No one is perfect, but each of us can challenge our selves to conduct our business affairs with “Absolute Integrity.” by Gary Shotton #000051
By Gary Shotton
Today, we’re going to talk about “Absolute Integrity.” Wow, that’s a pretty big word, “absolute” when you add it to integrity. That sounds like I’m talking like I’m perfect. No, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say absolute perfection. I am not perfect, but I can work towards absolute integrity, and I can operate pretty close to absolute integrity if I just focus on it. As a leader of your company Integrity will make the difference. Differences in your bottom line, your customer base, and the employees that work for you. When they know you stand for absolute integrity, that means you’re not going to lie to them, to your customers, or to your vendors. You’re not going to say things to your secretary like, “Hey, tell them I’m not in the office” and you’re standing right there. Don’t ever say that. If you’re standing there, you can say “Hey, he’s too busy to take the call”,but don’t lie to them. It will permeate through your company.
Now, I want to tell you some stories. It was early on in my business career back in the early 80s, 1984-85. Cash was tight. I had so little money. I had so many bills that I couldn’t pay in my start up moving company. We had moved this particular older lady. She was probably in her late 70s, and appeared to be all alone. She was very vulnerable when I went out to do the quote. She said she would just rather pay up front. We didn’t normally get payment up front, but she wrote out a check for like eight hundred and fifty dollars.
So when we go to do the job, a guy that work for me, didn’t read the paperwork and collected for the job when he was done.It said right on the paperwork, “prepaid don’t need to collect” He asked for the check, and she writes out another eight hundred and fifty dollar check. I’ve been paid twice. Well, I had to be honest with you. Cash was pretty tight, my thoughts for just a few minutes went through my head, oh, she doesn’t balance her checkbook. She’ll never know. There’s no way. This is probably a blessing in disguise. No, what are you thinking Gary? This is a mistake, and I called her up the next day and said “Ma’am you paid us twice. Do you want us to send you the check or do you want us to tear it up?”
Small acts of integrity lead to big opportunities.
Let me tell you another one. This one is very simple. We’ll do what we do when we get bigger based on what we do when we’re smaller. It isn’t something you’re going to change overnight. It’s not that you get bigger, and you’re going to get better. You’re going to repeat what you did when you’re younger. I was at a local high volume store,called Walmart. You may know about it all around the world, but they are a discount store and I’m in the checkout line and I pay with cash.Simple little thing, and the Lady counts back my change and I always count the amounts. Maybe she made a mistake, but in this case I kind of took a couple steps away and then counted and she clearly gave me five dollars too much. I could have put it in my pocket. I could have said this is just a big old company. They don’t need the money. I’m not telling you absolute integrity is equal to absolute perfection because I’ll tell you a bunch of mistakes I made, but I strive to have integrity. I stepped back to that lady and said “Ma’am you gave me five dollars too much. This is not my money.” and handed it back to her. I went ahead and and and went on my way. I didn’t necessarily feel that good about it, but I did know that I had a clean conscience.
Let me talk about the machine shop we’re in here. Now, we make parts for our customers and our customers expect us to have integrity. We’re required to keep certain information about our parts. One of the issues are that we need to know where the source of the material came from. Two parts could have come from one batch of raw material, or other parts could have come from another batch of material. So our system has it that we cannot mix these two together. However, we had a employee that didn’t understand that we must keep the scrap parts from the good parts separate. You can’t tell by just looking at them, and the average customer could probably never know. But when we found out that we had already delivered some of these parts that were made from scrap we had to make it right with our customer We could have forgotten about it. There’s no way that they could ever know that we mix these parts together, but we call them up and said you know those parts we made for you are scrapped. Instead of forty five fifty dollars a piece, they’re 40 cents a piece and there’s 30 of them. We’re going to throw them away, because we accidentally mixed them up. Lost us about, twelve hundred dollars. But, that customer knows that we will operate with integrity, and wanted to help us out, so they took the parts anyway.
We have a policy of absolute integrity to the best of our ability. Not absolute perfection, we will make mistakes, but what do you do when you make mistakes? You call up the person and you tell them. You say on this date at this time I need to inform you that I made a mistake. It takes a little backbone, may cost you some money, but in the long run I will guarantee you will make your money back and probably, be more profitable than you ever dreamed because you maintain absolute integrity to the best of your ability.
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