Seize the day: capturing value beyond the pandemic

It is difficult to see past the negative headlines and constant stream of bad news. Yet, there is another world and timeline that is not often highlighted enough. That is the overwhelming generosity of spirit that individuals and businesses are showing during these hard times.

The doctor who posts an informative health YouTube video, the landlords who cut tenants a break, the CEOs who forego pay to avoid laying off workers, the academic colleague who helps another with Zoom, and the marketing consultant who gives a client free advice that leads to sales. These are examples of folks helping one another through our shared difficulties.

I’m hoping these acts of kindness accomplish two things. First, that they instill a reminder that fundamentally we are social beings that rely on one another’s generosity of spirit to thrive. The Scottish Enlightenment philosophers tried to address this but their views were subsumed by hyper-economic rationalism.

Second, that these intrinsically good and socially-beneficial acts get amply rewarded when the hard times pass. My sense is that the tenant, customer, colleague, and patient loyalty generated by these acts will add value above-and-beyond what was provided.

It is good to do right by those who need help at the moment. Pragmatically, this will be remembered when times are good and thus offer a powerful source of enduring value. By the same token, decisions motivated by short-sighted opportunism will likely have negative long-term effects.

Businesses in particular should note that the decisions taken today will have an impact felt long into the future. So, carpe diem!

Making sense of things going forward

It’s the middle of the day and amidst the quiet and worry I find it difficult to focus and stay positive. Right now, it appears we are all in survival mode.

Relationships, my work and spirituality keep me going. But the analyst in me keeps asking the same nagging questions: how will we move forward? Will this all just wash away?

I personally think life will never be quite the same once we get through this. The pandemic is going to change our collective perception of who we are and our place in the world. The temptation will be to simply use existing techniques and rhetoric to get over this iteration, but what structural long-term policies and reforms will we adopt to address the next major global crisis?

I hope as a species we see this as a warning call that is to be ignored only at great peril. Will the world change? I’m not sure. But if we don’t adapt to the heightened risks nature is increasingly revealing then we will pay increasingly higher penalties. The change can only occur if we all weigh in. As a society, I feel we have outsourced too much for the sake of convenience and economy. We’ve outsourced policy, ethics, jobs, and accountability. We did that because it worked wonderfully. Until now, that is. Yet, my sense is it’s time to take a hard look at that ideology. Increasingly so for the sake of our own survival.

Writing this has been cathartic. Thank you for taking the time to listen to one person’s point of view. Now, it’s time to get back to life, as hard as it is at the moment.

The importance of law and strategy during a crisis.

Securing health and loved ones is the top priority during an epidemic. Securing property during uncertain times, however, is also an important need.

Law and strategy can increase security and certainty by preserving much-needed capital. For example, tough times sometimes lead to broken promises. When this occurs developing a contract litigation or alternative dispute resolution strategy will be worth the investment.

Teaching during the era of Corona Virus

When undergraduate honors-level business law resumes next week, I’ll lecture on force majeure and liquidated damages. I have several real world examples that I’m sure will delight the students.

Force majeure, or Act of God clauses in contracts allow a breaching party to be released from their contract duties (promises) due to an unforeseeable act that renders the contract oppressive or impossible to perform.

Liquidated damages are contract terms that stipulate what penalty will apply due to contract breach. Like a nonrefundable deposit fee, for example.

Learning in a new era

When I first started teaching, I thought undergraduate student learning at a U.S-based business school would remain constant. I’d synthesize, analyze, translate and apply information and then the students would arrive at that Aha! moment. Nothing would change. Well, I was wrong.

Over time I’ve noticed students need something different. They want information chunked into packages, delivered through various formats, and messaged through relatable stories. The first and third aspects did not surprise me. I appreciated their importance nearly thirteen years ago during my first teaching job.

Educational content, however, should be in multimedia, delivered in a way that allows students to track performance (e.g. quizzes and cases) and obtain immediate validation, and of course always made available online.

My approach to teaching has necessarily had to change. Readings posted online and PowerPoints were starting to feel a bit stale.

More on how I’m currently adapting in the next post…

A Moment of Reflection

Today I received some copies of my co-authored first edition undergraduate textbook “Business Law and Strategy.” This project has been an ongoing effort spanning two and a half years. I’m excited to be able to finally physically hold the fruits of this collaborative effort. My hope is that this book will allow students and instructors to appreciate how business law can be used strategically as an instrument for good and value creation. Oh, and the cases/ examples are really fun. Enjoy!

Compliance and Patent Infringement

There are troubling signs of an “efficient infringement” model within large companies that knowingly trespass on smaller companies’ patents. Not only is it a strategic business decision, but according to this great article it is a duty that falls upon managers to enrich the company’s stockholders!

But this all seems to beg the question(s). What does compliance have to say about all this? Should compliance jump in early to assess ethics and other strategic options, such as cooperation and taking a license? Should compliance take a 360 perspective and advise management accordingly? What role does compliance have when it comes to patent infringement?

Professor Orozco accepts compliance work publication offer from U. Penn. J. Of Business Law

My manuscript titled A Systems Theory of Compliance Law was accepted for publication over the weekend from the stellar folks at U. Penn. So many of my respected colleagues in Legal Studies at Business schools have published in this premier law review. I briefly considered expediting to other law reviews but reconsidered when the Editor-in-Chief of this journal left me a voice mail and mentioned that he was a fellow FSU Seminole (College of Business alum no less!).

I look forward to publishing more works in the interesting field of corporate compliance.


-Prof. Orozco