Choosing Green

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No plans, no planning, no training, no money, no idea what possible unintended consequences might be lying in wait. Over-optimism, no forecasting, no understanding of cashflow processes, or what to expect in the short (or long) term when decisions are made. Hope is a bad business plan. And hope is often the only business plan many organizations have.

There’s a fine line between winning and losing…

The weatherman said it was going to be “mostly sunny, 65 degrees, no rain”. So, my mother washed clothes and hung them to dry on the clothesline in the back yard. Clothes dried outside always seemed to smell better. Fresher. It started raining as mom finished putting the last clothespin on the final laundry item. Two baskets of still-wet clothes had to be taken down and rehung on the lines strung from front to back in the garage. A less desirable place to dry but a workable option. The car was moved out in the rain. At least there was a back-up plan, Plan B.

Starting a business is like washing clothes on a partly cloudy day. What if things don’t go quite the way the vision says it will? Is another option acceptable? Does it fit the dream?

I just read this: “If no one wants or needs your services, it’s unlikely that your company will manage to hold its ground.” Seems kind of obvious, really.

My wife and I had a garage sale once. It turned out no one wanted our junk any more than we did. We donate our junk now, saves hassle and keeps us from hearing how useless our assets are.

There is very little black or white in the world. Nearly everything is a shade of gray of which the choices are infinite. But compromise is difficult, sometimes extremely difficult.

You like the yellow car and the blue car equally but can’t buy them both, so you buy the green car. Is that compromise since yellow mixed with blue equals green? You could argue that. Are you satisfied with the decision? Probably not. You may feel defeated, like you cheated yourself; like you’re afraid to make a decision because of what others say or think.

Welcome to the world we live in.

Our world is in chaos. World-wide pandemic, economic imbalances, inadequacy of health care, poverty, war-hate-crime, lack of educational opportunity, climate change, homelessness, inequality, wildfires and forest management, the list of challenges goes on and on. How often are the challenges preventable? More often than you may realize.

The mistakes made in decision processes include those that are surprises with unintended consequences. How can consequences of decisions avoid the label “unintended”? Every decision is made with the expectation that something is going to occur because of that decision; something planned and reliable that will allow processes to continue without negative results. 

Choosing between extremes is done with no consideration. Hot or cold? Black or white? Its the middle variances that harbor the home of compromise, the difficulty is in the extent of compromise. How much are you willing to give? Is the benefit worth the cost? You should try to determine this in advance of entering the discussion. Its not just black or white; it’s what shade of gray do you want.

Greg Henderson is the retired founder of the Southern Oregon Business Journal. A University of Oregon graduate and a six-year U.S. Air Force veteran, he spent nearly 30 years in banking and finance. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications concentrating on some 20 industry sectors. Contact him at

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