An Integrity Assessment — Would Your Business Pass?

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customer loyalty, integrity and trust crosswordAt first glance, it seems as if it’d be tough to provide an assessment on one’s integrity.  After all, how do we measure it?

Thinking back to my days of internal auditing with the Federal Government, I was looking for the measurement.

Then an email arrived from someone indicating that she owed us an apology as she hasn’t written her newsletter or provided informative content in quite a while, but it’s okay because she’s been behind-the-scenes revamping her business and would now like us to invest in her new programs.

And that’s when I realized that we can measure integrity — both our own and others — by asking and answering the simple question “Did I/they do what I/they said I/they would?”

That’s the measurement.  It is that simple.  Not a number, but proof that we did what we said we’d do and when we didn’t do it (as will happen for any number of reasons), we own up to it.  We mess up, we’re human.  That’s okay as long as we acknowledge it and do our best to fix it our customers and clients will continue to trust and have confidence in us.

Here are some recent instances where I’ve seen proof of a lack of integrity and no attempt to either own up or fix:

  • Affiliate payments — this one is rampant in the online-focused world.  Biz owners who ask for help in sharing/promoting something and when the affiliate payments are due to go out either don’t pay, push payments out a ridiculous amount of time or tell you they’ve “spent it” meanwhile showcasing their latest vacation on social media.
  • Consistency — simply not doing what they committed to as in the example of the business owner above.  Had she sent out a simple email stating that she was taking a brief sabattical and would be back soon, all would be well.
  • Client Service — this one really gets me.  Biz owners who work hard to get new clients and then lost them because they don’t take care of them/don’t deliver on their commitment to provide “X”.  I want to yell, “Seriously?!?!”, after all, they’re hurting their reputation, credibility, etc.
  • The Half-Assed Attempt — sadly, I’m seing this one more and more and while it could definitely be combined with “Client Service” above, I feel the need to break it out.  Rather than doing a good job, doing the least amount possible to “get by”.  This comes from either not asking clarifying questions, making assumptions or plain doing a “just barely satisfactory” job of something (think a “C-/D” in grade) so one can move on to the next thing.  Augh!

My recommendation:

  • Check and see where your business may be out of integrity with your standards and values.  Many times this is happening and we’re totally unaware of it.  An example in my business was when I discovered that a nurturing sequence wasn’t tied to a product so here I am thinking the clients are receiving this great “add-on” info to what they invested in and they were receiving nothing.  I only learned after asking a client how they were liking the info.
  • Ask your clients how you’re doing.  Keep this anonymous to ensure you receive totally honest info that you need to hear — not always what you may want to hear.  It’s more important that your business, not your ego, benefit from the responses.
  • For those who you’re doing business with and you feel they’re out of integrity, address it.  Take the approach that they’re not aware of it and ask/let them know nicely.  As the saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar and they may truly not realize what’s happening/not happening.  Make your decision about future interactions based on their response.

We’re not perfect, likely never will be and that’s totally okay.  We’re not “out of integrity” because something was missed or a mistake was made — it’s when we fail to address it that the issues arise.