Doing The Right Thing

How refreshing it is to be around people who do the right thing!
I have experienced several instances of this lately and seen some reported, so thought it would be a good subject both to challenge ourselves, our businesses and the organisations for whom we may work.
Last week the BBC screened the second of two DIY S.O.S television programmes where they had undertaken to not just to improve one home for a single family, but a whole street in Manchester to turn run-down properties into homes for ex-service personnel. Tradesman, suppliers, and individuals arrived on site in order to make it happen, willing simply to do what they could do and even whole families; because it was the right thing to do. As businesses, we have the opportunity to become involved in projects where there is no financial incentive, where our efforts will be hugely beneficial to the project and where the visibility of our efforts will or may never really be seen by a broader audience. We have the opportunity to do things because it’s the right thing to do. We know when it’s right, not because we have to think it through; we just instinctively know, we feel something that chimes with our values, it makes a connection with our heart and our gut feeling commits us to take some action.
A few weeks ago, a month-old biopharmaceuticals company made international headlines when its CEO announced that a drug for which it had obtained the manufacturing licence, Daraprim, would rise in price from $13.50 to $750 per pill: a rise of 5455% . This week, enter Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Deigo-based drug manufacturer who will offer the same drug at less than $1 a dose; another example of doing the right thing. It does not negate the fact that drug development is painfully slow, complex and costly, but is not the right thing to do to grab a product, to hike its price and state that’s what you have to do to raise money for research. It’s not the right route and certainly isn’t a decision based in compassion to those who are at the immediate point of need in treatment.
Public Health England (a UK government-funded and regulated organisation) made clear recommendations to introduce a sugar tax, levied on products containing seriously high levels of sugar in products, as a way of tackling the obesity crisis by curbing demand for unhealthy food and drinks. I wonder in what way choosing to ignore the considered and researched findings of such expert recommendations can be the right thing to do? Often in our leadership we are challenged to be courageous, be creative in our solutions and to be compassionate to others. We will have opportunities in our lives to make a difference but these may come with pressure from those around us to not ‘rock the boat’, not to upset someone else’s strategy or do things that others may not want done. You see, doing the right thing may not be easy, it may not be straight forward, but it will make a difference; you just have to be true to yourself, be courageous, be prepared to face obstacles and challenges. You have to be prepared not to give up, but to stand up.
Today, I experienced a rather more personal example of both not doing the right thing and getting it so very right. My father, who is in his 80s, does not currently enjoy the best of health. His condition means there is an increased need for support and equipment around him to make his life as easy as possible and to this end, we have installed a stair lift, an essential piece of equipment to allow him to use both upstairs and downstairs in his home.
The lift came to a stop last night and for whatever reason, my mother could not get it going again. Faced with such an issue late in the evening and being some 80 miles away, after a number of telephone discussions, we were forced to conclude that he would have to go upstairs on his bum 3 steps at a time, rest and then repeat until upstairs, and that we would have to get an engineer out to find the problem and fix it.
Now having purchased the lift privately and installed it ourselves, I was in hope that by offering to pay in advance, the manufacturer would be able to accept the request and organise for one of their national service engineers to visit. Alas, this proved far too simple; we would have to have a service agreement in place before being able to have access to an engineer. A prime example of following a process to honour their intention, that of getting a long term service agreement in place, but not recognising the immediate need of an elderly couple! The conversation through 3 separate telephone numbers, with multiple “I will have to put you on hold” resulted in thanks for your (limited) assistance, but I need to find someone who can respond more flexibly.
One call later to a regional installer with offices near to my parents’ address found an altogether different approach. Concern for their wellbeing, understanding of the immediate need, a commitment and willingness to solve the problem first and then to deal with paperwork. Because it was the right thing to do. Well done Chris Martin at Hanoverlifts! A caring, compassionate, courageous and creative person…and of course, they will be looking after my parents’ stair lift going forward.

So go on, do the right thing today, be compassionate, creative and courageous.