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We all want to be doing business with people we trust. This sort of sounds obvious doesn’t it. We like doing business, or working with people that we know we can count on. Does it really matter? Do you find yourself trying to get away with a few small things that just make you feel a bit ashamed?

RedBalloon is a company of values – as I talked about in my last blog. And the first value is simply to: “Do what you say you’re going to do” that is to honour your word, to be a person who is counted on, doing work as it was meant to be done, or better without cutting corners.

But what if it comes to down to the wire – a big client asks you to break your terms and conditions… what do you do. Is there a grey zone?

For me not…in fact, I explain to the client the difficult position that they put me in personally. (After all, we are all just people doing the best we can for the businesses we work in.) This was my response to a recent request.

“I take onboard your request. However it is a breach of our terms and conditions …. We are a company of values – and our first value is to ‘do what we say we will do’. It would put me personally in a difficult position if I was to request of my team to disregard this value – just because a big and important client has asked us to do so.”

Is this too risky, might I loose the client all together…  But as a leader, if I don’t live the values then who is going to believe in them? Trust them.

Test yourself – Here are 11 questions to rank your own integrity?

  1. As a famous athlete, you are offered a $500,000 endorsement to promote a product that you dislike and would NEVER use. Do you endorse it?
  2. You are working on a project along with several other companies and you notice that one of the companies is doing shoddy, dangerous work. If you report the company, the entire project may be shut down and you will lose 20% of your revenues for the year. Do you report the problem?
  3. The taxi driver gives you a blank receipt as he drops you off. You are on an expense account. Do you write in the exact correct amount?
  4. You’re golfing with an important client who thinks that golf skills are as important as business skills. Your ball has a bad lie, but you can move it to a better position without being seen. Do you?
  5. You’re backing into a tight parking space in the work car park and you accidentally dent someone’s car. Nobody has seen you. Do you leave a note taking responsibility?
  6. A colleague wants to copy and swap some music CDs. You know it’s illegal. Do you do it?
  7. You know you are attractive and so does your prospective customer. Do you lightly flirt to get a major new account for your business?
  8. A good friend has been unemployed for several months. They ask you to write a reference for a job that you don’t think they’re well qualified for. Do you agree?
  9. You see some great content for a presentation, you know it is copyright – do you use it in your work presentation to make you look good?
  10. Your budgets are tight, you procure some business services, the vendor forgets to invoice you… six months go by do you remind them to send the invoice.
  11. You are offered tickets to a rock concert with a potential supplier that is currently tendering for a big contract. It is your favourite band and you really want to see them – and tickets have been sold out for months. You know it will not influence your contribution to the tender process. Do you go?

How did you go…? Do you think there is ‘grey’? Did you find this not so easy after all? Someone once said to me “how may drops of urine does it take to spoil the soup.’ I’ve never forgotten it. (A bit too vivid really.)

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