January 26th, 2009 18:12 EST
Are Business Decisions Our Most Important Responsibility?
Like all of us, I spend a lot of time in my own little bubble, thinking about my own little world, worried about my own little problems. Unfortunately, we don`t always step outside of our bubbles to consider really serious problems that other people have and are dealing with. This week, I did the compulsory one-day stint as a juror in my county in California. It is my observation that most of us don`t take that annual responsibility very seriously.
People show up for their one-day mandatory service and if ordered to a courtroom, they tell the judge anything that they have to in order to get excused from the responsibility of serving on a jury as a juror in a trial. For most of us, we don`t want to be assigned to a jury if it would take any time longer than the one day that has been assigned.
I`m the same. Given the opportunity, I would also try to get out of additional days of jury service, but today I bumped into a judge who wouldn`t hear a single excuse from a single person. With the exception of a few students, this judge was insistent that everyone who was assigned to the jury pool would make themselves available if selected by the attorneys.
People tried all kinds of excuses, like "my company needs me and I can`t be away". Even sole proprietors made their cases. The self-employment issue always works, but not with this judge. This judge asked the person making the excuse if they took any vacation, and when the person said yes, then the judge instructed them to treat this like a vacation and arrange for whatever coverage was necessary.
The judge punctuated his comments by saying that the founding fathers risked their lives to make a trail by your peers one of the tenets of our constitution. This judge feels that every one of us could sacrifice a few days and a few dollars to make good on this constitutional requirement.
Thinking about it, if I was the judge, I`d probably be the same way. I don`t like people who fudge the worker`s comp system and people who cheat on their taxes. I don`t like people who make excuses and I don`t like people who lie deliberately to get out of their responsibilities. And even though I was somebody who might have done the same thing under these circumstances, this judge taught me a lot about this today.
It turns out that I was selected by the attorneys to be one of the jurors in an important criminal trial. I say important because there`s a defendant whose life hangs in the balance. If this jury evaluates the evidence and finds him guilty, this person may end up in jail. I`d say that`s a pretty serious responsibility.
I learned something serious today, something that I hadn`t thought about until I was confronted with the situation:
1. Service to our community is important because there are people who have sacrificed their lives so that we can have what we have today. Many times, we forget that.
2. "Working the system" is a bad approach and I caught myself trying to do what I don`t like.
3. The responsibility for making a decision about someone`s fate is the highest form of responsibility and for me to shirk that responsibility is a tragedy. It was only a tragedy because until today I had never really contemplated the seriousness of the situation, but it`s a situation that I`ll take seriously now going forward.
4. It created some perspective that maybe some of the business decisions that I make aren`t quite as important as I blow them up to be.
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About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.
Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and faculty member of the iLearningGlobal community. To bring Joel into your company, please visit http://www.joelblock.com or http://www.growth-logic.com. Also, be sure to check out our newest project: a blog to organize the blogs that cover entrepreneurship - http://www.entrepreneur-hub.com. And finally, for film makers: http://www.filmfundingblog.com - our newest project.