We work a lot on developing meeting and travel policies, which provide important direction to employees on how to book travel and meetings within corporate guidelines. However, in this article I am not going to discuss these policies but rather how to develop purposeful personal policies that will guide our personal brand and integrity.
I don't think we spend enough time developing principles around own code of ethics. Doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, is one of the fundamentals I live by. As a consultant, I must be trustworthy, have a high degree of integrity, and keep confidential information 100 percent confidential, no exceptions. Otherwise my reputation would be ruined, and I would be out of business.
These principles undoubtedly apply to every field, although they seem even more applicable in our industry. I am flabbergasted by some of the “lapses in judgement” that I have heard over the years. Some may seem minor, others are significant and speak to a person’s character and integrity: going on fam trips to locations that would never be booked, not disclosing commissions or rebates to clients, accepting gifts from suppliers over the dollar value allowed by the employer’s code of ethics, making detrimental comments about competitors, and using creative ideas proposed from a supplier not hired. These are just some examples of the lack of ethics I have seen over the years.
We need to correct these behaviors, and purposely building a personal policy is one way for us to do this. It doesn't have to be tedious. Think of it as an annual activity, like the way you set goals and resolutions for the new year.
The call to action: Make time this month to re-familiarize yourself with your corporate code of ethics and/or business code of conduct. Additionally, write down five other statements that will begin to build your purposeful personal policy of integrity. Below are some ideas:
• I will always speak respectfully about my competitors.
• As much as I may like a creative idea proposed by a supplier, I won't use it unless I have purchased the idea.
• I will only attend fam trips to destinations with a viable potential for my business.
If we all make the initiative to take a little step forward, our entire industry will benefit from increased integrity.