Honesty & Integrity: Unethical Conduct Destroys More than Business
Don't be a contractor who overpromises and under-delivers
As the workforce evolves, one thing has remained the same in business: ethics. Honesty and integrity are universal ethical principles we should always strive to incorporate into our business practices – it’s simply the right thing to do. But below the surface, it’s much more than that; while dishonesty in business may contribute to a short-term win, it’s a slippery slope that nearly always results in unintended, negative fiscal outcomes.
Fortune Magazine named Enron “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six years consecutively! It was an accomplishment that was undoubtedly envied by many other business owners at the time. However, in 2001 there was an unfortunate twist in the story. The executive team had been hiding large debts from investors, stockholders and shareholders, artificially inflating revenue and the overall value of the company. After the whistle was blown and all was said and done, shareholders had lost $74 billion, thousands of employees and investors lost their retirement accounts, a significant number of employees had lost their jobs, and the CEO of Enron quickly found himself serving 24-years in prison.
For good or for bad, this and many other examples of unethical conduct in business have shaped our expectations for honesty and integrity in business today. The bottom line is that poor ethical conduct is detrimental to any business on many levels, seen and unseen, and can seriously cripple reputation and overall performance in the short and long run.
It’s not enough to implement ethical principles into a business simply for show; these business morals must be ingrained in every employee and become part of your lasting business culture.
It’s not coincidental that Sharp, Robbins & Popwell in Tennessee is receiving more and more business every year as their reputation grows. Their steadfast demand for unquestionable business ethics has shaped a very successful construction and restoration business based upon honesty, integrity and other desirable traits.
“The construction industry is filled with contractors and tradesmen who overpromise and under deliver, and we make a point to not be that company,” says Dale Sharp, President of Sharp, Robbins & Popwell. “We want every customer and business associate we work with to be fully satisfied with every aspect of our service. Fulfilling promises and commitments is rarely convenient or easy, but doing the right thing is simply the right thing to do.”
Not only has Sharp, Robbins & Popwell been very successful year over year as a full service construction and restoration company, but also receives regular praise on account of team members for unexpected, yet shining examples of integrity and satisfaction. One such example took place during the course of repairs for a large tornado loss at an apartment complex.
“We realized that the adjuster’s estimate allowed for about $12,000 in excess of what was necessary for siding repairs,” says Sharp. “This appeared to be a mistake by the adjuster, and we’d already been paid in full for the project. Without hesitation, we wrote a check back to the carrier for the excess payment. Our intent was simply to make things right.”
It seemed like such a small thing, but this was business as usual for Sharp, Robbins and Popwell. Much to their satisfaction, the phones began to ring even more frequently with referrals from the adjuster and their associates – word travels fast!
As business owners, engaging in ethical and honest business practices is vital to success. So much hinges on these business practices, and it’s simply the right thing to do.
“Conducting your business and yourself with integrity isn’t always rewarded financially or with additional work,” concludes Sharp. “At the end of the day honesty and integrity is really all that matters, and it never fails to be internally rewarding.”