Principle 2 – Promises are to be kept; keep your word, tell the truth, be honest in all things (dishonesty cannot be tolerated within the company or in outside relationships, as it is ultimately destructive)
There are a couple of parts to this belief: First is keeping promises. Again, a principle that seems easy enough, but in reality it requires discipline to keep promises. If you do not intend to do something, do not promise to do it. In today’s busy work environments, a great deal of discernment is required to sort out plans. Another part of this discipline is to work as hard as you can to keep your promise. It may not be easy, but it is essential to living by this principle. Often, it is the way you keep your promises that brings glory to God.
The second part is simply being honest in all things. Honesty is an imperative part of any successful business. There is only one True North on a compass; just like there is only one measure of honesty. Some people only view honesty in business when it comes to accounting (and it definitely needs to be there), but it is an essential part of all business.
Real life: Last year, we discovered that we had not properly followed some conformity procedures that we are required to follow in a market where we sell our product, and we had to figure out a plan of action to remedy this error and be able to continue to sell into this market. The route of being completely honest and forthright with this governing body was our only choice. Yes, we had to “face the music” by some loss of business, a fine and the embarrassment of telling our distributor for that market that we had made a mistake that was going to cost both of us. But, we believe that the Lord has protected us in this exercise. It has not been an easy experience, but it has made us a stronger company by helping us develop better conformity procedures and strengthening this part of our business. Not only were we honest with the outside agency, we were also honest with ourselves–we needed help in this area, so we added a conformity engineer to our staff. Had we not been honest in this process, we believe it could have been much more destructive to our business.
Although there are major events in business that focus on honesty, the truth is that it really is a minute-by-minute challenge. Be honest in ALL things (not just the big things). One other note here: To effectively practice this principle, you also need to do your best with details. Forgetting something is not a sin, but not giving full effort when it comes to the details of a situation (when you have the capacity to do so) is not honest.
Scriptural Root to the Principle: There are a number of examples throughout the Bible where honesty is tested and God’s people either pass or fail (Annanias and Sapphira, David, and Samuel), but one of the most vivid is the story of Achan in the book of Joshua. When Achan withheld an ingot of gold, a few pieces of silver and a garment after being instructed to take nothing, it not only cost the Israelites a battle (and a number of lives), but it also cost Achan and his family their lives. Christians must believe and follow the clear instructions from Scripture about honesty–even in business
March 8th, 2011 at 5:23 pm
Dishonesty is very destructive. In my line of work, I have found that the technical systems we work within are designed to provide checks and balances at both the micro and macro level. But at the same time, each member of our team has a lot of responsibility to self-regulate his/her own processes. There was a point when a former co-worker was less than honest in the way she managed her responsibilities. She eventually left the organization, and when her “dishonesty” was discovered, the whole team was affected. It was a huge wake up call for everyone. Although we had hurdles to overcome in the process, the team dynamics improved because we recognized that honesty is essential to the success of our operations. We also re-shaped some of our technical systems in order to ensure that this kind of situation would not happen again.
This post is a great reminder to be honest in everything we do. We risk a lot when we allow our pride to keep us from being honest with ourselves and the people around us.
Our society would benefit from leaders in the home, church, and business that are open and honest, and willing to deal with “real life” mistakes in the same way. What a powerful example to set for this generation!