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Intergrity in Small Matters Does Matter

Several months ago I heard a fascinating story on WHO radio in Des Moines. The host was chatting with a couple of his colleagues about an incident he witnessed at the Iowa State Fair several years ago.

“Enough time has passed that I can probably safely share this story,” he began.

“It was a typical sweltering August day in Iowa when television celebrity, Martha Stewart, visited the fair. She went from one venue to the other shaking hands and signing autographs to the delight of admiring fair-goers.”

Radio Dude went on to share that a fellow station employee entered their State Fair studio later in the afternoon and remarked how good she looked. He noted that there was not a hair out of place or a wrinkle in her clothes despite the heat and humidity.Martha smiled, thanked the person for the compliment, and proceeded with the on-air interview.

“There was a little secret, however, that only a few of us knew,” said the show’s host.

“During the entire seven-hour period, Stewart had not left our air-conditioned studio for one moment! Instead, there were three ‘stand-ins’ going around all day taking turns being Martha. If the four of them stood next to each other, they would look like identical quadruplets.”

When he related the story, several years after the fact, his friends on the radio were incredulous. For a short period of time, frankly, so was I.

However, thinking about it and taking into account that she later became a convicted felon, we should not have been shocked. If Stewart had no compunction about taking a fee for what turned out to be a ‘no show,’ how much further a step would it be to make some easy money on an insider-trading scheme?

You’ve heard the adage, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when you know that no one is watching.”

One that I like even better, “He is so honest that you could play poker with him over the phone.”

I am convinced that integrity is learned early, applied consistently and an accurate predictor of how much respect you will earn in life.

Small things DO matter:

· Working hard whether the boss is in or not

· Showing up on time and not leaving early even when there is no time-clock to punch

· Honoring commitments to customers, colleagues, family, and friends 

· Not throwing your hand towel on the floor of a restroom for someone else to pick up

· Letting the person at the check-out counter know when the waiter forgets to charge you for coffee or dessert

· Returning the extra bill that stuck to another one

·  Being truthful when filling out your income tax form

· Not parking in a handicap zone by justifying that you’ll “only be a moment”

Undoubtedly, you can think of dozens more and even better ones. My objective is solely to remind you that the little things we say and do ARE important. They all matter.

I firmly believe that one of the hardest things to recover is lost trust.

If you place integrity high on the list of personal attributes, it’s a problem that you should never have to face.

Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES: Bio under Guest Authors

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3 Comment(s)

  1. Lance | Jan 17, 2008 | Reply

    It is so important to be an honest businessman. Yes, those who lie and cheat may rise to money and fame quicker, but they will be figured out and fall flat in no time. The honest and trustworthy ones are those who prevail in the end.

    “In business and family relationships, the most important thing is trust” -Author Unknown

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. John D. | Jan 21, 2008 | Reply

    Great posting. Not only should you demand the up most integrity from yourself, but you should also demand it of your suppliers, marketing partners, etc. It is better to loose a supplier or a partner than it is to lower yourself.

  3. rirmtarve | May 14, 2008 | Reply

    Please try to limit the amount of “this room doesn’t have any bazingas”
    until you are told that those rooms are “punched out.” Once punched out,
    we have a right to complain about atrocities, missing bazingas, and such.
    — N. Meyrowitz


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