Jan 23 2009


“You can’t build a reputation


on what you’re going to do.”



We’ve talked before about the definition of integrity being doing the right thing even when nobody else is looking.  The dictionary says it’s “the quality of having strong moral principles,” and “the state of being whole, unified and sound, without corruption.” 

I mention it here because integrity is the best kind of reputation to have.  Some customers flock to some businesses because they offer the lowest price.  Some seek only to have quality at any price.  But in today’s volitile marketplace, integrity (“HIGH TRUST”) is what sells most consistently and most profoundly.  It’s what anchors that elusive customer characteristic: loyalty! 

Consumers have been duped and led to slaughter for too many years.  Consumers are tired of hearing about businesses that make empty promises, that fallaciously attach themselves to worthy causes but fail to walk the walk when it comes to the moment of truth.  

As proverbially expressed, deeds and action speak louder than words.  

Consumers are demonstrating, across the boards, that they do not any longer want to deal with “low-trust” talk-the-talk businesses. 

     What separates “HIGH” from “LOW” trust?  Integrity. 

     How does a business gain integrity?  By gaining respect. 

     How does a business win respect?  By establishing a reputation. 

     How does one build a reputation? 

  • By consistent demonstration of honesty and fairness with both internal and external customers, and appreciation that the two need to be viewed as interchangeable. 

  • By recognition that the customer is always right and that there are never any exceptions to that short of legal violations or physical violence. 

  • By (back to the proverbs) practicing what you preach! 

Being partly honest in business is like being partly pregnant in life. 

If your assessments of your business and the spin you’ve been putting out to the public (or, more correctly,  to your marketplace) are filled with um’s and er’s and maybe’s and sometimes’ and occasionally’s, you’re not kidding anyone but yourself! 

Are you and your business, for example, making token donations to charities, or are you and your employees getting into the trenches and helping charitable organizations to raise money and move forward?

It may be time to step back and revisit your mission as well as the services you perform and that you provide both inside your doors and out.  Today’s a good day for that.  Think about it. 

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