It isn’t always easy to do the right thing in business, but trust me, your behaviour as a manager defines you. I have witnessed so many senior managers lose sight of what is really important, which has led them to great failure while leaving them digging themselves out of gigantic holes.
When you do things for all the wrong reasons, also expect your ethics to be questioned at any time by your customers, co-workers, and stakeholders. It’s vital that you’re always honest and have strong moral principles. Otherwise, you might as well wave goodbye to your management title now.
Integrity is a lost virtue, but if you stay true to the intent, you WILL come out ahead.
Going from good to great
“Companies do not fall primarily because of what the world does to them or because of how the world changes around them; they fall first and foremost because of what they do to themselves.” In that one sentence, Jim Collins, nails it on the head. Only you can control what happens next.
The rest of the world doesn’t hold all the cards in the pack. You might argue that it’s your customers that have the biggest influence on your success. Don’t waste your breath.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that ‘you’ aren’t the whole story. Without co-workers and customers, you’d be a sinking ship without a paddle. But it’s the decisions you make and how you meet challenges of doing the right thing that will always have the most impact on your business.
Develop a strong sense of ethics
Whatever the chapter or challenge in your career, you must decide on what you will and won’t do, and stick to it. All successful institutions are built on values and delivering excellent results, rather than just being focused on making as much money as possible.
You should use your strongly developed sense of ethics as a guide when taking actions. Most importantly, take responsibility for both the good and bad times, and never pass the blame onto others if the shit hits the fan.
Giving up is never an option
If your product or service doesn’t sell, it doesn’t have to be the end. Whatever your line of business, if something doesn’t work as well as you hoped, giving up isn’t an option. All great leaders that deliver exceptional results are kings at turning poor sales around.
With the right leaders, plenty of companies have overcome failure, and so can you. You just need to make the right decisions and do the right things.
Take Ken Iverson at Nucor Corp in the US for example. In 1965, Nucor Corp was a stone’s throw away from bankruptcy. But when Iverson was given the green light to try and turn the company around, the results were outstanding. Without his talent and determination, Nucor Corp would have never achieved 41 years of consecutive profitability or become creators of the lowest cost steel in America.
Understand and practice your company values
Better still, create some new ones. Values define what is important to both you and your company. From honesty and loyalty to open communication and security, any decent exec should be passionate about ensuring their environment aligns with the company values.
However, your personal values are likely to evolve with experience. I don’t have the right to tell you what those values are. That can only be up to you. I’m just pointing out that they don’t have to be set in stone, but should help your decision making as a leader.
One thing I do know for certain is that if you want others to trust and respect you, taking responsibility for your actions and a fixed desire to achieve great things is essential.