Lose your integrity…..and lose your business right along with it!

Lose your integrity…..and lose your business right along with it!

I’ve toyed with writing this post — as it’s a bit personal. Yet, in it, are critical business lessons for all of us.

Throughout our lives, people come & they go. Personally and professionally, some people enter our lives and make it better, and some challenge us to grow to new heights. There are those who drain us, or hold us back. Still, there are those wonderful few who EXIT our lives….making it better by doing so, AND teaching us valuable lessons along the way.

I had one such personal relationship, whose ending, while I didn’t realize it at the time, was a compete blessing, allowing me to grow and learn in ways that only life’s hardest experiences can teach you. Watching someone slip away from the person they once were, has taught me more about honor & integrity, and doing what is honest & right, that I had ever learned before. It has made me a better person AND a better professional!

Many of us — friends, colleagues, bosses, clients — have watched this particular person spiral into what is almost an unrecognizable version of his former self. His business has begun to plummet & his customers are leaving in droves. The integrity he once prided himself on, has all but vanished.

Can you recover from such a total lack of integrity? Without some serious soul searching, lots of owning up to past mistakes, and a total do-over, I doubt it. For the rest of us, though, here are the key pieces I observed that contributed to his (& his business’) downward spiral – as well as how to make sure YOU (and those on your team) maintain YOUR integrity & don’t get yourselves into such a spot.

#1 Always do what you say you are going to do – As simple as it sounds, keep your promises. If you promise a client a certain thing….deliver! Always keep your word and your customers will appreciate you for it. If not – they will leave.

#2 Embrace personal & professional growth – There is no glory to be found in playing small – in not becoming the best version of yourself. Those who refuse to grow, often find themselves being dragged down by others with little to no drive, and little to no character. They start to look for short cuts, and to focus only on profit, not on relationships. This is often where the downward spiral begins.

#3 Be cautious of the people with whom you surround yourself – If your friends, colleagues, & staff lack integrity, it will become like a virus that begins to permeate throughout your organization, your relationships, and worse – yourself. The integrity-driven members of your team won’t stand for it. So either get rid of the virus, or risk losing your quality relationships (staff, clients, and friends). It is astounding to see how one bad egg can bring down an entire organization.

#4 The rules DO apply to you – No one gets a short-cut. When clients and customers begin to see you cutting corners or bending the rules for others, but not for them – their BS meter goes off like crazy! They will yank their business & find someone who operates with integrity (as they should).

#5 Own up to your mistakes and apologize when you’ve done wrong – We all make mistakes. Clients and staff know that. But, when you do – own up! Don’t blame others for your mistakes, and always seek to find a mutually agreeable resolution.

Although we may not want to admit it, we do run into people with a lack of integrity from time to time – or whose integrity begins to slip bit by bit. My advice: RUN…..RUN LIKE HELL!! There are far better things (and people) ahead than any you leave behind!

INTEGRITY ~ doing the right thing, even when no one is watching!

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