Saturday Musings - Integrity

Saturday Musings - Integrity

For the past week and a bit I’ve been working my way through the “joys” of Influenza Type A. When your body has integrity, everything seems to function just right and work is a great reward in itself. When there is an invader like Influenza, everything gets out of kilter…..in a similar manner people can get out of balance with their ethics.

A number of years ago I was asked to mediate between two friends that were having a shouting match about who should pay their landlord $300. It was at lunchtime and I calmly ate my meal while I listened to the both of them really go at it.

I finally got up and said, “You both disgust me.”

They both turned to me and asked, “Why?”

“Because you value the friendship at $300.”

I then walked out…..so much for mediation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to help different parties out when there is a genuine dispute over a matter. When people value friendship at so little then it makes anything that I would say as completely irrelevant. These people have much bigger problems than $300.

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At the recent Namescon conference I was speaking to a few guys that jointly owned a large domain portfolio. At the end of the conversation we shook hands on a deal and everything was great. Over the next few weeks they dodged phone calls and avoided replying to emails….obviously, their word was not their bond.

I don’t mind if people get a better offer….this sometimes happens in business but don’t avoid talking to the party that you’ve made an agreement with. If there is a problem then speak with them straight away….otherwise, you end up just looking like an idiot and a person that lacks integrity.

I was recently speaking to one of my kids and they were faced with an opportunity that could have saved them literally thousands of dollars with no one knowing. For some stupid reason they got me involved and they asked, “What should I do? No one will know.”

I immediately replied, “But you’ll know.”

There’s no such thing as “no one knowing”….it just depends how much you’re willing to ignore your conscious and sell you’re integrity for.

My business partner and I had a coffee at a local shop and we were so focused on our conversation that we just got up and left without paying the bill. The next day we discovered our error and I made the journey to the shop to fix up our bill. The coffee shop owner was stunned that anyone would make a special trip to pay for their coffee…..I didn’t want to know that I’d just sold my integrity for the price of a coffee.

Integrity is as much about being true to yourself then being a bit of a showman to those people around you. It’s being able to look in the mirror and like the person that is staring back at you.

The benefits of leading a life of integrity are multitude. When you sit down and talk with me I’ll tell you things straight. I won’t lie, shake your hand on a deal and then renege. If I can’t tell you something then I won’t. I’m entirely disinterested in short-term relationships which means that I’m committed to developing our relationship into the long-term. You should have the confidence that you’re dealing with someone that respects you and just as importantly, takes it very seriously when asked to look after your assets.

The benefits to me are incredible. I end up doing business with some really great people. I’ve known many of them for well over a decade and had the pleasure of seeing their children grow up. I don’t have to remember which lie I told to whom….I just tell the truth….it’s so much easier! If something goes wrong then we discuss the issue together and work on resolving the problem together.

I have people ask me what’s the secret of running a successful business and I tell them it’s really hard but also really simple. Live a life of integrity and you’ll attract the right customers that stand with you rather than war against you.

The result of this mindset has been that my own company, ParkLogic, has continued to grow year after year. Every client has a line directly to me. If there is a problem I want to get it resolved as quickly as possible. I also like hearing about the good news as well!

I would like to say that I get it right all of the time….but I don’t. I make blunders and the wrong decisions on a regular basis but I would like to think that I make amends, learn from the experience and move on. Living a life of integrity is not a destination but a journey of constant self-improvement. It’s working on the little things and learning to enjoy the simple satisfaction from doing what is right.

Like my Influenza Type A, knowing that you’ve just done the wrong thing can begin to eat away at you…..trust me when I say that it’s not worth it. When I got sick I went to the doctor to get checked out….who do you go to when you damage your integrity? Everyone needs someone.

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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