(Time to read this Blog is about 2 ½ minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My Quote of the week:

“When trying to fill staff vacancies in this challenging labour market, it’s tempting to hire any body who shows up.  Don’t do it!  You can’t build an extraordinary business by hiring ordinary people. When recruiting new employees, are you looking for talent or settling for bodies?   …Donald Cooper.

  1. Quick Biz Tip: Do exit interviews with good staff who are leaving you to go somewhere else. Tell them you’re sorry to lose them and that you’re committed to improve the business and the culture to keep and care for top-performers.  Ask them if they have any thoughts and suggestions that could be helpful.  Suggestions about clarity, culture, communications, compensation, flexible work, recognition or feeling valued and a part of something special. 

Then, listen, learn and ‘thank’ them!

  1. Myth busting: Electric vehicles claim to have ‘zero-emissions’. It’s simply not true. Their toxicity is simply pushed back a few steps where it’s out of sight and conveniently forgotten.  Their emissions and toxicity come from two sources. 
  • The manufacturing of the batteries that store the power in these vehicles,
  • The production of the electricity that charges the batteries.

The 1,000-pound (454 kilos) batteries in electric vehicles are made from a number of rare and not-so-rare minerals that are mined, processed and transported in a high-energy-use, high carbon producing chain of production.  One of those materials, cobalt, is mostly mined in the Congo by children in forced labour who often die from handling the toxic material.  How do you factor that into the global impact of ‘green’ vehicles?

Most of the toxic materials in these massive batteries cannot be recycled economically, so they go into landfill. 

Looking at the generation of electricity that powers these ‘zero emission’ vehicles, 40% of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants.  So, it follows that 40% of the EVs on the road in the USA are actually coal powered.  And, coal is the dirtiest of all energy sources.

Then, there’s the supposedly ‘clean green energy’ that comes from wind turbines that are each made from 1,300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron and 24 tons of fiberglass for the blades.  Those blades must be replaced after 20 years and are not recyclable.

Finally, there’s ‘green’ solar energy. The production of solar panels requires the use of many highly toxic materials.  The panels themselves are not recyclable and will end up in landfill in 20 years leaving all their toxic materials to leach into the soil.  

So, the hype and chest-thumping about ‘green’ and ‘zero emission’ vehicles simply doesn’t take into account all of the ‘embedded’ costs and toxicity that lies below the surface.


Now, to this week’s important topic:

What are the ‘unforgivables’ in your business…and do you have them covered?

In just about every business there are certain things for which your customers, and perhaps the media, simply will not forgive you…and you’d better have them covered.  

I first learned this as a teenager working at a summer camp where I was the riding instructor and my brother taught water skiing.  What I discovered was that if a child slipped off a horse and broke their arm, it was regrettable…but no big deal.  They got driven into town, had a cast put on their arm…and back at camp everyone signed their cast.  They were practically a celebrity!

But if a child drowned at the waterfront, every parent would show up the next day to pull their kid out of camp.  A child drowning is unforgivable!  So, they had swim tests for every kid before they could participate in any waterfront activity.  Every waterfront staff person had to have their Royal Lifesaving Certificate. They used the buddy system in the swim area with buddy checks every five minutes and waterfront staff huddled every day to review safety procedures.  In other words, they had the waterfront ‘covered’.

In the meantime, up at the stable, it was just me, 12 kids each hour and a string of reluctant horses.  

Here are a few other examples of ‘unforgivables’…

  • If you own a restaurant, serving hot food cold is regrettable…food poisoning is unforgivable.
  • If you’re an airline, a plane arriving late is regrettable…a plane crash is unforgivable.
  • In my opinion, a squeaky bed in an otherwise romantic hotel room is unforgivable.
  • If you’re a manufacturer or distributor, anything that makes your customers look bad to their customers should be unforgivable.

So, what are the ‘unforgivables’ in your business?  Spend just 30 minutes with some of the best minds and hearts in your business or department and make a list of ‘unforgivables’.  In addition to actual life-and-death situations, what action, inaction or failure to perform might break your compelling Brand promise?  What about anything that will erode the customer relationship or drive a customer into the arms of a competitor?  While not life-threatening in the physical sense, shouldn’t they also be ‘unforgivable’ in your business?

Then, make sure that, like the camp I worked at so long ago, you have all of these ‘unforgivables’ covered through clear commitments, continuous learning, systems, process and discipline.


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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