Tag Archives: Integrity

Tis The Season

Tis the season to be jolly, or so the saying goes.  There are more important stories than this one for sure but,  I feel compelled to share this short story about the salesman from hell, while also discussing the importance of integrity in all individuals. This isn’t really news, but its purpose is legendary; it focuses on our expectations of a car salesman along with other people as well.

The long and short of the story is this:  This is my third Mercedes-Benz, all bought in MO,  two of which were bought at one dealership in Ellisville, MO.  All things considered Mercedes-Benz financial is very good, my service rep is also a commendable individual, but the sales man I just dealt with in November is someone I would consider as a person who literally has no scruples. The General Manager is also a person not to high on the list of people with moral or ethical charecter for a number of reasons as well, but I won’t into all that here.

The long and short of it is this: I called to trade in my 450 GL for a Black 2010 ML.  I ended up leaving with a 2009 ML, which by the way I can’t stand, because 1. it is a piece of S —. I already bought it once so far – one of the things on this CPO vehicle was the back seatbelt doesn’t work Guess what? It still doesn’t work. ; 2. I took the car based on an outright lie by my salesman, which it didn’t even occur to me until I drove it off the lot. ( which by the way occurred around 4:30 pm and I called him the next morning beginning at 7:30am).

In a nutshell my salesman quoted me a payment on the 2009, thereby convincing me to buy the 2009 over the 2010.  What he quoted was not even remotely close to what I am paying, nor what we discussed. Clearly, his own gain was all that mattered in this deal.  Furthermore, my contacting the General Mgr., also proved to be a waste of time.  But what is really disheartening, is that I WAS as a regular customer of Mercedes-Benz, and one would think they would show some appreciation, rather than being obama_liescondescending, rude, and outright liars.  My request to the GM, which occurred less than 12 hrs after my driving off their lot, was treated with very little regard and I was simply dismissed .  That request consisted of the following: give me my GL, the 2010 I called about, or make this car payment the amount  I was quoted. Since I have a 2.9 interest rate that speaks volumes about my credit history with MBF.

Most of us work hard and make a lot of sacrifices throughout our lives to obtain the things we want in live. A car, any car, is a large purchase a lot of money. I think most of us somehow believe we have this fiduciary relationship with the salesman. When ask them to honor our requests we just assume they have integrity to do so. Sadly, my salesman found clearly lacks integrity based on both his words to me and his actions. But all this really made me think about integrity and how it is really falling short in our society. So many people worship the value of the almighty dollar over that of relationships, regardless of the type of relationship. Seemingly, the anger that occurs, as the result of a faulty deal, the lies, or just the blatant disrespect seems to be happening all to often and with little regard for the victim.

As a result of my experience I decided to do a random survey at a nearby Mall over Christmas to see how many people have had negative experience with a car salesman. Sadly, after talking to 50-100 people over half  reported they did have a bad experience at one time or another, but after one time they never returned. What was interesting is that many of the people believed there was a direct correlation between car saleman and bad attitudes. Perhaps the level of pressure to sell, in a failing economy, is a contributing factor. I don’t know. What I do is that I have been buying cars, new cars, for along time and never once have I been treated with such little regard.

For me, integrity is everything, without it you have nothing. If you lie about little things, you probably lie about bigger things as well.  Honesty, integrity is something I have drilled into my son’s, and  I hope they drill it into their children, and so on.  Ask yourself this one question;  Is it so surprising that a society whose morals and values have digressed as  they have would end up with a failing economy, socialist president, and the continued dismantling of our constitution? Is that so surprising? After all, they are the people we vote into office, they are the people we trust, and it all begins with a simple thing you don’t think twice about like buying a car.

Crisis of Confidence

On January 18, 2010 I posted an opinion piece about a new political party in Washington. It was the Say Anything Party, (SAP). Back then I included the more prominent liars in Washington DC as it members, Barack Obama being its president and CEO.

Today I am seeing that the SAPs are increasing their ranks to include those with no integrity.

The new SAPs that come to mind are Republican defectors; Karl Rove, Ricky Perry, Jon Huntsman, most of the FOX opinion hosts pretending that they believe they are journalists, and the list goes on. It includes Democrat demagogues as well the “clever” Republicans. Sadly, the SAP is growing exponentially.

