Maintaining Integrity during rapid growth

What is integrity? According to dictionary.com, integrity is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Why is it important in business? Integrity in business is important because it builds internal and external trust amongst all the people that have dealings with the company.

Effective leaders “walk the talk”; in other words they do what they say. It is imperative that during the early stages of a startup that codes of conduct be established that convey how business will be done and how employees, clients and suppliers will be treated. Companies that have great cultures are avid believers of collaboration. They encourage employees to share ideas and work together to solve problems.

“Two heads are better than one but 7 heads are even better”

When your company is impacted by rapid growth it is often found that you lose touch with your employees, reaching targets takes priority instead of optimizing client satisfaction, and company values may become diluted as employees may start to do anything necessary to keep their jobs. Effective leaders implement department headcount caps of 170 or less, discuss company values, mission and strategy daily, and have employee-centric cultures.

For example, an automotive air bag manufacturer, Takata, wanted to cut costs so they opted for a cheaper material which resulted in a mass recall. Evidently, they increased their losses by not maintaining integrity in their product. There are many other ways to cut cost but keep quality and this showed their lack of consideration for their customers. They were more concerned about their bottom line. It is going to take a long time for them to build trust with those customers that they lost because of their poor judgment and poor ethics.

Nevertheless, it is important that leaders ensure that their employees understand and never stray from the company’s core values by discussing this matter daily. Customer satisfaction, internal and external respect amongst employees, clients and suppliers, and collaboration are the key factors that make for an enduring company. When employees trust their coworkers and leaders they work together as a team and protect the company from harm.

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