Friday, 28 August 2009

Have Fun!

A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts. - Richard Branson

Fun noun light-hearted pleasure or amusement
(source: on-line Compact Oxford English Dictionary)

Fun! Don’t be ridiculous. Doing business must be taken seriously if success is desired. There are always things to do, places to go, people to meet. It’s a tough world out there; survival of the fittest and all that.

Take Bob as an example. He works hard, always has done, and he’s successful. An expert in his field he exudes confidence earning the respect of those he comes into contact with regardless of position, culture or belief. While he enjoys his work and the benefits it brings is he having any fun in the process? Let’s take a look.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Integrity in Action

Company ABC must tick a box on their control documents to show they have audit trails to support the discounts they give their clients for services. These audit trails consist of photocopies of invoices or documents that prove the work for which the discount is given has been done. Company ABC is ticking this box. Recently their parent company conducted an audit and found their actions in this particular area were not supported by their behaviour. The audit found they were not operating with integrity. They were not doing what they said they were.

Company ABC was not doing this intentionally however it resulted in their parent company not believing what they were saying. They lost face and their integrity suffered.

Conducting business without integrity is conducting business without morals whether intentional or not. In order to do business from a base of integrity there is a prerequisite for honesty coupled with consistency of action and behaviour. What does this mean in actuality?

It means doing what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to it.

Integrity at its optimum then actively manages changing situations as they arise so as to continue to deliver honestly. Things change and so must plans and activities. The base premise of how one responds to those changes is where integrity plays its most critical role.

Altering, for example, an agreed deliverable or date the first time can be generally understood and negotiated with a sense of understanding and responsiveness. The second time is a little harder to swallow for those on the receiving end and the third time… questions are going to be asked and confidence severely diminished.

Without confidence what is there?

Operating from a position of integrity builds trust and trust creates a platform from which respect can grow.

Actions always speak louder than words and when people see and experience a match between words and actions they believe. Take the leader who talks to their team about working extra hours, being available on call, or giving up holidays due to delayed decisions. That team now has an expectation that the leader is including him/her self in this effort. What happens when the leader behaves counter to the spoken word? Any motivation the team may have had to do as requested instantly disappears and any respect they may have had for the leader is damaged.

Integrity in Action is tangible – use the “Do as I do” approach and set the example you want others to follow, NOT the “Do as I say” and then display opposing behaviours.

At Unlike Before integrity rules. Our reputation is built on it and sustained by it. Based on the scale below, how would you rate your level of integrity?
  1. Always
  2. Frequently
  3. Sporadically
  4. Never
In our example Company ABC had always operated with integrity and did not intentionally set out to make this error. Their lapse cost them the trust of their parent company. To rebuild that trust they committed to correcting their procedure and ensure everything was in place AND they did just that. They’ve shown integrity in action and are slowly yet surely rebuilding that trust.

Here are some tips for increasing your level of integrity:
  • Be realistic – agree timeframes that don’t conflict or compromise other commitments.
  • Be honest – if it can’t be done or has to change say so
  • Be consistent – increase the confidence of others through consistent behaviours and actions
  • Be courageous – it can be necessary to say ‘No’ and that’s OK
Review your response to our Integrity rating scale against where you want to be then, if you want to display Integrity in Action, make the commitment and do it!