The one that really floored me is Ed Rollins. There was a time when I could consider him a standup guy. Not anymore! He recently bailed out on the Bachmann campaign due to health reason; he was just getting too old for that much intensity. Yet, in the last few days he has exerted more energy than he has in years…basically trash talking whom he once claimed to support.

Americans see this day after day, week after week, and month after month. They are tired of the cheap abandonment of integrity by their elected leaders. It seems as though nobody can be relied upon to have integrity anymore.

Integrity is not simply telling the truth, or being honest. Integrity is the integration of what you think, believe, say, and do. Americans (yea, even the world) know that elected pontiffs will scatter their professed principles in the winds of popularity. We don’t like!
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His Reputation Precedes Him

If you attended this “come to Jesus meetin’ “, this is the situation that  precipitated the calling of that emergency meeting.

This week a situation occurred that required the involvement of a repairman. I will not bore you with all the gory details, but will give you an example of what your business practices reflects about you, as we discussed in our meeting.

We rent our home. The management company we rent has a name that is synonymous with honor. Their name implies that you can trust the company. The repair company that was sent out has a name that is a last name, Inc. There is nothing in the name that makes you think you can trust- or distrust- this company.

The repair that was required is outlined in the lease as the responsibility of the owner/management company. However, when I called in the repair request, after asking me a couple of questions, the receptionist told me it sounded like I would be responsible for paying for the repairs. Now, in the over-used words of our president- let me be clear: we are the kind of renters that every home owner dreams of. We do not call in fore repairs on anything unless it is an absolute necessity. We are in our third lease in this home, and this is only the 3rd time we have had to have a repair. The previous two repairs were not emergency repairs, but things we could not take care of. The last repair was an emergency: the air conditioner was not cooling properly. Being that it is one of the hottest summers on record, we are in a drought, and we have five children- this was an emergency.

We change our filters regularly. I keep a very clean house. Yes, even with five kids, I am a neat freak. I cannot function if everything is not in the right place. Clutter makes me crazy. I am a very detailed oriented person, so we have a schedule to make sure filters are changed and vacuumed, and other household chores are taken care of when needed.

We are also people who believe in personal responsibility. If we break something, we feel we are responsible for it.

However, if we are taking care of our responsibilities, and something happens, we believe that it is not our responsibility to take care of it.  The law agrees with us, as our lease specifically addresses this situation.

When the repairman called to get approval to do what he had to do, he was given the third degree as to the condition of the equipment. Now, before I go any further, yes, I understand that there are a lot of people that do not take care of things, nor do they take personal responsibility. Asking the questions to make sure nothing malicious or neglectful caused the problem is understandable. However, grilling the repairman is a completely different thing.

Once it was established that we had not caused the problem, and the cost for repairs was given, the repairman was then grilled about the breakdown of the charges. Now, again, yes, I understand that repairmen are usually not trusted, and many are known to be dishonest. However, when listing out the cost of the actual equipment, tools and other items needed to make the repair, factoring in the cost of travel costs and labor, anyone in the business world knows you have to make a profit to run a business.

The attitude of the owner of the management company was disdain that he would have to take care of the problem. This is the business he is in. He has renters who view the home he rents as their home, not just a rent home. We have never once been late with rent or any other issues.

His actions have reflected a lot less than a business owner with integrity. Not only has his attitude reflected poorly to his renters, but to the repair company as well. This business man- who identifies himself as a Christ follower- has reflected an attitude and actions of dishonor, deceit and untrustworthiness.

His reputation precedes him.

A Come To Jesus Meeting For Christian Business Owners

If you don’t know what a “come to Jesus meeting” is, the “official definition” from the urbandictionary is:

Getting called on the carpet, dressed down, or otherwise chewed out in a severe manner. Usually used in conjunction with “meetin'” (meeting)

A meeting where someone close to you (e.g. friend, family, etc.) are confronted over behavior that’s causing consternation that’s negatively effecting your relationship.

It’s high time for a “come to Jesus meetin” with Christian business owners. You are being called on the carpet, dressed down, and chewed out in a severe manner because your behavior is causing consternation that is negatively effecting your relationship with the world.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? That’s how any “come to Jesus meetin'” starts- at the beginning.

