Why Integrity in Business is So Important
Have you ever felt disappointed with a business’s conduct or actions, especially when you once trusted that organization? Have you even gone so far as to cease doing business with a company because of it?
When a business does something that’s out of line with their ethics, it’s hard not to notice. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that business integrity is critical for keeping customers, vendors, and even employees. If you’re wondering how to build a business with integrity, here’s what you need to know.
What is integrity in business?
Before diving into how you can build a business with integrity, it’s important to define exactly what the term means.
The website Business 2 Community splits the definition into two meanings, providing a useful way to frame the idea of integrity. First, integrity means acting in an “upright, moral, honest and consistent way.” When you build a business with integrity, trust will be developed, open communication will be a mainstay in operations, and your business will thrive.
Second, integrity means to be undivided, or whole. The importance of this in the business world is easy to understand: everyone on your team (from individual employees to departments) should act in a cohesive and consistent manner that aligns with the business’s mission statement and culture.
When integrity is achieved, you’ll improve profits, maintain a good reputation, and keep employees satisfied with their work.
Tips for building a business with integrity
1. Follow through. Actions speak louder than words, which is why you should always follow through on what you say you’ll do. This goes for client deadlines and customer service, promises made to employees, and every other aspect of your business.
2. Avoid overcommitting. When you make lofty promises that can’t be kept, you’ll have no way of following through.
3. Be honest. If you can’t meet an obligation, be honest about it, even when it hurts. People are often far more understanding than we give them credit for, but the key to receiving that understanding is to be open and honest.
4. Establish expectations. Clarify who is responsible for what, including exactly what those responsibilities look like. Do this for yourself, too. When everyone knows their roles, conflict is reduced.
5. Be a (consistent) role model. Hold yourself to high standards and the people in your sphere will follow. When employees work for someone who consistently strives to be honest, moral, and understanding, they’ll feel empowered to conduct themselves similarly.
6. Don’t take shortcuts. Businesses with integrity know that there’s no such thing as a shortcut to success. Never try to shortchange your clients, vendors, or employees. You won’t save anything in the long run, but you could destroy your reputation.
7. Give it time. Building integrity is part of building your overall reputation, and that can’t be accomplished overnight. If you incorporate these tips into your daily operations, you’ll eventually be seen as an integrity-filled business that people can trust.