What is integrity, anyway?
Integrity is a word that gets thrown around a lot – but what does it actually mean to you and the success of your business? At an individual level, integrity is all about having a sound character and adhering to moral and ethical principles. Oprah explained it best, when she said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
It’s not too different in business. As someone with a small business consulting agency, my employees and clients alike need to know that I’ll do right by them; that my word is my honor. And as a business leader, I want to build a culture of people that do what they promise, value honesty and meet their commitments.
Personal values are critical
The key to business integrity is knowing what your personal values are, and then sticking to them, irrespective of the scenario. It’s about being honest to yourself, to your co-workers and your employees. Acting with integrity is showing yourself as the same person in every situation, regardless of whether you’re talking to your CEO or an intern in the mailroom.
I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that integrity can be boiled down into this: if you act with integrity, you take full responsibility for your own actions and stick to your moral code, even if it means a tough or unpleasant outcome.
People do business with people they like
I’ve been hearing a phrase from my dad since I was young. Whenever we talked about being successful, he would say to me, “ People do business with people they like.”
As I move through my own business life, I realize just how true this is. Why would you choose to work with someone you can’t trust? Why would you want to go into business with someone who doesn’t stick to their word and can’t be trusted? Obviously, there are occasions when the rent needs paying and a person has less choice where they work than is optimal – but if you had the freedom to choose with whom you worked, why wouldn’t you go for someone with principles and integrity, someone you actually like?
If this is resonating with you, why not pick up the phone and talk to me about how I can use my small business consulting experience to help your business develop a culture built on integrity? I’m at (615) 219-9181.
Integrity in business
So, we’ve established at least what I think integrity is all about. Let’s agree on the basics and ask this question: so how does my acting with integrity help my small business consulting firm? Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years that I truly believe apply across the business board.
- Build a good reputation – Trust and respect in the workplace don’t just foster a positive, healthy culture and environment, they also establish and then build your reputation. Suppliers trust you to pay them, employees trust you to keep your word, investors trust you to invest wisely and scale the business. And good words can spread like wildfire.
- Keep a happy staff – Let’s get back to my dad’s favorite phrase, “People do business with people they like”. This works with your employees too. Be the boss with integrity and enjoy increased productivity through great team morale, as well as keeping your people for longer and attracting ferocious new talent. This doesn’t mean to let them do whatever they want either. Your goal is to help them become better established professionals in the workforce.
- Constantly improve customer satisfaction – Great integrity builds trust, and customers prefer to buy from companies that they feel are good, and not just profit-chasers (I can hear my dad’s voice again, here!). Any customer word-of-mouth recommendation is the strongest referral you’ll get, not to mention the repeat business from the original customer.
We believe in helping companies understand how to grow and demonstrate their integrity, so we offer small business consulting as well as tailored solutions for larger organizations.
Doing good business is the right thing to do
So, how do you demonstrate integrity in the workplace to achieve the wonderful outcomes described above? There are some practical things you can do to display your business integrity:
- Define your moral principles – what’s important to you?
- Be honest and treat people well. Reward honesty in others.
- Be the first person to admit fault up when things go wrong.
- Treat everyone equally, irrespective of who they are. It all comes down to respect.
- Be trustworthy and genuine, and surround yourself with similar people.
- Demonstrate the kind of responsible behavior you’d expect of a good leader.
How Take the Stairs shows integrity
As they say, “you must practice what you preach” so my company strives every day to maintain the highest level of integrity. You can see it displayed most easily when talking to our clients and prospects. Take the Stairs knows there are many sales-hungry marketing agencies and management consultancies out there with a focus on money over making their clients successful. At Take the Stairs, we provide high-levels of transparency. Our small business consulting firm is never afraid to give tough love about your business in our meetings, but we will always be fair and provide sound reasoning. As a client, you would receive a monthly task breakdown for all the services we complete with your monthly hour allocation, so you are never left in the dark with your marketing or operations strategy.