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Business Life Skills

Cutting Out the Rust

rusty <–CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS POST. RIGHT CLICK ‘SAVE LINK AS’ WORKS TOO. 

One of my fondest ever memories is that of my 1977 Honday Civic.  This thing was dope.  Four speeds, a super long stick shift, felt like you were going 200K on the highway when you were actually going 85, and had those external flashers on the hood..with chrome.  I put some boom in there too so the license plate rattled real good when I was listening to the Dream Warriors (look ’em up).

It had just one flaw – rust.

Around the wheel wells of every Honda Civic of that era water would somehow get in and rust away the  metal right above the rear tires.  Obviously rust spreads so I did my college best (I was literally in college) and cut as much of the rust as I could and used one of those rust kits and bondo to fix it.  I repainted things and it looked good.

But the rust came back.

Just a few months later bubbles started to appear and the paint started to bulge. A few months later the red rust was breaking through the gold paint screaming ‘let my people go’.  I attacked again but could never quite get down the wheel well far enough with my residential toolbox and the problem would always resurface.

Lately I’ve been noticing ‘rust’ in my life, the lives of others and in business.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people when they are caught in a sin (I define sin as anything that is rooted in selfishness while disregarding the commands of God that produce a joy-filled life) try to remove the sin by means of replacing them with good habits, by controlling their thoughts, or by patting themselves on the back when they don’t sin.  The last one to me is funny if you use an extreme example:

“That’s great, Tommy! You only murdered three people this week in your anger.  That’s down two from last week.  Keep that up…I mean down.”

The problem is that sin is like the rust in my civic.  That beast will eventually re-appear because it’s rooted in my sinful nature.  Once people realize that the cause of many of their personal problems are rooted in sin, they can seek a solution. The cross is their solution.  If you want to stay on your merry-go-round, no one will stop you.  Feel free to keep trying your failing methodologies.

I’ve also seen rust in business.

I’ve been monitoring a fairly large retail chain these days.  This chain had a heyday a few years back and the brand was really starting to kick some kahoahoa (I just made that word up).  They were carving out a piece of a market where few had attempted to travel and creativity, life, excitement surrounded it.

But then Mr.Arrogance came by for sales call and the chain bought what he was selling in wholesale quantities.  The rest is history.  On the outside it still looks somewhat as it did but on the inside is dead man’s bones.  The writing is on the wall.  They only have one choice left: a full scale repentance and willingness to come clean with all people involved and even to the public.  Nothing short of full confession of past foul-ups and immediate remedies will suffice.

This retail study will very much help my future investments, too.  A company that is being eaten by the rust of arrogance will show symptoms:

  • lack of creativity
  • lack of excitement from the inside
  • infighting
  • trash-talking
  • positions filled by people who shouldn’t be where they are
  • words that don’t match actions
  • no apologies – ever
  • a heavy reliance on lawyers evidenced in one-sided contracts in their favour
  • selfishness
  • leaders who don’t get their hands dirty with the troops – ever
  • and more

If you see these things, keep your good money as far away from this as possible.  Search for companies or organizations that display the opposite and you will sleep better at night.

Rust.  Cut it out.