There’s a picture in my office with the word “INTEGRITY” on it. The picture is of a lighthouse in a stormy sea. In small print beneath the photos a statement reads; “Those who preserve their integrity remain unshaken by the storms of daily life.”
What a simple notion, but one that leaves an impression nonetheless. I see and admire people who remain unshaken by the storms of daily life in simple, everyday business. I see good, ethical companies doing business, treating customers and making decisions, big & small with an honest and real commitment to doing the right thing. The steady remain so regardless of what difficulties they encounter along the way. They seem to have fewer worries, less stress and more overall contentment. They not only possess the experience and the knowledge to lead their companies in today’s market, they acknowledge that innate characteristic of doing the right thing, every day in every business transaction.
The majority of business owners prefer voluntary self-regulation as opposed to government regulation. These business owners hold themselves accountable to the highest standards of integrity in their advertising, selling and business relations. As a result they earn the confidence of their customers.
Honest business owners understand and live by Merriam Webster’s definition of ethics; “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”.
You’ll notice the definition does not single out business; “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”. Lacking specificity, the definition is meant to be applied to every aspect of our lives. So one can then reason that while it can be done, it’s not easy to separate the ethics of business from the integrity in our personal lives. In fact this separation probably shouldn’t be done. Simple enough, but there is still an idea that “business is business” meaning it’s not personal. But it is indeed personal. Each person is in the deal because they think it is in their best interest. In most cases the deal is fair to both parties. One party provides a good product or service and the other pays a fair price. Everybody’s happy.
Ethical business people typically become the leaders in their industry. Their competitors respect them. They may not like them, good guys just get in the way of bad guys, as they should; but at the end of the day, they do respect them. Good honest employees are willing to make a long term commitment to honest leaders. Their company is a steady success, with ups and downs, no doubt, but an overall success measurable beyond their bottom line; and “unshaken by the storms of daily life”.