Integrity in Business 1

Change is the only constant these days..

In order to survive and prosper in today’s age any type of change – organizational, business or personal, some basic principles always come into play. These principles are forward thinking and emotionally mature and for those who value integrity above results, and people above profit.

It’s the future. Triple Bottom Line (Profit People Planet), Corporate Responsibility, Fair Trade, Sustainability, etc – these are not just fancy words – they are increasingly and ever more transparently becoming the criteria against which modern successful organizations are assessed – by customers, employees, and the world at large.

This is not to say that results and profit don’t matter, of course they do. The point is that when you value integrity and people, results and profit come quite naturally.

Rattan Tata, one of India’s most successful businessmen, decided early on not to succumb to the corruption that has been rampant in India for many decades. In order to succeed there, one has to bribe the way forward to succeed. He may not have succeeded as fast as he could have, but he stuck to his guns, and decided to follow his own path. Today, Tata is one of the largest companies in India.

What is the true nature of integrity? There are in fact some very basic principles that surround the qualities of business integrity. At its core, integrity begins with a company leader who understands the qualities of integrity which then filters down throughout the company into every department and every employye’s approach and attitude.
In recent research performed by the Institute of Business Ethics- an organization which is among the world’s leaders in promoting corporate ethical best practices, it was found that companies displaying a “clear commitment to ethical conduct” almost invariably outperform companies that do not display ethical conduct. The Director of the Institute of Business Ethics, Philippa Foster Black, stated: “Not only is ethical behavior in the business world the right and principled thing to do, but it has been proven that ethical behavior pays off in financial returns.” These findings deserve to be considered as an important tool for companies striving for long-term prospects and growth.

There are three “fruits” of integrity. The first is trust. Behaving with integrity builds trust among the people you are dealing with. Behaving without integrity builds distrust.

A second fruit of integrity is influence. Integrity creates reputation and sparks imitation; without it, you lack the ability to influence others and events. Influence is essential whether you want to be the leader of a successful organization.

The third fruit of integrity is repeat business. Whether you work in the services industry or manufacturing, acting with integrity almost always translates into more business from satisfied customers, their families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and on and on.

These behaviors are instilled in employees through leaders, and this inculcation requires diligence, persistence and ensuring that you ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’.

Inevitably, over time the culture of the company will attract and retain customers and profitability.

One comment

  1. “ethical behavior pays off in financial returns”
    You are completely correct. Trust is a company’s most precious liability.

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