In the course of a business, disagreements have a tendency to arise. Timeliness of payments are probably the most common, but terms of a contract often come into question, especially when some of the so-called "fine print" comes into play. For the record, I do not have fine print on the contracts my company produces. We prefer to make sure everything is easily read and understood by those who sign agreements. By being up front, disputes can be resolved more easily when things deviate from the norm.
Today I had to handle two disagreements on contract terms. In each case I listened to the concerns of the offending party - the disagreements surrounded improper procedures - and agreed with how the dispute would be dealt with. What I find most interesting about these sorts of disagreements is how easily people will go back on their own word for the sake of keeping their money. Often they swear they never signed such an agreement, and when the agreement is presented to them they are quick to explain their lack of understanding in that area. Of course they would never have signed such an agreement had they known the true meaning. In other words, they probably did not read anything carefully and now expect the penalties for their mistakes to simply be waived. Does it matter that their word is forever questioned? Of course not, so long as they get to keep their money. Does it matter that the reason for the penalty is to keep the company in business? Again, no, because they are looking out for themselves, not the company they work for or with.
I realize that a lot of the "Me First" mentality has become ingrained in the fabric of our nation. I realize that people really started looking out for number one when their employer started considering too many of them expendable. The tragedy, though, is good employers get mistreated just as much as good employees because of these arrangements. Companies that protect their employees, vendors, and clients are very often taken advantage of, and many times those companies end up going out of business. In some instances the loyalty of the employer is rewarded with loyalty from the employee and vice versa, and those relationships grow and thrive. I feel like my business has built a reputation based on honesty, integrity, and positive relationships. I would like to see that reputation begin to pay more dividends again. Here's hoping for a bright future soon.
P.S. I realize the end of this post is extremely convoluted. I feel like I am rambling and I could not seem to bring the post to a logical conclusion.