If you claim to be a Christian, that means you identify yourself with the teachings of Jesus Christ- correct?

Where do we get the teachings of Jesus Christ? From The Bible, correct? Yes. So, we will reference Bible Scripture to show the importance of how your behavior reflects Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.

It is very unfortunate that we have to have this meeting, but as is the case with any uncomfortable situation, there comes a point in time where it just cannot be swept under the rug any longer.

When you think about what your character, how do you think people would describe you? This question is for everyone- Christians, and non-Christians alike.

Since this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” is for those who say they are Christ followers, we will focus on those folks for now. We will address non-Christians in another meeting.

For any person, your character is what defines you. If you identify yourself as a Christian, your life should reflect the ways- the character- of Christ.

In defining what the character of Christ is, and therefore, what the character of Christians should be, one word says it all: Integrity.

Integrity is not simply being honest and trustworthy; it is much more than that. The synonyms that are listed for “integrity” are:

candor, forthrightness, goodness, honesty, incorruptibility, principled, purity, righteousness, sincerity, straightforward, virtue

There is honor in living a life of integrity.

In studying the Bible, we see that God’s Word tells us a lot about having- and reflecting- integrity.

    1. Integrity means treating people fairly and honestly. (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deut 25:15, Proverbs 16:11-13)
    2. Integrity is giving your word and keeping it. (Exodus 8:28-32)
    3. Integrity will protect you. In Psalm 25, David prays that integrity and uprightness will protect him. How can it? (Psalm 25:21, Proverbs 2:7-8, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6)
    4. Integrity is more valuable than riches. (Proverbs 28:6)
    5. The Lord will test and judge your integrity. (1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 7:8)
    6. The Lord hates lies and lack of integrity. (Zechariah 8:16-17)
    7. It may be difficult to maintain your integrity. (Job 2:3, 2:9, Proverbs 29:10)
    8. Your character can be corrupted by bad company. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
    9. Integrity will be rewarded. (1 Kings 9:4-5, Nehemiah 7:2, Psalm 41:11-12)
    10. Your integrity should set an example. (Titus 2:7)

Now that we have the basics outlined, let’s move on to the next step. Christian business owners.

If you own a business, and you identify yourself as a Christ follower, your business life, business decisions, business practices, the way you treat your employees, the way you treat your customers- all aspects of not only your personal life, but your business life as well, should reflect integrity.

While integrity is something that should be expected from anyone who owns a business, it’s common knowledge that the business world is a very corrupt and cut-throat  environment. For a Christian in the business world, we should be able to expect that their beliefs would dictate their business practices would reflect integrity. The very fact that we have to have this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” means that is not the case. There is definitely a problem that has to be addressed. We can no longer take for granted what should be common practice. It’s time to lay everything out on the table.

These things should be obvious to anyone- Christians and non-Christians alike- but just like those warning labels that say

“Remove occupants from the stroller before folding it.”

There’s a reason why those warnings are there!

You can find a personal example here of how some things should be obvious in business, but that’s not always the case.  This personal example is, in fact, what has precipitated this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” you are attending.

One of the most important choices you must make when you go into business is the name of the business. As a business owner who identifies yourself as a Christ follower, this decision  is even more important if you choose to link your business identity with your personal identity as a Christian.

If you choose a name such as “Heavenly Homes”, “Guardian Angels Security, or  “Integrity Building and Supply”, you need to keep in mind that your business practices will now be judged by more than just your business practices. You have now set the expectation that you are a good, honest, incorrupt, principled, pure, righteous, sincere, straightforward and virtuous business.

It becomes even more important with a name that brings to mind good, honest and forthright actions that you run your business in a way that reflects goodness, honesty and forthrightness. If you do not, you will in fact reflect the opposite: wickedness, dishonesty and deception.

Everything in life is a choice. Every single choice we make has a consequence– good, bad or indifferent. It’s a chain reaction.

Are you and your business practices reflecting the identity you claim?

__________

Sources:

Thesaurus.com
UrbanDictionary.com #1
UrbanDictionary.com #2 
Bible Study on Integrity