using the “relatable villain” to get us drawn into the story.

In business, everyone tends to say similar things about customer service, quality, employee care and blah, blah, blah. The world of terrible customer service, poor quality, and mind numbing work cultures aren’t all run by people who started on the wrong path.

Most businesses started out wanting to do the right thing, but they gave in to the siren’s call of the dark side. The dark side is POWERFUL! Did you see the way the emperor taunted Luke with hate before he started shocking him with his lightning hands routine? You need more than words to overcome the dark side. You must be prepared.

Here is how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Getting Burned by Customers

If you are in business long enough, somebody is going to take advantage of you. Maybe they will neglect to pay you after many promises, maybe they will write a bad check, or it could be that they take out their rage on you in an unfair Yelp review.

You are going to get burned. Sometimes you can learn from it and prevent it through making positive changes, but often there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO. It can make you feel helpless, but don’t give in to the knee jerk reaction of punishing the 99.9% of your customers who are awesome because of the occasional franken-customer.

Having Your Trust Betrayed

Employees, partners, vendors, your Mom, they will all do SOMETHING that makes you feel betrayed. Feeling betrayed is a bad place to be and when you think those people who SHOULD have your best interest at heart are turning against you it is easy to stop doing the right thing. I have heard my own brain say, “Well if they don’t care about me then why should I care about them,” or something like that. The longer you are in business the longer your list of betrayals will be, so you either learn to let the bitterness go or you will find yourself embracing the dark side.

Becoming Sick of the Long Road

The straight and narrow can be a real drag. Day in and day out doing the right thing, being polite, speaking calmly to your employees when they are pitching a fit, paying well, doing quality work…so on and so forth.

IT’S ANNOYING!

Why not just scrap the excellent customer service model and start using some high pressure sales, maybe throw in a pyramid scheme with some fine print at the bottom of the contract to top it off. Fire your expensive employees and hire a call center in Jalalastan and laugh all the way to the bank.

Don’t give in. Not only will you be glad someday that you stuck with a strategy instead of turning to quick tactics, but you will set an example for other businesses that IT IS POSSIBLE.

Sure, Emperor Palpatine may be shocking the life out of you and your business while Darth Vader looks on and it may look hopeless, but right before that last ounce of pure Jedi soul is zapped out of you, Vader himself may come to the rescue. The light has a powerful call of its own; or at least that’s how it happens in the movies.

In what ways have you subtly allowed the “Dark Side” to invade your business?

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Bryan Orr
Bryan Orr is a blue collar business owner who helps executives and business owners use storytelling to communicate powerfully with customers and staff. Bryan is a founder of an award-winning small business in Orlando, Fl as well as sought after podcast producer and consultant. Get to know him at Bryanorr.com.

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