A note on integrity

One of the many blessings in being a small business owner is that you get to set your own rules: your hours, who you want to work with, how you do your work, what constitutes a “finished” product, and more. Well, a big one for me is being able to maintain personal integrity in my work. Until you’ve been challenged, you may not realize how important this is.

Let me share my favorite excerpt from the book, “How to be a graphic designer and not lose your soul,” by Adrian Shaughnessy:

By standing up for yourself, by having beliefs (creative and ethical beliefs), and perhaps most importantly of all, by questioning what you are asked to do as a designer, you can acquire self-respect, which is the first step on the path to earning the respect of clients and other designers. You might get the sack—but that’s integrity for you—there’s a price to be paid for it. Just remember, it’s always less than the price of your self-respect. I might even say, the price of your soul.

Of course, you can substitute “employee” or “business owner” for the word “designer” throughout the above passage. This really applies to anyone in the workplace.

The author makes a point that we must show integrity to each of three audiences: our clients, our intended audience, and ourselves. If we show our clients and intended audiences that we believe in them, they will in turn believe in us. And of course, we can live with ourselves at the end of the day.

The hidden value of personal integrity in the workplace? Higher quality work. When you demand this of yourself, your employees, and your contractors, the shift turns from “How can we make a buck?” or “How fast can we do this?” to “How can we make a quality design/product?” and “How can we better service our clients?”.

Author note: I’d love to hear your stories of personal integrity in the workplace. Please leave your comments for others to read!

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One Response to “A note on integrity”

  1. Tony says:

    Integrity and customer focus, seemingly obvious for small hungry companies, is easily lost in large corporations. Inventory turns, margins, bookings and overhead reduction are all main metrics tracked by large companies. Improving these metrics do not delight the customer, but can negatively effect customer satisfaction. Improving inventory turns, for example, puts product shipment at risk. A great way to reduce overhead is to replace a real person with a automated call center. How do large companies improve customer satisfacion, they put “customer focus” into their vision statement. Whala, problem solved, the vision statement says so.

    What scares larger companies? Small hungry companies that focus on the customer.

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