Integrity versus Investment
I think we all can agree that when billionaire business mogul and philanthropist Warren Buffet speaks, people listen. Let me mention billionaire one more time for the man that still lives in the home he purchased in 1957. I was reading an article penned by Courtney Connely, “Buffet’s career advice will change how you approach your job,” where CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch said that Buffett who gave her the career advice that had helped her more than any other wisdom she’s received. What was this piece of wisdom? “You cannot make a good deal with a bad person.”
I stopped to ponder what does this statement mean to me. My mind went to ethical behavior, code of conduct, honesty, integrity, trustworthy, kind, and compassionate. Take a look around you, what have you draped yourself with in your circle of influence. Your closest friends project a picture of your future. What are their values? Fortunately, you have an opportunity to spend time with them and get to know your personal partners. But what about your business partners? Will you have that kind of opportunity to forge a viable relationship before you shake hands on a deal; before you sign on the dotted line; before you say yes? Did you count the cost of the relationship in conjunction with the return on investment?
I encourage you to take inventory of your ships-friendships, relationships and partnerships. A person’s values are just as important as their valuables. Are their words in alignment with their actions? The cost of doing business with one who lacks integrity could cost you your business. Conflicts of interest do not have to exist, the appearance of them is enough for reputation risk that could cost market share. Questionable character can erode your value position. Count the cost.
It is important for entrepreneurs of start-ups to establish a code of conduct for their employees. You set the tone of what is to be expected. Governance and ethics should be part of the culture. If you are employed for a company, find out what is the company’s whistleblowing policy and how do they handle misconduct. If you are seeking employment, do your homework and interview the company to find out what is the tone at the top for ethical behavior. You need to know what is expected and what is tolerated. Everything that sounds good isn’t always good for you.
I encourage you to align yourself with those who walk in integrity, deliver the truth in kindness, even when it stinks, and do what is right in the face of adversity.