Every business has a Culture and that Culture is made up of what is important to the owner(s). Basically, your Culture can be defined as the beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that determine how the organization’s employees and all affiliates conduct themselves in business matters. It is how they complete day to day work as well as the principles they consider as they make business decisions.
Organizations can be hostile, competitive, distrustful, collaborative, or friendly and supportive. This work environment or atmosphere is determined by the Values that are important to the owners or directors. It is the way the people act in the organization. It is the way affiliates act among themselves, with customers or anyone else interacting with the business.
All operations are affected by the Values that are important to the organization whether they are openly acknowledged or not.
The policies and processes are reflections of the principles(Values) the business holds as important. These principles determine the characteristics of the business Culture. In some businesses, the Culture just evolves without any conscience direction and can be positive or negative depending on the Values, shown and reinforced in the behavior of the owners.
In my podcasts and earlier posts, I have explored Values and how they effect behavior and attitudes. I have also shared some Values of the most successful companies. Here is a brief review:
Craig Cincotta in “The 8 Values Every Company Should Live By” reported some of the values found in great companies after a study for almost 500 businesses. They were
-Problem solving- Ambition — Transparency — Empathy — Adaptability — Accountability — Focus -Integrity
Now, I will focus on adopting the Value of Integrity and how it can profoundly benefit your developing business.
“Integrity Means Doing The Right Thing Because It’s The Right Thing To Do” Brian Tracy
You’ll see how knowing “the right thing to do” can propel your organization to greatness.
How do people know the right thing to do in your business?
Overall Integrity in your business will be evident when your affiliates adhere to the Principles/Values, Mission/Purpose, and Strategy you have designed. Adhering to these elements will be the “right thing to do” in your business. Your operations will be integrated around clear Core Values.
Personal integrity is the essential support for organizational integrity, so let’s look deeper into the makeup of integrity in general.
In the research, ethics and integrity are often addressed together, so here are definitions of ethics and integrity.
The Difference Between Ethics And Integrity
“If you understand that ethics is a set of standardized rules for conducting yourself morally, then it’s easy to see that ethics is a lot like the tax code.”
Your embedded business values act as your code of ethics. They must be documented, modeled and rewarded.
“True integrity comes from individuals. Integrity is a personal code of conduct that goes above the letter of good conduct and encompasses the spirit of good conduct. Your word is your bond. Your word is good. Your intentions are to create a win-win situation. People count on your professionalism and they know they can.”
Do you mean what you say or will you do what you said you would do?
In other words, do you consistently stand for and operate from your primary Purpose or Mission using standard principles or Values?
“When both ethics and integrity are present in a company, all parties dealing with the business know they can rely on the standards with which the business conducts its transactions.” Integrity Solutions
In,”Seven Principles of Business Integrity”, by IntegritySolutions, the company shared a description of these principles. I think they can also be described as characteristics of business Integrity. So I’ll look at them this way.
Characteristics of a business of Integrity:
- Trust. “Customers and clients want to do business with a company that is trustworthy. When trust is at the core of a company, it is easy to recognize. They know you are reliable and capable. Over the long term, business success is dependent upon a network of positive relationships. Trust is invariably the critical component in enhancing business relationships.”
2. The embrace of Change is respected and expected.. “ An organization with a leader that is willing to change and listen to other opinions is a progressive enterprise. Companies will only change if there is the will to improve. Change is an inevitable activity if you want to survive. Getting feedback from team members and employees is the best way to see from different perspectives and improve the company for the future.”
3. Follow-through. “The business has gained the trust of current and former clients by meeting all obligations and commitments in a timely manner. Keeping good communications will help all involved understand “why” you have gotten the results. Even if circumstances didn’t turn out right, it is important to keep good ties with former relationships and regain lost business if possible.” Just keeping your promises no matter what.
4. Accuracy. When communicating, Integrity Solutions suggests, “proofing all printed documents is another important step in assuring business integrity. All material should be clear, precise, and professional. Make sure the information does not misrepresent the company in any way.” This will maintain your organizational integrity .
5. Social Responsibility. “Stay involved in the community. Keeping up with local issues and events demonstrates that a business is a responsible community contributor and a caring organization.”
6. Fiscal Responsibility. “An active approach to accounting and record keeping is another valuable asset to a company. This allows the organization to understand the real progress in the company, as well as deal with any suspicious activity before it becomes public or damaging.”
7. Respect for everybody involved “Last but not least is respect. Regardless of titles, ages, gender, race, positions, or any other distinctions, everyone within a company should be treated with the utmost respect.”
You can see how beneficial these characteristics could be to your business.
However, I’m going to highlight…
4 outstanding benefits or results of adopting Integrity as one of your critical business Values
Better control of the development and growth of your business
Once you have designed your Mission/Purpose, Values and Vision you have a framework for making your decisions. This framework will give you guidance as you design your strategy. Each strategy will match your framework and control where you are going with your business as well as how you’re going to get there. You will move forward only after the correct alignments to your framework have been reached. You will achieve organization integrity.
Customer satisfaction and retention
Once your Purpose and Values are known, many of your customers will align with you simply because of their shared belief in these principles. Use slogans, signs, messages in your marketing plan, and processes, or anything you can do to allow your customers to know your Purpose and Values. Maintaining allegiance to your Purpose and Values will fortify organization integrity.
Motivated and committed employees
Your framework will give you guidance for creating your position descriptions. Your stated Value of organization Integrity will require you to hire affiliates who share all of your Values. Your training and coaching will reinforce these Values. Values alignment among all members in an organization is highly motivating and rare. Consequently, employees will more than likely become committed workers and draw other committed workers to your business.
Reliable performance indicators
Your commitment to Integrity will be promoted throughout your business. Real, not fictitious, results will be found and you will know exactly how you stand on all critical performance measures. Areas for improvement or change will be evident. Honesty is a direct result of practicing Integrity as a major Value.
You, as founder, are responsible for designing, modeling and promoting the Culture that will be most supportive of your Mission/Purpose. The Culture is made up of the Values or principles that are most appropriate for reaching your Vision. You are responsible for making these core Values become habits in your organization. We looked at the advantages of adopting Integrity as one of your core business Values and concluded that better control of your organization is one essential advantage. It’s also easier to solicit and keep your customers and employees with Integrity as a core Value. Integrity leads to higher degrees of trust and motivation all around. It’s worth considering. Should Integrity be at the top of your list of business Values?
Supporting information in: The GeniusCore Business Building Podcast Also: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”