Years ago when I worked for The Gap Corporation, I learned the term, “Do the Right Thing” that was part of their Words to Live By…part of their culture…and I loved it.
“Do the right thing” meant high integrity to me; it meant living strong ethical values and putting the customer and employee first in all things. I’ve continued living this philosophy throughout my entire career and I’ve found that it has positively transformed not only me, but also through me, the lives of the people I encounter, work with, support, or serve. It is a powerful, yet simple statement that can be easily delivered and remembered.
As leaders, we must encourage this way of thinking, but we must also create a culture in which our associates understand what it means, believe in its purpose and act in ways that support this philosophy of high integrity.
Doing the right thing may mean different things to different people based on their individual backgrounds or philosophies, so we must help lay out the parameters from which they should act.
This begins in training when they first join our team and must get reinforced daily not only by our words, but also by our actions. Our teams look to us for the example of what is right. They will mimic our identities, our mindsets, and our actions. Who we are, they will become. What we do, they will do. This is critical to keep in the forefront of our minds during each encounter we have with them…and with our customers. Are we doing the right thing?
Integrity is personal and we need to understand exactly what we stand for and how we want our own individual brand to be represented.
Do we want to be known for making a buck at any cost, using others to achieve our own goals or for fudging the truth to make our own selves look better?
Or do we want to be looked at as the leaders who do what they say they’re going to do, collaborate with others instead of working in competition against them, and focus on making the team and customer experience better by our individual efforts?
Integrity is a choice we make each minute of each day and as leaders we need to remember that if we want our teams doing the right things with each other and with our customers, the right thing needs to start with ourselves.
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