Maintaining Integrity in a Tough Economy

The topic of integrity, from both a business and personal perspective is close to my heart. History and theory tell us that good ethics are paramount to the success of capitalist economies. My mission is to help inspire principled performance in business.  As the future endures and creates change, ethics, perhaps unlike any time in history, will be part of the dialogue of new growth. Ethics at all levels of business, government, and society will strengthen the integrity of the economy. You must first accept the basic moral principle that fair and honest business practices are the best options simply because they are the right things to do. If you look at what’s happening in the marketplace, you’ll see that even though we desire honesty and plain dealing, we’re still not winning the battle of ethics. However, there is a stronger concern for integrity, not playing it quite as close to the edge, and taking a somewhat longer view in strategies and the setting of more realistic, more conservative goals.

The moral virtues are the foundation and support of prosperity as they are the soul of greatness. They endure forever, and all the works of man which endure are built upon them. The success we achieve in our personal and business lives in many ways is shaped by our integrity. The word integrity comes from the Latin root, meaning wholeness or entirety. Integrity demands that our words and deeds consistently reflect our deepest truths, highest aspirations, and most cherished values. If you ask me what is most important in regard to the success of a business, I would tell you, in my experience as an entrepreneur – it is integrity. The business leader must have honesty and integrity in dealing with his or her workers and customers. The same is true for reliability and other forms of character. The leader must be ethical and conscientious in all activities.

Perhaps the best way to keep afloat during uncertain economic times is to accept nothing but the absolute best from yourself and then go even further. Business ethics set the standard for how your business is conducted. They define the value system of how you operate in the marketplace and within your business. I firmly believe that desperate times don’t call for desperate measures if that means compromising your principles. The purpose of a business is to achieve your values, and if the business you are running or working for is contrary to them, you are attempting a contradiction. An honest business model can be a successful business model. An honest work ethic can achieve far greater things than a dishonest one. Look behind any successful, honest business and you will see a set of values that have stood the test of time.

Building a truly sustainable company requires a shift in thinking and adoption of new habits where companies not only assert great values, they live them. Many people believe that embracing ethics would limit their options, their opportunities, and their very ability to succeed in business. Research indicates that the integrity demonstrated by your business can have a positive effect on your bottom line. The challenge is to not only believe and voice your ethical principles, but to also practice them in all your business transactions. Competing with integrity does not imply either a reluctance to compete or an inability to compete aggressively. ..In fact, it demands precisely the institutional discipline that often gives a competitive edge. Competing successfully with integrity is in fact the aim and the norm of individuals who compete with integrity

I know it really is possible to do what’s right and succeed in business. In fact, companies that are dedicated to doing the right thing have a commitment to social responsibility, and act on it consistently are more profitable than those who don’t. A state to prosper must be built on foundations of a moral character, and this character is the principal element of its strength, and the only guaranty of its permanence and prosperity. Know what you stand for. You need to be clear about your guiding values and beliefs, and willing to draw the line in questionable situations. As your business becomes known for good character, you will retain customers and have the advantage of repeat business. More importantly, your satisfied customers will spread the word to others about your business.

It’s time for you to step up into your greatness and help change the business world as we know it; there is plenty of room at the table for good ethics and profitable business to reside. Your beliefs form your consciousness and set the path for you to follow.

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