Monday, July 19, 2010

What's Your Definition of INTEGRITY?

Imagine a Corporate Board Room scene:  A meeting is taking place with a group of business people who are discussing strategies to achieve success in taking on a large new project.   (This is a fictitious story meant to drive home my point, however scenes like this take place DAILY around the world.)
The opportunity is wonderful and exciting, and holds the promise to grow this company and take it to the next level.
The conversation is passionate and highly energized, but after a few minutes, one individual begins to dominate the conversation intent upon getting the entire team to adopt his world view, his perspective.  His tone becomes more and more harsh, and finally he shouts, "Business is WAR!!", and begins to rail on about how the team must overcome their adversaries and defeat the enemy!  When he finally ends his diatribe, the team just sits there, silently accepting this person's outrageous statements as though he must be tolerated because he is some sort of knowledgeable  "warrior" of the business world.
War?   Enemy?   Adversary?  .... Really??
I've pondered this sad mentality; the jaded and harsh view of this pathetic type of individual, and the responses his audience might make.    
What this individual would want the group to assume is:
  • Customers are somehow the adversary because they want them to do things in their contract that might cost money and cut into possible profits!  He believes the team should try their best to cut corners and "outsmart" the client.
  • Suppliers are the adversary because they want us to pay our invoices on time and within terms.  He believes the team should try their best to "outsmart" the supplier.
  • Even other employees in their company are the adversary, because they try to spend money to satisfy the client and they don't adopt this warped view. 
Successful companies, and more importantly, successful PEOPLE have a very DIFFERENT view of their business, their clients, and their life in general.
  • Customers are WONDERFUL! They bring opportunity and prosperity to those companies and individuals who value them!
  • Vendors and suppliers are WONDERFUL!  If we negotiate with them in good faith and strike appropriate and honorable deals, they will favor us with special offers and will agree to be excellent references!
  •  Employees, Co-Workers and Peers are WONDERFUL!  We need them as much as they need us!  Without them, we will fail!  We should seek to ADVANTAGE our co-workers, and to help them be totally successful in their jobs!  We should be saying "What can I do to help you be successful" to them daily.
No, business is NOT "war".  Business is a wonderful endeavor wherein honoring your word and with integrity, and acting in the best interests of your customers will always pay huge dividends. 
These dividends might not always be "cash", but might come in the form of having an excellent reputation in the marketplace, or in knowing that you have a large list of excellent references that you can use when seeking new business.
The very most important benefit of the wonderful world view and the actions you take because of it,  is the character you build.  Seek to build character with your every action, your every deed and word.
Character, honor, integrity.  Don't we all hope that when others are asked to describe each of us, these words will be used?
Think about it; are your words and deeds aligning to build character, honor, and integrity in your personal life and in your business?  If not, what steps can you take today to move in the right direction?
Life is short.  Do it right.

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