Why Integrity Matters in Business
Hello and welcome to the J+M Infrastructure blog! We are honored to have you join us for the first in a series of articles on the value of virtues in business. Our topic of today is that of Integrity and its role in business world.
Lessons are often hard learned in life and my journey to owning and operating J+M Infrastructure was no different. Some of these lessons I learned about how to make a company successful I learned early in my life. The very first may have been learning the importance of integrity both as an individual but also its vital role in business. In my teen years I started a lawn care and landscaping business while in school and working another job. Soon I had 7 regular clients whose large yards I was maintaining. With all this on my plate I definitely needed some help. So I hired my best friend (we’ll call him Dan) to help me. The deal we agreed upon was that we would split the work 50/50 and split the income 50/50 from the work. It started out ok but, Dan wasn’t completing his share of the work and I had to pick up the slack to ensure the customer was receiving the quality that had been provided before. I also had the fuel and equipment costs to handle out of my 50%. The billing, collections and customer relations was still 100% in my court as well. So not only was I doing more work than Dan and making less money. I had to come behind him and fix or complete the work that he wasn’t performing. Despite this I paid Dan his 50% as agreed even though I was getting the short end of the stick. Obviously I spoke to him about his lack of performance and showed him repeatedly what was expected. However his performance dwindled to the point of not even showing up and our agreement came to an end. Through these struggles and frankly the loss in profits I made sure that my customers’ needs were met and my obligations with them were fulfilled. I made sure the trust shown in our deals was honored. It meant working longer for less money but I wasn’t going to let my customers be impacted by my partner’s lack of performance.
I could no longer trust Dan to perform his end of the bargain. The trust I had shown Dan was broken. You see every transaction or deal is a sign or manifestation of trust. Or better yet a transaction is trust. I knew beforehand that Dan did not have the best integrity. I had thought that by our friendship I could trust Dan. I learned the hard way that trust should only be given when integrity is proven. The trust I had shown Dan in our transaction was broken by his failure to keep what was promised. The wealth that my business was generating was diminished and both Dan and I left our transaction the poorer. I had less time and less money. Dan had weakened our friendship and lost my trust. He also lost the continued or future benefits that could have been his if our deal was followed through on. I learned that without the Integrity to follow through on our commitments the trust shown in the transaction is short lived. Through this experience I began to realize the importance of integrity in business. Integrity is the foundation on which the trust of every transaction is built.
Despite the struggles I had with Dan I made sure that the trust of my customers was not betrayed. This meant doing tough things and working even harder to fulfill my obligations to them. None of my customers were ever even aware of these struggles. The relationship with my customers continued for many years until I transitioned out of the business. I realized that people and companies with high levels of integrity build on the trust shown in each transaction to form long term relationships with their client’s and partners. These long term relationships are the key to any business’s success.
So what exactly is Integrity?
Integrity: Informed by truth it is the firm desire in each man’s heart of doing what is right along with the fortitude to do so.
So how do we apply this? So how do we grow in Integrity? I think that in order to be persons of integrity we must:
• Be forthright truthful and honest
• Identify what is right and be unwavering in your commitment to do it
• Have the determination to see it through. In other words do the tough things to make it happen.