I attended a business networking meeting earlier today, at which a local CPA gave a ten minute presentation about her accounting and tax practice. It turned out to be a lesson in integrity. She described many unethical practices that she has witnessed over the 20 years of being in business, in addition to her prior 10 years as an IRS representative. In spite of client’s desires to get a BIG tax refund, she is committed to operating within generally accepted accounting principles.
What was really unusual in a business setting of this nature is that she acknowledged her faith as the foundation of her moral convictions. She built her business on ethical standards and is reaping the benefits from that early decision. She gave me a sense of trust as a person I could do business with, should the opportunity arise. I don’t recall meeting her at the prior couple of meetings I’ve attended, but today she made a lasting impression. Consequently, this month I decided to focus on this matter of integrity.
Why is integrity important? Integrity is a virtue that demonstrates the quality of one’s character. While morality is often associated with integrity, you can make a mistake, or hold “immoral” views, yet still act with integrity. Acting with integrity on some particularly important occasion will, philosophically speaking, always be explained in terms of broader features of a person’s character and life.But, it is primarily a relationship that one has with oneself.
Integrity is important as business owners because it connects us in our actions with our clients, colleagues, suppliers and other relationships. What I believe is one of the most important by-products of integrity is the law of attraction. We attract into our lives the very things that we give away. If your truth is fairness and goodwill, then fairness and goodwill is what you will attract in return. On the other hand if your truth is manipulation and short cuts for improper gain, then you can expect to reap the fruit thereof.
As case in point: last summer when gas prices skyrocketed, my housekeeper decided that she needed to raise her rates. But the problem was that, not only did she intend to increase my rate by 100%, she slipped up and admitted that I was “one of the people” she had chosen as a “sacrificial lamb.” After ten years of service, I fired her on the spot.
In these economically challenging times, remain true to who you are. Continue to operate your business with integrity and never take anyone for granted. Your words certainly are a reflection of your character, but your actions are a greater tell-tale sign of your fundamental moral compass. Whether you’re doing business with a Fortune 500 company or and Mom and Pop store; a group of 1000 or 25, let the quality of your product or service be the same. Be mindful to keep your word and deliver on your promises.
Point to Ponder: The investments you make today will pay dividends in the future.
Rebecca McClain is a life & business coach. She is the founder and CEO of Life Treasures, LLC. As an entrepreneur, author, speaker and coach she is recognized as an expert in personal and professional success and fulfillment. Visit her website to receive a free audio CD http://www.rebeccamcclain.com