President’s Column - October 2017 - by Mike Hodson

Mike Hodson


  Ii has always been my contention that respect is most valuable when earned. In a new sit-uation with unfamiliar folks, certainly the benefit of the doubt is appropriate. Common sense suggests that politeness and civility should be starting points in most any con-versation. However, things can go south in a hurry whenever one side does not exhibit the most basic and simple social courtesies.

   Driving today brings out the worst in way too many people. Life’s pressures, whether emotional or financial or time based, translate into aggressive, dangerous behavior with little or no respect for the safety of others. Responding to such recklessness only in-creases the risk to ourselves.

   Sadly, our experiences, both positive and negative, can greatly influence our starting points such that we are unable to effectively function without our emotions playing havoc with the situation. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to have a mutually satisfactory experience.

   During my business career, treating my customers with respect was at the top of my priority list. I believe that the best business transactions should benefit both the buyer and the seller, especially if the business relationship is going to continue for the long term. Part of the formula is respect from both sides, where each understands that give- and-take is necessary.

   More than once I was faced with the potential for major unpleasantness resulting from a deal gone sour. In such “situations,” as I liked to call them, the tone of the initial prob-lem resolution contact was all-important. Starting out calm and respectful meant that my chances for an acceptable solution were usually high. The customer or vendor real-ized that my goal was to minimize the pain for both parties. Such situations helped to strengthen relationships, contrary to expectations. Respect can be easy in easy circum-stances but not so easy during times of difficulty, hardship or anger.

   At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man wishing for the “good old days,” I cannot help but long for a time not so many years ago when tolerance and respect were com-monplace, expected and the norm. Differences of opinion were expected and accepted. Rational discussion, with resulting compromise, was the typical order of the day. Nei-ther side got everything they wanted, but most everyone was satisfied, though not nec-essarily thrilled, with the outcome. Opposing sides realized that the “winner take all” mentality only served to alienate each side and cause more hardship.

   People everywhere are understandably passionate in their views, with emotions running rampant. From every perspective, opinions are quite subjective, with absolute “right” and “wrong” seldom clear-cut. My strong feeling about which Porsche vehicle is “best” does not make me right. It is only my opinion.

   My request of my fellow humans is quite simple but not so simple to achieve. I only ask that my opinions be respected. As clearly stated in “The Golden Rule,” which I try my hardest to follow, I will respect your opinions even though I may disagree. Now, let’s go get a cup of coffee. I’m buying.