As the tight economy has reduced business activity and limited resources, I’m also seeing an accompanying new trend in behaviors.
- Variations of that ever popular lie: “The check’s in the mail” is being used with greater regularity. With that, there is an accompanying trickle down effect as one unfulfilled payment promise leads to another at the victim vendor and another at the next.
- More pressure is being placed on sales people to misrepresent the facts (the legal definition of fraud) to get the business.
- Corners are being cut and some are over promising and under delivering with both our external and internal customers.
It seems that more people are willing to compromise their integrity for the sake of the quick fix while using tough times as an excuse. Is it valid? Or are they digging themselves an even deeper hole? In this environment we will all be regularly tempted or urged to compromise our integrity. As you are tested, remember…
“In the midst of cutbacks and compromises, a leader must assure that integrity is exempt.”~Tom Lemanski (soon to be famous)
The solution is so simple, yet too often lost on otherwise intelligent people. For those who have already fallen into the trap, here is my simple four step plan…
- If you can’t “do what you say”, STOP saying it!
- Buck up and tell the truth.
- Admit that you were wrong and make a promise that you can keep.
- Then keep that promise like your reputation depends on it.
Your Tough Time Opportunity
As things get tougher and as fewer people and fewer companies keep their promises, you have an opportunity to gain the rewards offered by taking the high road. As the high road increasingly becomes the road less traveled, consider the rewards available for taking this route.
Our integrity is NOT measured by what we do when life is good. Its about how we behave when no one is looking and when keeping your promises becomes more challenging.
A reputation takes a lifetime to build and can be destroyed in an instant.
The next time you’re tempted by short term gains to act contrary to your words, ask yourself…
- Is that short term gain really worth the risk? Is it ever?
- Am I really digging myself a deeper hole?
- Might I take this opportunity to differentiate and distinguish myself by taking the high road?