As a child I, like many others my age, spent my Saturday Mornings watching cartoons on my family TV. It had one knob, and there weren’t but a handful of channels to choose from. Fast-forward a decade or two, and today there are over a half dozen 24-hour cartoon networks. Not just cartoon shows, but networks devoted entirely to entertaining children.
Some of my favorite cartoons are the classics from Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies productions. One of my favorite episodes in particular was “The High And The Flighty with Daffy Duck & Foghorn Leghorn.” In the episode, Daffy Duck portrayed a traveling salesman from the Ace Novelty Company in Walla Walla, Washington. He tries to lure two so-called enemies against each other by helping them play practical jokes on one another. All the while Daffy is pocketing his spoils from the ruse. Of course, Daffy’s little scheme backfires, and he quickly becomes the object of their game.
What does this have to do with business? Quite a bit, actually.
Daffy’s desire to make a name for himself as a salesman, and a fast buck, led him to take unnecessary risks. He became immoral in his business dealings, and played both sides of the coin. For those of us who are entrepreneurs or business owners, it literally pays to be honest in all that we do. Integrity is the key to a successful long-term business or career. Some may think that by taking increasingly large risks, being dishonest or cutthroat they can rise to the top quickly. In the long run, stepping on toes does little more than burn bridges and ultimately leads to your down fall.
The values we hold as individuals and as business owners ought to be more than something we write on our “About Pages.” Our values should hold real meaning for ourselves, the people we hire, and the behavior we display. How we handle even seemingly insignificant things like breaking deadlines or the way we treat clients who are upset, defines who we are and our values. By holding fast to our integrity and placing importance on it through the things we say and do, we are in a better position to help our clients and run a business.
After all, shouldn’t we be more intelligent and have greater values than a make-believe cartoon character? When we try to “out-smart” our clients, business partners, or anyone else for that matter we aren’t doing ourselves any favors. People will eventually catch on to our immorality, and will act accordingly.
So ask yourself, how can I maintain my values and honesty in a world where some businesses make a habit of dishonest dealings?