Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Business Sages

By Tyrone Freeman

Forget the so-called gurus. The leadership lessons worth noting come from those who have chosen to build and manage their business on the foundation of "Integrity".

"Integrity is the essence of everything successful." -Richard Buckmister Fuller

Stop right now and make a list of three businesses you consider to be trustworthy. They may be organizations, corporations, or the corner grocery- they can be any business as long as you trust them.
Now, ask yourself, "What similar traits are shared by all three businesses?" One trait likely shared is that you perceive the business owners, officers, and managers to be people who are honest and have integrity.
Honesty, integrity and trust are inextricably linked. If a business is perceived to be one of integrity, over time consumers build the kind of trust for businesses that ensures long term success.

Many times, the loss of integrity has become the difference between a business failure and success, between bankruptcy and expansion. The integrity choice is one of the most important choices a business leader will ever make in crafting and executing strategies that lead to successful competitive advantages and long term sustainability in the marketplace.

Think back over your past experiences.  If you are like most, some of the greatest difficulties in managing your business or carrying out your leadership responsibilities may have come from trusted managers, business partners and/or colleagues saying they were going to do something- or telling you they had done something, only to find that they didn't.  Or they could have come from "team members" who liked to "cut corners" on the team, the business, or authorities believing there are no holds barred… as long as they don't get caught.

The difference-- Sages realize getting caught has nothing to do with integrity. Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look there and see a person who won't cheat, then you know he/she never will. 

To be a business Sage, integrity must be our foundation. Every decision involving your organization is about the choices you make to execute any successful team effort. In these moments, we find our businesses or professional career relying on the integrity of our teammates. Thus, we realize in every endeavor, to be successful, we have to commit to certain efforts and then follow through on that commitment. Long-term success demands a shared level of integrity that forbids cutting corners, letting things slip through the cracks or performing less than 100 percent of what we say we will do.

On the flip side, it is easier to over promise and under deliver. Unfortunately, during this past decade, we have seen and read about the many businesses that did not build their foundations on integrity, but by one of the favorite mottos of the time, "Success at all costs." These businesses quickly illustrated the outcome for any organization with leadership lacking integrity: Death.

For the Sage, death is not an option- particularly if the cost is the compromising of personal or business integrity. Whether we are talking about a CEO, manager, or business- where there is no integrity, there is no trust. Trust is a by-product of integrity.

"In all things preserve integrity; and the consciousness of thine own uprightness will alleviate the toil of business, soften the hardness of ill-success and disappointments, and give thee an humble confidence before God, when the ingratitude of man,"-UNKOWN.

Each day, our business decisions inextricably link honesty, integrity, and trust. So, succeed with integrity- become a business Sage:

(1)   Establish integrity as a top priority. The cornerstone of your actions and decisions;
(2)   Communicate clearly your uncompromised values;
(3)   Do what is right and ethical regardless of the circumstances
(4)   Do what you say you will do; and,
(5)   Never compromise your integrity by rationalizing a situation as "an isolated incident."

Remember, never sacrifice your integrity! People will forgive and forget bad judgment… not your lack of integrity.

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About the Author
    Executive with substantial business development, labor management experience. High premium on providing cost saving management practices. Focus on Lean Six Sigma implementation, contract drafting, operational cost saving.Globalization of manufacturing and supply chain optimization.
Licensed Sports Agent with broad experience in business management.


Union negotiation, branding, sales, marketing, international business, mergers, labor-management arbitrations.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

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