Our core values are not intended to be feel-good catchphrases. They describe the collective behaviors of our company and what’s important to us. They’re a lot more than just words on a page. Our core values represent who we are – not who we want to be. We believe a business’s core values should embody the day-to-day reality of how you do business. And this all starts with our second core value: Uphold honesty and integrity above all else.
The importance of honesty
In business, there’s no one-size-fits-all model. Each company is different. Corporate and office dynamics change every year. Employees behaviors change. Customer behavior changes. And the only way to address all of this is to always remain honest about what’s going on in your business. Most people don’t require bells and whistles – they have a specific need they want to be resolved and if it gets resolved, the rest is irrelevant.
We’re reminded of the famous line spoken by the Wizard of Oz in the 1939 classic film, right before the secret of his humanness was unveiled:
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”
The Wizard of Oz warned us to look beyond the flashiness and fancy lighting. It reminded us that working together in a more honest way will get you much further.
The idea that brand perfection is necessary is a misconception. Ask any couple that’s been married for 30 years and they will tell you that being honest doesn’t mean being perfect. For brands, it simply means truthfully communicating the challenges being faced and then putting in the legwork to address those challenges.
When presented with honesty, consumers become loyal enthusiasts. Brands that have a heart and stand by their values and intentions form relationships with their customers based on truth. No amount of showiness can replicate this. Honest brands pull back the curtain. They don’t profess to be wizards. They are brave and respectful of their customers.
The importance of integrity
When you study great leaders, you see one consistent character trait in each of them – integrity. Great leaders model integrity by standing by what they say they’ll do and doing what’s right no matter the circumstances. Having integrity means putting personal agendas aside to focus on the greater good of your company and the people it serves.
In today’s globally digital marketplace, the name of the game is brand integrity. When marketing promotions aren’t syncing with operational realities the damage to a company’s reputation can be instant. The consumer is king and whether intentional or otherwise, a brush with dishonesty can reap damage that’s hard to recover from. So “How do I incorporate more honesty and integrity into my business and brand marketing?” you ask. Good question. Well let’s look at a few ways that should be obvious to everyone, however, are so simple they are often overlooked.
How to incorporate honesty and integrity into your business
1. Keep your word
If you want to establish a solid reputation you must deliver on your promises. Without excuses and without a change of conditions, let your yes be a yes and where your convictions demand it, let your no be a no. Set boundaries and stick to them.
2. Keep your commitments
If you say you’re going to be somewhere at 11am, be there at 11am. If you think you’re going to be late or suspect your prior appointment might run over, be sure to notify early. Being on time and where you say you’re going to be, says a lot about the character of a person and a business. Letting people down by failing to show up or by having little regard for another’s time is a surefire way to damage your reputation.
3. Pay attention to your environment
Your environment leaves clues about your identity and you can’t afford to be messy, unkempt and unprepared. Organization and cleanliness speaks volumes about integrity, not just towards other people, but to yourselves as a company. The entire world is a spectator and it always pays to put your best foot forward.
4. Stay focused
It’s easy to get tempted by distractions and other opportunities screaming for attention, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s honest and true. If you’re on a job, you stay focused on that job until you see the result you want. Putting your all into something draws admirers.
5. Surround yourself with honest people
Surrounding yourself with people offering solid character and a positive attitude is crucial for your company’s integrity. The people you employ should not only be highly respected in their field but offer great influence on the others around them. Surrounding yourself with honest people allows integrity to permeate the air.
6. Take responsibility
Everyone makes mistakes and this is true in both personal and professional life. Showing integrity means admitting to these mistakes and not being afraid to say, “I’m sorry, I got that wrong”. Words can be powerful, but only if you back them up with actions, so to be integral, you must work to prove your remorse.
7. Respect your employees
Whether it’s the office temp or a long-standing employee, your staff deserve your respect. Respecting employees helps encourage them to respect their customers. We believe the extent to which an organization cares for its people is the extent to which the employees will care for customers.
Honesty is the best policy
We’ve all been taught to be honest since we were children – there is no reason why that shouldn’t carry into our professional lives too. Not only is honesty the best policy as a matter of principle, it also makes good business sense. When you’re honest, your customers will respect you for it – and they will keep coming back.