How integrity paves the way to business sustainability and success
South Africa has seen its fair share of corporate and government scandals in the past year alone. The lesson learned is that many companies talk about integrity while demonstrating the opposite. It is crucial for the future of your business to incorporate steadfast business ethics into the core fabric of your company.
Experts point out that integrity is vital to business success. Honest business practices drive respect for your vision. It has the power to instil confidence and inspire not only your staff, customers and investors, but also your competitors and society at large.
Here are 5 ways you can do better business with integrity.
- Step up on your own personal integrity
Unwavering integrity is one of the most essential qualities of great leadership. Thought leader John C. Maxwell, says leaders with integrity are single-minded in their pursuits and are free from hypocrisy. As a leader, you should walk the talk by conducting yourself in a consistently truthful and reliable manner. Your character and personal standards will determine the character of your company and the conduct of your employees.
- Commit to unyielding accounting practices
Cooking the books has become far too acceptable and confidence in financial reporting is steadily being eroded by numerous high-profile scandals. The potential impact on the long-term survival of a business is severe. Your books should always reflect the true standing of your company, free from exaggerated statistics. Honesty is policy. Transparency internally and externally is key to credibility and can be achieved through unyielding financial accountability and standards.
- Deliver on product promises
Consumers want no less than what they paid for. Products must perform as advertised. One way to build credibility and positive word-of-mouth is to deliver on the promised value, quality and benefits of your products. Ensure that all products are compliant will legal guidelines and standards. Check that your suppliers subscribe to ethical sourcing policies.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say
Making false claims about products is an unethical way to gain profit. Any techniques to distort or hide facts in the fine print could harm your integrity. It is never worth gambling your hard-earned reputation just to get ahead of the competition. Build trust and confidence in your business with ethical marketing campaigns rooted in honesty, fairness and responsibility.
- Customer service
According to eMarketer, customer service is one of the key aspects that affects a sale. Integrity can be reiterated throughout the sales process by building a customer-first strategy. Express sincere appreciation for their business and follow through on your commitments. If you offer a guarantee or warranty, honour it. If you say you’ll respond to emails, do so in a timely fashion. Put your customers at the heart of everything you do.
As you continue on this ever changing path toward becoming a great leader, be inspired by George Eliot who said, “Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right.”