Integrity and honesty in business

16 replies
Like everyone I've been reading many books on business and success.
Recently I started "The Millionaire Mind" by Thomas Stanley.
I noticed right away his strong emphasis on integrity and honesty as a key trait in decamillionaires. He even goes as far to stress religious values. This reminds me of themes in other popular books (Win Friends, Think and Grow Rich, etc).

One thing that I have observed in life is that the most successful individuals and organizations are basically masters of deception, manipulation, and basically master exploiters. It's clear the people in the highest echelons of wealth and society fit this category rather than the honest/integrity type claimed by Stanley.

The thing is, no one is going to admit that they succeeded through nefarious means. They will and do say anything to cover up their sordid history, and as history shows, people are to dumb/don't care enough to notice anything other than the most superficial appearances.

I tend to think Nietzsche, Machiavelli and Robert Greene have a more realistic grasp of human nature then most of these self help gurus. I wonder if this is the common observation of other WFs.
#business #honesty #integrity
  • Profile picture of the author nmwf
    I saw a question on Twitter a few months back that asked what prevents people from becoming millionaires. ::eye roll::

    I was so tempted to respond with "Ethics!" but, you know.
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    • Other millionaires would be the most strict answer.
      You get more money the more you invest, if this wasn't the case, investing would be the most counterlogical thing a buisnessmen would do.

      I truly believe there isn't a set in stone guide to success. Even if people want to build their self esteem by means of general rules, I think you need to be lucky to get successful, in one way or another.
      I agree that merit is more pronounced in some, but overall, luck plays a bigger role than choice.
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      • Profile picture of the author jmferret
        Originally Posted by RealSocialSignals View Post

        Other millionaires would be the most strict answer.
        You get more money the more you invest, if this wasn't the case, investing would be the most counterlogical thing a buisnessmen would do.

        I truly believe there isn't a set in stone guide to success. Even if people want to build their self esteem by means of general rules, I think you need to be lucky to get successful, in one way or another.
        I agree that merit is more pronounced in some, but overall, luck plays a bigger role than choice.
        I would say the closest to the "holy grail" recipe for success is finding what works and scaling that up. The problem is not that it's too hard to find, the problem is it's not as fun to do as people imagine life of a businessman based on movies etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trey Morgan
    I agree Nietzsche Machiavelli, and Robert Greene have truly addressed the reality of the easier way or even faster way to become powerful and wealthy in this world (throwing ethics out the window and doing whatever it takes to achieve success). However, there is always a good way and a bad way to go about doing something.


    I think the greatest example of someone who shows that there are two ways to become wealthy is the Wolf of WallStreet (Jordan Belfort). He made millions selling crappy stocks to people, and ended up going to jail for it, but now he/s making millions by helping companies and entrepreneurs increase their sales with his selling strategies and advice.


    Like I said, there will always be a ethical way to achieve success and an unethical way to achieve success. It's up to you to choose how you're going to pursue success in your own life.


    You could pass your test by studying hard, or you can cheat off of someone's paper.


    You can make money by selling products that truly solve problems and provide great value, or you can deceive people into thinking they need a product that actually doesn't help them in any way.


    You can help a homeless man by giving away $10, or you can call him names and tell him he should get a job.


    Now, as you can see these examples show an ethical choice and an unethical choice, but the unethical choice is not illegal, and in some cases you can actually argue whether one choice is ethical or not. So, it's possible to achieve massive financial wealth by unethical tactics without breaking the law, but it usually comes back to haunt you later on in your career and small practices of unethical behavior can also lead to big practices of unethical behavior.


    It's best to practice ethics in your pursuit of financial success and then you'll be able to enjoy long-lasting success, no matter how long it takes to get there.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobandnanci
    I know a whole lot of people in all kinds of industries that have achieved their financial success through unethical means. I have given up the idea of karma because I have rarely seen any of them lose the money that they have gained.

    To me though, they have not achieved "success". Success is giving your very best every single day. It is helping people. It is maintaining your morality and your ethics at the very highest standards. It is being able to look yourself in the mirror every day and go to sleep at night knowing that you gave your best to yourself and to your customers.

    Financial success means money, it doesn't mean "success".
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    are you after money for how it can make your life btter ..or are you after power over other and how others treat you if you have money ..

    ther are 10.1 million people with investable assets of more than 1 million dollars not including the house they live in.. just in the US .and there is close to 35 million millionairs ..world wide ..

    do you believe all of them are cheating lieing people ..

    here is the thing yes many people are rotten people and get rich..there are many rotten people who are dirt poor ..

    are you seriously restraining yourself from becoming wealthy..because you believe A you will problably end up misserable because money can't buy happiness..or B you have to lie and cheat your way there ..to succeed .
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  • Profile picture of the author velvet
    Hi Mindcoin,

    I believe everything you do in life is basically your own choice.

    For example, I personally feel that my only real purpose in life is to become a better person. i am still trying hard. :>)

    That's it, my only real goal.

    I do harbour similar feelings as you have expressed, but don't consider it worthy of any time thinking about it.

