The Blue Grotto

Grotta azzurra, Capri, Italy

There was a report last week that The Blue Grotto, one of Italy‘s most-visited tourist locations had been fouled by raw sewage.  The suspicion was that some local mafiosi had dumped the waste they’d been paid to haul away in the water rather than pay the dumping fees to increase their profits.  Fortunately, in the few intervening days, the smell has gone away and the early reports may have been wrong.  But the entire incident got me thinking anyway about how many business people do the same sort of dumb things.

Let’s suppose some low level wise guys did decide to make a few extra bucks by cutting corners.  They save a fee but in the process ruin the very reason quite a few people go over to Capri from the mainland – to see the grotto.  Officials closed it immediately when a foul smell and filth in the water became apparent.   No grotto, fewer tourists.

To get to the grotto, most pay a guide.  They eat in the restaurants on the island.  They shop in the stores.  Maybe they even stay there for a night or two.  Suddenly, any revenue the rest of “the family” derives from those businesses is impacted.  They won a battle but may have lost the war in doing so.

How many business people do you know who will do anything to win a deal but lose track of the bigger picture?  Way back when, we had a concept called “rate-card integrity” in media sales – not selling our time at extremely cheap prices just to take in some cash to make the numbers since the clients who had paid the higher rates always – ALWAYS – found out and were angry.   We kept the big picture in sight while doing our best to make every deal work.

The passion we feel in the heat of the business moment is a great thing but it must be coupled to an awareness of how that moment fits into the big picture.

How’s your perspective?  Are you avoiding the little fees while jeopardizing your overall business?  Know anyone who is?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

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