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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Scott

Tangled Priorities: Striking a Delicate Balance

"Mr. Jones, how are you?" Spence asks as he reaches for a handshake with the man seated at the coffee table outside the cafe.

As the older man grips Spence's hand, he smiles and says, "Spence! How are you? It's been a while. You know you can call me Howard. Have a seat." while signaling Spence to sit down.

The two met at a recent business conference, where Howard offered Spence the valuable guidance and insight he had long sought.

As they caught up on life updates from the conference to now, Spence says jokingly, "Hey, you remember that one story you were going to share with me about your buddy but didn't?"

Howard chuckled and sipped his coffee while crossing his legs, saying, "I suppose I have no choice but to tell you now, don't I?"

As Howard starts reminiscing on his journey, he says, "As a businessman, I always put the bottom line first," twiddling his fingers that rested on his lap.

"Often, It caused me to justify my decisions, and sometimes those business decisions can have personal consequences. You know?" Howard explained.

"How so?" Spence asked curiously.

"I once had a business partner who was a close friend in trouble. He. . .uhh..." Howard paused to collect his thoughts. "He was facing financial difficulties and needed a loan."

Spence responded, "I'm sure you helped since he was your friend, right?"

Howard fell silent.

"I was concerned about losing money. I knew the loan short-term would affect my business, but I didn't know how much," Howard said.

"So what did you do?" Spence asked.

After sipping his coffee, Howard says, "I cited my usual mantra, "nothing personal, just business," and rejected the loan."

As Spence looked at Howard, it was evident that he had been caught off guard by Howard's response. Spence looked around, unsure of how to respond.

With a despairing look, Howard said, "I know. . . My friend felt betrayed and devastated. He eventually filed for bankruptcy as his business failed, and I lost a long-term partner."

Spence could tell the situation had a profound effect on Howard.

Howard sat up in the chair and uncrossed his legs, looking Spence straight in the eyes, saying, "As I told you before, business decisions can have personal consequences. I had to stay strong, be firm, and be wise. I had to do what was necessary to benefit the company and employees."

Spence nodded in agreement with Howard and asked, "What would you have changed?"

"Nothing," Howard replied. "I wouldn't have changed anything,"

Howard's gaze shifted to the window as he took another sip of his coffee and continued, "I realized whom I was dealing with. I decided never again to let myself be taken advantage of and vowed to be more careful in my business dealings."

Spence nodded understandingly. He knew Howard was a man of his word and that he had made the right decision.

…Or did he?

🔑 Recognizing the importance of relationships brings with it a set of pros and cons. While it can contribute to enhanced social support, greater collaboration, and personal growth, it also requires a significant investment of time and energy, leaves individuals vulnerable to emotional ties, and can affect their ability to remain objective. Maintaining a balance between building relationships and fulfilling other obligations is crucial.

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