Character counts in business and in life!

July 24, 2010 at 1:39 am Leave a comment

Written by Esther Denn, CCAM, ARM

There are seven things that will destroy us:  Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; religion without sacrifice; politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.

–          Mahatma Gandhi

I have been asked by several people who work in property management to write about the effect that lying has on people and in business.   Many property managers, leasing consultants, commercial brokers, realtors are dealing with less than honest clients who leave them feeling cynical about people in general.  Lying consists of false assurances and compliments, giving others false impressions, omission of key or pertinent information, exaggeration of facts, misleading by bringing up other information and telling “white” lies to avoid offending others.  Our economy and the near collapse of the financial system in our United States are testament to the decline of values and character traits in business and in life.

I was listening to a political commentator recently on television who said that the economic crisis was caused by a spiritual bankruptcy that exists in people who try to fill the emptiness in their lives through greed and lust for money and things.   When values are sacrificed for an easier, softer way, we all suffer as human beings.    No one benefits.  At the end of the day, money and things are never enough to fill an empty void.

So how do you become honest?  The 4th Step of the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages people to be rigorously honestexcept when to do so would harm or injure others.”  What does that mean?  It does not mean that we have the opportunity to be honest in a mean spirited way with others or that we relieve our guilty conscience at the expense of others.    And, we do not come up with a myriad of excuses as to why we behaved the way we did.  A simple, heartfelt  “sorry” will do along with a change in the behavior that caused the problem.   If you find yourself continually saying you are “sorry”, there is a problem you haven’t addressed.

A personal story

I have been married twice.  My first husband cheated in the marriage.  I knew deep down in my heart that something was going on but I was too young and naïve at the time to confront the issue.  I left my husband for other reasons.  He told me when I left him that he had betrayed me and felt that he had to tell me because he felt guilty.  I was crushed by his revelation.   I felt that the truth was used as a weapon to hurt me.

I recently was invited to attend a workshop led by a celebrity who was trying to convince the audience that clients are treated like family.  My guest and I were chastised by the celebrity at the event and consequently felt unwelcome.  Later, when I sent my comments about how we felt, I received a “backhanded” apology from the celebrity.  A “backhanded apology” is like a slap in the face to the receiver.    It goes along like this…”I am sorry that I acted that way but…excuse…” What I noted about the celebrity is that there was a disconnect between what they thought about themselves and how others actually perceived them.  In other words, there was no self awareness on their part about their behavior and how it could have been perceived by others.

How can a disconnect or lack of self awareness affect you in business and life?  The celebrity was trying to drum up new business.  My guest works in Los Angeles, Orange County and Ventura County.  How do you think that snub and poor behavior on the celebrity’s part will affect their future potential business from someone who has access to potential business in three counties?

Our behavior can have a far reaching affect and impact us in either a positive or negative way for years to come.

Food for thought

Dare to be true:  nothing can need a lie:  A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby.  ~George Herbert

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Entry filed under: Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

First impressions are often lasting ones Have you ever asked yourself the question “What do people see when they see me?

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