Have you ever been disappointed by a business you greatly admired?
I have been and very recently too. A business I really loved ran into a series of problems with clients. This has led to many people loosing trust in that business.
Sadly,this happens a lot. Customers and clients are disappointed all the time by business that don’t live up to their expectations, and who fail to operate with integrity.
What is Integrity and Why is It Important?
“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”
— Maria Razumich-Zec
YourDictionary.com defines the word as ‘the following of moral or ethical principles, and doing the same as what you say’.
Integrity equates to trust. If you can’t trust a company, why on earth would you bother doing business with them?
That’s why operating with integrity is so vital for a business today. Businesses who failed to be transparent in their dealings with the public, or did not deliver on their promises to customers and clients, will find themselves getting bad press especially on the web.
The second a new potential customer or client Googles the name of your company and finds poor reviews extolling how other clients trusted you and were let down, is the same second you lost that new potential customer to someone else. All because of trust and integrity. Some businesses have it. Some don’t. Be one of the ones who have it.
Characteristics of a Business with Integrity?
“There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
The following are a few traits of businesses that uphold a code of ethics.
1. HONEST AND TRUTHFUL TO THEIR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS,AT ALL TIMES..
Honesty requires some vulnerability, and most of us have a hard time with that.
In business especially, sometimes it can feel easier to ‘delay the truth’ in order to maximize earnings. But the long-term result is failure, along with a bad taste in your mouth. Who wants that? Integrity means telling the truth even if the truth is ugly. Better to be honest than to delude others, because then you are probably deluding yourself, too.
2. GIVE AND KEEP PROMISES
Leaders keep their promises. They give promises carefully, even reluctantly, but once they have given that promise, they follow through on that promise without fail. And they always tell the truth. Many businesses unfortunately are great at making outrageous claims and promises, but few of them are able to back it up. This is only going to hurt you in the long run. You might land a new customer who doesn’t know any better, but rarely will they remain in the dark. And once they step into the light and can see your company for what it is, they will never return. Worse, they’ll probably tell all their friends about their terrible experiences with you, and, well… you can guess the outcome of that.
3. DON’T TAKE SHORT-CUTS
“There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life.There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character”
Businesses with integrity already know there are no short-cuts.
Building a successful business takes time and a lot of hard work. They don’t look for ways to cheat their customers and clients to make more money, because they already know that ultimately they’re cheating themselves.
Principle holds; Winners over-deliver. Losers under-deliver.
4. TREAT TEAM WITH RESPECT
Part of being excellent is being a leader his team could respect. Part of being a leader your team can respect is respecting your team. It’s a win-win. Building a business with integrity starts first with you.
5. VALUE REPUTATION
This doesn’t mean they deceive the public in order to maintain an ‘image’, it just means they strive to present themselves in a way that best represent who they really are. Their reputation is a reflection of the values they uphold and honesty and transparency are part of those values.
However It’s okay to make mistakes, but character is defined in how you handle and own up to them.
Integrity in business is a choice. It doesn’t rely on anything other than you, making up your mind to commit to giving your best to your clients or customers. It’s also a constant. You can’t compromise your integrity in small situations, and not expect that same compromise to occur in larger, more important situations. It takes a long time to rebuild integrity once it is damaged. It should be guarded at all costs and valued more than anything.
“As an entrepreneur, a reputation for integrity is your most valuable commodity. If you try to put something over on someone, it will come back to haunt you.”
— Victor Kiam
What does integrity in business look like to you?
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