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Determining if businesses have integrity

Today’s business environment and whether the existence of integrity is in place is an important characteristic.  Whether an organization or company has integrity and exhibits that characteristic is fast becoming a necessity.  Business integrity must exist and it is sad to say that examples in the news have shown that it is lacking in parts of the business environment many find themselves in today.  Bad news seems to be more prevalent than good news and lack of integrity in business seems to be highlighted more than the ones who exhibit integrity within their company.  The importance of integrity in business cannot be underestimated.  Decisions made by management of companies affect the lives of their customers, themselves and their employees.  Businesses, their employees and management must have integrity throughout their operations.

Today in some organizations the emphasis is on making money but management does not realize that making money starts with putting themselves in the position of the consumer.  In making the decisions before them the question needs to be asked whether the consumer would be happy with it or be dissatisfied.  This is an important philosophy which businesses and organizations must create if they are to succeed or continue to be in existence.

Each employee in an organization must complete their assigned responsibilities to the best of their ability without taking shortcuts.  Products and service have requirements which the consumer expects to see when they make a purchase.  In a manufacturing environment it is important to make sure that all products comply with the specifications in place or they need to be corrected.  Consumers want a quality product for the money they spend.  Making a good product is only half the issue.  Service after the sale is as important as before the sale.  A company can have a great product but if the service after the sale is poor customers will go other places where the service has a better reputation.  This results in customers going to competitors who may be selling the same or similar products or services which meet the needs of the consumer.  It is a fact that when consumers buy products or service they want them to live up to the advertisements and service promised after the sale.  The key in getting and keeping customers is to have a quality product and/or service that customers can trust.  Trust is the key element.

Business leaders must match their words with action for failing to do so creates a perception businesses do not want to project to the consumer who buys their products or services.  This is important in any business.  If management does not back their words with action, how can the employees trust them?  When the management of a company cannot be trusted to keep their word it makes it more difficult to negotiate contractual agreements.  This is not the only example where the lack of trust can be a problem.  Employees sometimes have issues on which they want their management to take action and resolve.  As an example this may be where employees are not doing their job and force others to do it for them.  Management must have the resolve to take the action necessary to get employees to do their job.  When employees complete their responsibilities, especially with a quality effort and integrity of purpose it creates a good environment for a company to succeed.  It has been said that a man is as good as his word.  This statement however, does not go far enough.  Words must be matched with action.

Companies must have in place a code of ethics/integrity which exemplifies the principles of integrity.  These rules must be followed by all employees of the organization.  I have had experiences in the past where I have been dissatisfied with a product and sometimes the service after the sale.  As a result the company who manufactured the product will not see a repeat customer.  Sometimes the issue is the service or the integrity of getting the initial sale.  If a sales person is not honest in discussing options on various products it turns people off and their company will lose future business.  People have a right to receive a quality product and/or service and they expect it to perform as advertised.  Sometimes there can be problems with the manufacture of products and how a company handles the situation tells a lot to the consumer in how the business operates and the principles they have in place.

Today companies must be advocates for their customers in every way.  If the decisions they make or the product they produce is not of high standards they must ask themselves if they would buy the product knowing what they know about it.  If the answer is no then they need to make changes in how they operate.  Quality products/services must exist with reliable documentation before a sale can take place.  Keeping the customer after the sale with the service it provides must be a priority in the minds of management.  The point I am trying to make is where customers are satisfied with the company they tell their friends who tells their friends.  This is an atmosphere that companies desire.  This kind of advertising is something money cannot buy and is the kind businesses want and need.

Another benefit of having integrity in place in companies is the fact that customers and the public will respect the company for the product or service they provide.  Respect is something that must be earned.  If a company does not operate within the principles of integrity, they will not earn the respect of their customers and the public.  This is an important element in operating a business.  Respect comes with integrity.  If you or your company does not exhibit the principles of integrity, you will not earn the respect of your customers and the public.  Another aspect of operating with integrity is a company must accept responsibility for mistakes that take place with their products/services and make the necessary correct decisions to resolve the errors which caused the problem.

People understand that mistakes happen.  Companies sometimes make quick decisions on what caused the problem without determining the actual cause.  The determination of the true cause and not what appears to be the cause is the key in resolving it.  Consumers want companies to have a system in place to resolve issues and to make the proper decision based on all the applicable facts.  If the true cause of any problem is not identified it will recur again and another decision must be made to fix it a second time.  This costs money.  It has been said that it takes less time and cost less money to do a job correctly the first time.  Resolving problems that surface cost money for companies and it is important that proper action is taken to resolve a problem the first time than to determine why the previous action did not work.  Many times companies, I feel, find that they did not do a good analysis of the situation and had to apply resources again to resolve the same issue.  This causes the resources to be reallocated and increases the cost of doing business.  This type of repeat action affects the bottom line.

In summary operating a business with integrity will result in respect for the company and their products or services by their customers and the general public.  A company who has happy customers will prosper while a company who does not will lose business and their market share will suffer.  Operating with integrity is something a business needs in today’s environment.  The impact of operating without integrity is far reaching.  Decisions made by companies affect the company, their employees and the public.  The right decisions need to be made based on accurate and complete information.  Sometimes this may be hard based on the impact of some decisions but they must be made.  Everyone will not always be happy with management decisions by management but if they are making the right decisions for the company, their employees and the public they will gain respect not only from their employees but the public as well.  Making difficult decisions are what makes a leader and we need leaders of integrity today more than ever.  I hope you the reader of this article understand the importance of integrity in business and the benefits that can result in having it.





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Dennis AuBuchon

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