Is it good business to do so?
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Our firm has been in business for 45 years, yet it seems like yesterday when we started. We have had our share of ups and down, but perhaps the one thing we are most proud of is that we have never failed to honor commitments to our customers. This means we shipped our products on time, conducted our consulting and training services on time and professionally, issued reports promptly, and never lied to our customers. They may not have liked what we had to say, but we always endeavored to tell the truth. In other words, you can take our word to the bank.
We have even walked away from prospective customers simply because we didn’t believe it would be beneficial for both parties. Our competitors found this perplexing.
Not many companies can make the same claim, which is why we are proud of this fact, but we always believed in treating our customers fairly and honestly. We may worry about meeting a deadline, but we sleep well at night otherwise. I would also like to believe we delivered products and services with quality and class, never with any shlock.
All of this was specifically designed to maintain our credibility and sense of professionalism. In other words, our integrity. From the start we tried to maintain a moral compass, and as an inherent part of it, we took the position, “Our word is our bond.” Without such integrity, we believed we couldn’t live with ourselves. Others may not have a problem cheating others, we do.
I have a friend who is in the construction business and develops high quality houses and condos both in the Midwest and Southeast. A few years ago, he partnered with a consortium of developers who had big plans for real estate. However when the housing bubble burst, all of the developers reneged on their commitments and filed for bankruptcy, except my friend. Some from the group became despondent and committed suicide; it was that bad. Unlike the others though, my friend saw this as a stain on his reputation and couldn’t imagine remaining in the field unless his integrity remained intact. Although he was strapped financially at the time, he worked with his creditors and over time paid them all off. Whereas his former partners fell into obscurity, my friend’s reputation grew as a result. Today he is back stronger than ever as a developer, and has an excellent credit rating. He is also asked to be a professional witness or negotiator in cases between banks and developers. All of this because he maintained his integrity.
It is very easy to walk away from your commitments. Some of our bankruptcy laws have made it perhaps too easy. The fact remains though you are judged, both professionally and personally, by your work ethic. If your integrity tumbles, you will likely tumble in life. It’s all about establishing trust with the people you come in contact with and honoring your commitments. Bottom-line, it is just plain good business.
Keep the Faith!