Your Personal Titanic Moment

On a recent interview about the Titan sub catastrophe, director of the movie Titanic James Cameron, who has made 33 successful dives to the Titanic wreckage site, pointed out that this tragedy is eerily similar to the 1912 Titanic disaster: the captain of the 1912 RMS Titanic was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship, yet he plowed ahead at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 innocent souls.

The captain of the sub Titan and CEO of the company OceanGate, Stockton Rush, was also repeatedly warned about his vessel’s safety, lack of certification for the vessel’s integrity, lack of a tracking device (think airplane black box), their experimental approach to deep dives (despite the fact that this is a very mature and well-understood practice) and lack of a backup sub. He also proceeded to plow ahead at full speed, taking people in an extremely unsafe vehicle, also killing innocent people. If there was ever a case for willful negligence, this is it.

In business, this kind of willful negligence is rampant. Sometimes it ends with an abrupt, catastrophic “implosion,” as with the Titan. In other cases, the damage is done over a longer period of time – a cancer that grows slowly until it’s too late to turn around. Willful negligence comes in three forms with business owners.

The first is just plain ignorance. Some people running a business are just young and inexperienced. They’re often trained by college professors with an anti-capitalist viewpoint who have never made a payroll or successfully grown a business. They don’t really understand what it takes to hire and lead a productive team, get a customer through the door, sell something and make a profit. They might be too young and/or inexperienced to realize that the advice they’re being fed by their business “coach,” who’s never done anything right in his or her life, is the worst advice they could ever follow.

You kind of can’t blame them for screwing things up initially. But often, they continue this behavior long-term and end up in the second camp of willful negligence, which is just willfully stupid.

Some of these folks are simply too stupid or lazy to GO learn. In the MSP world, it’s essential for any leader to attend industry events to ensure they are up-to-date on critical issues like regulatory compliance, cyber security and insurance mandates that are 100% directly impacting the work they should be doing for their clients. They don’t, of course, giving the old “No time, no money,” excuse.

We run events and courses that show people how to properly package, price and market their services yet hear the “No time, no money” excuse repeatedly on the very same call where the owner admits to dire circumstances of no profits, no growth, burdened by low-money customers and NO PLAN in place to fix it. They’re drowning yet still refuse to grab the life raft we’re offering them.

The third type of willful negligence is, in my opinion, the TRUE meaning of willful negligence and the most immoral and unforgivable. Determined negligence. These people stubbornly insist on continuing down a path of operation, clinging to some fairy tale they’ve been sold about “how things ought to be.” And like a petulant child who wants something, they refuse to acknowledge ALL facts, history and evidence to the contrary of their immature and ill-conceived agenda.

This is the group that insists employees should have unlimited PTO and put nap rooms in their offices, thinking businesses exist solely to care and feed the employees. They allow an “anything goes” work environment, without rules or standards, and without a focus on sales, productivity, hard work and customer service – then when they enforce a little discipline, like come back to the office or say no to their demands, they end up with revolt on their hands, similar to what’s going on at Starbucks right now, with 150 baristas walking off the job because they can’t display their Pride month decor.

Should you serve your employees? Of course. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods, has it right as outlined in his book, Conscious Capitalism. Business has to be good for all the stakeholders – the shareholders, employees, vendors and customers. But when a business’ focus is entirely on serving the employee or to push a political agenda, not the customer, bad behavior runs wild.

The marketing team is allowed to use the company as the vehicle for their political grandstanding rather than for getting customers and making a profit (think Bud Light). Employees are hired NOT because of their qualifications, work ethic and previous performance, but to hit some quota of diversity – which is exactly what the OceanGate CEO did.

In an interview that surfaced online after this tragedy, Stockton said he didn’t hire 50-year-old white guys – the ones he said were the most experienced submariners – because they were not inspirational enough. He went on to say that the expertise you’ll find in these ex-military submariners was unnecessary because “anybody can drive the sub.” I wonder if he put THAT in the brochure and explained that philosophy to the people in the sub who lost their lives that day.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has a moment in their lives when they place trust in someone they shouldn’t. Everyone has blind spots, and we’re all ignorant and misinformed about something. The question is do you STAY willfully ignorant or stupid to the point of being determined to hold steady to your course of action to the point where you not only do harm to yourself, but to others as well?

If you do, it’s only a matter of time before you have your own ship sunk, your own personal Titanic-size wreck. Just pray that you’re the only one you take down with you.

If you’re an owner of an MSP or IT services business, who wants a proven blueprint to get more high-value and appreciative clients WITHOUT discounting or doing all the quoting, closing and prospecting work yourself, you MUST attend our 2-day MSP Sales Roadshow. Click below for all the details and to register.

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to


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