Businesses that operate without integrity—by cutting corners, overcharging, underpaying, or otherwise devaluing clients and employees—don’t last long. Because of these cheap tricks, they may soar in the short-term by fooling people into thinking they’re something they’re not, but eventually, they will fall. And most of them will fall hard. The reason is simple: You can’t sustain a business on a foundation of sand.
To create a business with integrity, start at the beginning. What’s the mission of your business? Think big on the what and get specific on the how. For example, our mission at Round Table Companies is to help build our clients dreams (the what) through the power of exceptional strategy, writing and design (the how). Think hard and get creative about the ways in which you’ll accomplish your mission and, perhaps most importantly, why this mission matters to you.
Another huge step is to figure out your core values, both as an individual and a company. Ours at the Table are Integrity, Brilliance, Joy, Synergy, and Creativity. (Need help determining your core values? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free workbook.) We work hard to infuse everything we do with our core values. If a process, a team member, or a client isn’t matching up, we immediately try to resolve the problem.
Defining your core values and presenting them to the world—on your website or mission page, for example—immediately ensures that you’re held accountable to them. If one of your core values is expediency, for example, you probably won’t let yourself get lazy with returning client calls. In other words, make sure that everything, from client and employee relationships to the brochures you make to the speeches you give, mesh with your core values. In doing this, you will constantly operate with integrity. And it will show.