[DFT] Fw: [ChivalryToday] Win At All Costs

seanan seanan at elfsea.net
Sat Jul 12 22:48:36 PDT 2003

Win At All Costs
By Scott Farrell
©2003 Shining Armor Enterprises

Mention chivalry in business and you're likely to be met with a
patient, if not condescending smile - at least, that's been my
experience over the years. An executive I was speaking with recently
summed up his objections to the Code of Chivalry in the corporate world
like this: "In our office, we have to follow a 'win at all costs'
philosophy. We don't have time to be chivalrous."

No doubt he was imagining chivalry as some absurd, gallant ideal that
would mandate never making a profit or taking customers away from a
competitor. With that in mind, however, I wanted to use the opportunity
to examine the difference between chivalry and "winning at all costs."

"If unrestrained success is your only goal," I asked him, "does that
mean you're willing to vandalize your competitors warehouses, or
threaten the family members of their top employees?"

He looked offended. "Of course not! That would be both illegal and

I continued by asking, "Do you mean that winning at all costs is an
internal policy, and that your company exploits its workers, paying
them minimal wages, asking them to cheat customers and follow orders

"No, no!" he said. "Every one of our team members contributes to our
success, and we want them to feel adequately compensated for their

Then I said, "Do you mean that in order to win at all costs you'll
abandon your vendors as soon as cheaper resources become available, and
that you are prepared to undercut your own distributors if it means
bringing more business to your doors?"

He shook his head. "Although we expect good value, we realize that the
cheapest supplier is not always the best. And our distributors know
that we're working to keep them in business so they'll be committed to
long-term customer care."

Finally, I asked him, "Then in your quest to win at all costs, do you
assume that your competitors are incompetent, that you have nothing to
fear from them, and you can ignore their efforts?"

"Absolutely not," he said. "We watch them very closely. Sometimes they
are the best indication of where the market is headed."

"So, you're telling me that your method of doing business is to avoid
unjust and immoral practices, recognize the debts you owe to your
supporters, treat your allies with honor and good faith, and respect
the challenges and opportunities represented by your competitors?"

He nodded his head, realizing that in reviewing his own practices, he
had just given a good description of the Code of Chivalry.

Business experts have repeatedly drawn parallels between modern
commerce and ancient warfare, from Sun Tzu to Attila the Hun to Gengis
Khan. In the history of warfare, the Code of Chivalry was one of the
first attempts to temper the "win at all costs" warrior spirit with a
sense of integrity, responsibility and self-respect. Chivalry was a
means of bringing stability and confidence to a world that, for
centuries, had been devastated by conquest and plunder.

In the world of modern business - where numerous recent incidents have
proved just how destructive unrestrained ambition can be - the Code of
Chivalry provides an effective guide for honorable and ethical
competition on any level of the business battlefield. Respect, duty,
courage, justice and honesty should never be forsaken in order to win
at all costs. Executives, entrepreneurs and employees of all types
should see a reflection of themselves in the image of a knight in
shining armor.

= = = = = = =

Readers are permitted and encouraged to share this article with
friends, family and co-workers as a way of enhancing awareness of the
Code of Chivalry in the modern world. Please include all copyright
statements and attributions when sharing Chivalry Today articles.
Copyright 2003 Scott Farrell and Shining Armor Enterprises. Visit our
website at www.ChivalryToday.com .

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