    But I don't think being wealthy only relates to being rich or successful. Most of us want that, but it is not the point for me. They are two seperate things.

    I would rather have failed as a business, if I knew my heart was in the right place, and that I did my best to help those I could.

    Keep your values high and you can be wealthy in your life.

    cheers, Mal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    you can only judge people ethics ..by how closely they adhear to the ethics they proclaim to have ..

    we all have different pasts ..different sets of up bringings ..even children raised by the same parents regularly end up with differnt sets of ethics ..

    your self worth..justified from the way you live your life will be very critical ..you can get rich anyway you chose..but if you have to get drunk or ..do different drugs to get through the day..your like the homeless guy who is fine getting through the day with a park bench a little food and some booze.

    now ..you can be a huge hippo or hyppocrit ..like people like al gore ..and while you get rich ..fly around in private jets ..travel with security teams in suv's ..and live in a massive house with a carbon footprint the size of hundreds of normal american..

    you can tell normal people they need to cut their energy use ..and make 100k a speach talking about it ..

    the more people try to force others to live by a moral or ethical code..the more likly it is they never come close to living that code themselves ..

    have your ethics your morality..surround yourself with people with similar codes ..or people who don't violate your code..but don't impose on others ..
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  • Profile picture of the author JulienDoria
    Definitely not in my opinion. It is so important to build your foundation on your values, virtues, and principles. This way, you won't get caught up in unethical situations.

    Integrity and honesty is part of that foundation for building strong long lasting relationships with anyone and one of the key traits to maintaining success for the long term. Understanding our virtues allows us to identify how and who we work with. We decide every action we take. Yes there are schmucks out there, but it's up to us to identify who they are and stay away or play with our guard up. When someone aligns with your virtues, you know it.

    We also decide the type of world we want to be apart of. There are some industries that are so rampant in unethical play that you need to play the game to survive. Either way, it's up to us to be apart of it or not.

    Just like everything else, there is good and evil in this world. Find the people you want succeed with.
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  • Profile picture of the author NestZone
    Its all a complex web.
    1)The first category, the white-collar big government cheats. they defraud the government with huge sums, amounts ordinary people can't comprehend, and they go away with it.
    2)Then, the middle thieves who are always being caught, those who collect brides
    3)Small cheaters who defraud ordinary people and don't get any better.

    So the way you get your wealth determines how long it can be sustained in the real world. It burns faster from the small cheaters before the big wigs.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cosmit
    the reality is that you have to either be really good at something, be really lucky (opportunity), become a scam artist, or combination of those.

    warren buffet himself said he was extremely lucky that he was born when he was. if you give him $10,000 now, he wouldnt turn that into a million in 10 years if his life depended on it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Vasiliev
      It's 2015, the age of the internet, you can't get anywhere without integrity. Everybody knows everything. It's never been more complicate to hide something that you did or didn't do than today.

      That is why in order to achieve long-term sustainable prosperity your reputation must be exellent.

      Take for instance Financial industry - the one with probably the biggest amount of fraud and scammer in the history (aside from politics of course). Even they realized it's not the way anymore. That everything is build around your reputation.

      Check out this interview with one of Wall Street Veterans, he talks about the importance of integrity and reputation in the end.

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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    I am not a self made millionaire but I would choose honesty, integrity and the freedom and feeling you get from upholding your values than sell out everything you are to make it huge. I know a guy I do work for from time to time who has admitted he has done terrible things to accomplish his financial success, he owns his own jet etc.. I asked him how he sleeps at night, He just chuckled very comfortably.

    So its funny how some of us are willing to uphold our values over financial gain and others well we see them on TV, Web, Magazines etc everyday.
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  • Profile picture of the author jmferret
    I am a very big advocate of honesty. But some people understand honesty as being almost blatant.

    For me honesty is giving a person really good deal for the fair price, ensure that customer will be satisfied not just now, but in the future as well, that he/she will spread the good word about me and my company.

    At the same time I certainly do use elements of show-business in sales. Cause people buy to be happier, not just to buy and use something without slightest emotions. And you can make them happier, by being something better than just a boring salesperson. That's not a lie, that's a show, a theater which makes everyone happier and nobody loses anything.

    My 2 cents on honesty with retail clients.

    With business partners I prefer honest discussion of our mutual interests and agreement that considers them.

    With competitors I prefer honest agreement on what steps I may do against them and why (I openly say "you're a nice guy to have a couple of beers with, but I will certainly steal your clients if I can. "

    Honesty, yes, but that may include honestly claiming the moral right for espionage and intelligence too, if needed.

    That's real life.
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  • Profile picture of the author TimBitton
    It's not Ethics that prevents people from becoming millionairs, it's the fact that they don't put themselves first.

    And when you don't put yourself first, you'll never have time for yourself to do what you need to do.

    So you have to say no to a lot of things to have time to say YES to yourself.
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    Tim :>

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  • Profile picture of the author martinmarketing
    I think the success of using ethics as surely more satisfying, but it is also true that the market is merciless ... and with good deeds hardly makes success.. this choice is difficult... and frankly is very personal
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