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Retailer2Retailer: In business—and in life—integrity trumps all

May 23/30, 2016; Volume 30, Number 24

By Scott Perron

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 4.21.13 PMAs I think back to my childhood and the early days growing up in our small family business, there are so many lessons I can extrapolate when it comes to running a successful business. But none is more important than having integrity, which is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”

Back in the late 1970s an owner’s success was not only related to profit but more importantly the integrity of its leadership. As a child I remember there were several carpet and linoleum stores in the area surrounding our little central Connecticut town. Most of those were family businesses and many had a lifespan that went on for decades with clients who sang their praises and referred them as a matter of course.

Over the last 25 years my business travels afforded me the opportunity to meet thousands of salespeople, managers and owners. Although many were monetarily successful, the ones I was most impressed with are those who do what they say they are going to do—and for the right reasons. Like many of you I have put my trust in others many times only to be disappointed by their actions later. As we look across our industry the landscape has certainly changed and many of our competitors lack integrity—they are solely focused on dollars rather than people. But there is a silver lining. The real standout companies of this generation have finally made it their mission to operate with unadulterated integrity when dealing with vendors, clients and staff.

Here are five examples of integrity we can apply in business:

1.When you make an agreement in business, honor it.

2.When you hire staff to represent your company, take responsibility to train them properly on your mission, values and processes.

  1. Hold people accountable to a standard of measured performance with updated trainings and reviews.

4.Be transparent with your clients and enthusiastic about treating them with respect.

5.Make your business about people—which includes your staff, vendors, installers and clients. Focus on their needs first and the money will come. If you people get what they want, they will return the favor.

It is our responsibility to instill integrity into the generations that will follow us and teach them the value of strong, long-term relationships. My parents taught me about this very important life choice, and for that I am thankful.