Trust, integrity, and follow-up are three words that immediately come to my mind when looking to build strong relationships. Reversely, lack of follow up, lack of integrity, or distrust can quickly end relationships. These character traits can also end friendships, marriages, or even employment.
Regardless, if you win the game, gain the promotion you wanted, or close the big deal – what is most important is that you achieved these outcomes with integrity. The value of your integrity is worth all the money in the world, and it should never be comprised unless you are willing to risk your reputation.
With any business relationship, trust is at the epicenter of any solid relationship that are built to last. When trust is earned over time, you will easily be able to measure success of any relationship. You will see an increase in customer satisfaction, customer retention & customer loyalty.
When you think of trust or the value of your integrity what words or actions come to your mind when dealing with a friend, co-worker or customer? Here are just a few examples that require integrity to build trust when interacting with a teammate or customer:
· Trust the delivery will be made.
· Trust your client is telling you the truth.
· Be vulnerable to trust your boss to have your interests at heart.
· Trust that if you follow up over time, good things will happen if you communicate effectively.
Recently, my son showed my wife and I that you can’t place value on your integrity as it is worth too much to sacrifice. It might have been one my proudest moments as a father, knowing that all the hard work that my wife and I have done with our children – to instill the core values that are important in life – paid off in front of our eyes.
My son recently found interest in competitive junior golf, developing an immediate passion for the sport and thankfully finding some early success as well. He is not the best player, but he is above average compared to his peers. In the state of Washington, there are four qualifying tournaments in the early summer months where kids can qualify for districts, which pose a higher level of competition for the kids. Due to our family schedule, my son was only able to play in one qualifying tournament in hopes that he would qualify for districts. Thankfully, he qualified for districts which was held near our home town. As a parent, I told him to have fun, compete and leave everything on the golf course without regrets. Most importantly, my wife and I reminded him always to remember that the largest muscle in your body is the one between your ears- your brain, urging him to stay focused. Most importantly though, we reminded him to have FUN!!!
Due to volunteer scheduling conflicts, I was asked to be a walking scorer for my son’s foursome. This scenario is not ideal given the strict rules around being too close to your child and potentially coaching them, which is prohibited. In my son’s junior golf program, they want the child to learn a lot of the lessons of golf on their own versus having parents teach and coach moment along the way.
When our tee time arrived, we headed to the first hole. It was my son’s turn to hit his tee shot, and he crushed one up the right side of the fairway. He proceeded to push his 2nd shot right, which left him roughly 60 yards to the green with a tree in his line of sight toward the green. He proceeded to hit his 3rd shot, which went right off the green leaving him with about a 15-yard chip for his 4th shot. After hitting that shot, he had roughly 20-feet left for his bogey (5)– so, he thought.
He walked up to his ball and carefully marked it as he prepared to attempt his 5th shot. As he prepared to putt his ball, I watched him look at his ball with an odd expression. I tried to look closer at him from a distance and realized the worst had just happened. He accidentally hit the wrong ball on his 3rd shot. Here is the proud moment as it relates back to integrity. My son, Ryder, walked up to the other walking scorer and explained to him that he hit the wrong ball and needed to know what he should do from a rules perspective. I was crushed for him – yet, so happy that his character was shining through. He was honest and not afraid to face what may lie ahead for him.
After talking to the rules official, it was deemed that Ryder would have a 2-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball twice. He was crushed after talking to the official, and some tears ensued. He pulled his emotions together, walked back to his original ball, and hit a good shot (for his 5th) to 40 feet. He then made an amazing 2 putt for a seven, which saved at least 2-3 strokes. For the golfers out there, I hope you’re thinking “WOW…that was a great 7!,” as that was my response given the awful circumstances he faced.
Fast forward, Ryder went on to play much better golf. He finished in 6th place that day, and I reminded him that what he did on the 1st hole was unfortunately unique. It wasn’t easy for him to assess himself with a penalty. I explained to my son that some adults might not have been as honest as he was and that he should be very proud of his choices he made that day. Honestly, I couldn’t care what place he finished because I was so proud of his integrity and honesty. Whether Ryder was blessed with those traits or learned them from my wife and I, it was a great scene regardless to witness first-hand.
Reflecting on my son’s experience, it’s critical to understand how important integrity is. Whether my son knows it or not, I relearned an important lesson on how valuable integrity is, even when it comes at a loss. He did more for his reputation as a golfer that day, but more importantly – showed that he is a quality human being. If intact, integrity is priceless for any business relationship. It will speak for your brand, reputation, and reward you in the long run. For those of you who follow my writing, I am passionate about winning the relationship – not the deal. If you win people over time, the deals will come organically.
I want to hear from you. Have you been put in a tough situation where your integrity was challenged to make the right or wrong decision? What did you do? Were you proud? Did you regret your decision? Please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you. Lastly, if you’ve been inspired or enjoyed this article, please share with others so that we can work hard to build a culture of honesty and integrity.