Commandments for Business Failure… Play the Game Close to the Foul Line

Do people trust you?  Think about it… really stop and think about it.

Do people trust you implicitly?  Are you trusted to be forthright and honest with everyone… all the time?  Do people trust that you will be fair… not some of the time, but all of the time?  Do people believe and trust that you will do the right thing?

Trust is HUGE.  It is virtually impossible to overstate or over emphasize the importance and ramifications of trust… or lack of trust.  In commandment five of the excellent book entitledThe Ten Commandments for Business Failure, Donald Keough, the highly successful former president of The Coca-Cola Company writes the following:

“Trust was then, and is now, the essential foundation of any business.  Despite improvements in technology and new fads in management and marketing, all business finally boils down to matters of trust – consumers trust that the product will do what it promises it is supposed to – investors trust that management is competent – employees trust management to live up to it’s obligations.”

If you live, work and play close to the foul line, close but not quite illegal, close but not quite immoral… you will not inspire implicit trust.  In fact, if you live, work and play too close to the foul line, you will fail.  It is only a matter of time.

Like the driver who speeds along a dangerous mountain road… cutting corners whenever possible… approaching blind corners with excessive speed… driving on or over the edge for advantage or for thrills… sooner or later that driver will fail.  In business and in life, that failure will prove tragic not only for the driver, but also for the people who are taking the journey with the driver.  And, that failure will likely cause major injuries or death for totally innocent people who happened to be on the same road as the reckless, irresponsible, cut-every-corner-you-can, driver.

Unfortunately, virtually every major news outlet in the world features daily stories about business leaders who stopped asking “Is it right?”  They stopped asking “Is it right” and started asking “Is it legal?”  Very quickly, the “Is it legal” question and mentality moves to “Can we get away with it?”  In these cases, important and many times critical questions, affecting thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people are decided not on the basis of whether it is honest, fair and the right thing to do.  The decisions are made based on “Can we get away with it?”  Like the reckless, irresponsible, cut-every-corner driver referred to above, failure is only a matter of time.

Don Keough makes a great summary statement regarding this Commandment for Business Failure:

“It not only behooves us to treat our fellow human being with compassion and respect, it is essential for our collective survival.  Unethical men and women can flourish for periods, sometimes very long periods, but ultimately their lack of morality – and their lack of humility – destroys them.  You cannot build a strong and lasting business on a rotten foundation.”

Do people trust you… implicitly?  Are you trusted to be forthright and honest with everyone?  Do people trust that you will be fair?  Do people believe and trust that you will do the right thing?  If reality to those questions is yes, congratulations and keep up the great work… you are on the right track.  Your personal and professional reality will pay huge and frequent dividends throughout your entire life.

If reality to those questions is no, only you can change that reality.  It won’t be easy, but it is an absolute necessity.  Aristotle put it well… “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.”  If you desire true and lasting success, you have no option but to make changes… and to make them now!  It is the right thing to do!

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”  And now it’s up to you…

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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