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« "I don't have any good ideas" | Main | Two new videos »

Weight thrown and the slippery slope

Sometimes it's fun or profitable to throw your weight around, to get customers or partners or students or the media or even local government agencies to do what you need them to do.

Inevitably, weight throwers come to a fork in the road:

Are you doing this to get people to do what's good for them or what's good for you?

When a teacher uses her power to get students to study (not in their short-term interest, at least not right now), she's doing them a service.

When a retailer or manufacturer uses purchasing power and scale to bring a product to market that people weren't expecting, it's probably because the customers will end up delighted.

Any time an organization pushes to change the status quo on behalf of its mission, causing the change they exist to make in the world, they're building something that will last.

But often, the opposite happens. Organizations in power change their pricing or their technology or their policies because it's good for the organization, because it raises quarterly earnings, most often because it's easier for them. They change the way they do support, or the promises they keep to long-term customers and vendors. Often, the people who count beans are making the decisions, not those that count positive change on behalf of those they serve.

And it works. For a while. And then it doesn't, because even powerful organizations don't last forever, especially when those that have been pushed discover that they might just have other options.

Throw your weight around, please. But do it for those you serve, not against them.

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