You Can Do Anything You Want In America – But There Are Consequences

After a couple of days, I guess I need to clarify that this story is not really about quilts or hamburgers … -s

Let’s say you have an organization. Maybe some little quilt shop or a burger joint or, I dunno … a law enforcement agency or detention center or a 911 center.

And let’s say that you think “minimum wage” means “the absolute most you are required to pay people and not a penny more.”

Further, let’s say that you want to look like a hero and your choice is to prostitute the market by hiring vulnerable people, paying for their training, then pandering – yes, lying – to the public about your internal inefficiences … advertising “low prices” and waving your arms about “inflation” and “competition” and “comparables.”

And, let’s say that you prefer the short-term ego-hit of quantity over quality and that you just want to “keep the numbers up” even though your product or service is something people only pay for because it’s so cheap or they’re stuck with you as a sole source because, you know, the best monopoly is a legislated monopoly.

And, let’s say that you expect your employees to quietly subsidize both your lie and your operating margin or artificial cost-cap with some mindless mantra about “do more with less” and “minimum staffing” … with their mental and physical health, with broken family relationships, with feeling trapped, and being unable to afford housing, child care or transportation and with heart attacks, strokes and dying within five years after retirement.

And, let’s say that one day those employees realize they’re being exploited.

And let’s say they decide not to be exploited any more. And they leave. And they tell other people that it’s just not worth it. And those people say, “You know, you’re right. I don’t want to do that job either.”

And, let’s say that some guy – who probably also subsidizes his organization’s low prices with his family’s lives – comes along and says, “Just you wait! The world’s gonna end! We’re all gonna die! You start paying people more wages and that hamburger is going to cost fifty bucks!”

And, let’s say that – at the same time – you run about, whining that you can’t find anyone willing to work and you blame it on government programs and your belief that Americans are lazy and don’t want to work – rather than accepting your role in the lie.

Then I think we can conclude that both you and that guy do not understand the market, math, human behavior, economics or how to run a quality organization.

p.s. – You know what? If it is a really, really outstanding, quality hamburger, people will pay fifty bucks. So what?

Lead like you mean it. -s

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Article written by

Stephen L. Kent, founder and president of The Results Group, Ltd., has more than 35 years of leadership, training and facilitation experience. As a leadership & training consultant, he specializes in helping organizations design and implement programs to improve personal, leadership and organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, issues management and community engagement. Steve is a dynamic speaker who is known for his straight talk that gets right to the heart of key issues. He is the author of Strategic Planning & Organizational Culture For Public Safety Agencies and the novel, Covered With Montana - both of which may be purchased on He and his family reside in Oro Valley, Arizona.

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