December 20, 2012

Commit to Succeeding Through Honest Business Practices

I am not a judgmental person, and it takes a lot for me to not like someone. There are two types of people who irk me the most – people who are snarky for snark’s sake and liars.

Let’s focus on the liars. My dislike for someone goes deeper if I see them benefitting (personally and/or professionally) from their web of lies. At my very first PR agency internship, I learned quickly that the owner was a chronic liar. I learned even more about the lies she told to gain business from my friend who worked for her years after I did. It made my blood boil.

Here’s what we all need to remember: Success is that much sweeter when it’s created and earned through genuine, hard and honest work. 

We’ve all seen people get ahead in life and business in not-so-honest or trustworthy ways. Sometimes, they can run with their deceitfulness and get by without getting caught for a long time. Other times, they’re caught immediately. Failing can be good and can teach us many lessons, but this isn’t the type of failure you should want to face.

Look at all the recent examples this year alone of prominent public figures getting caught in lies. These people experienced enormous amounts of success in their lives. Yet once the lies were revealed, it was all taken away. All that hard work, just to have reputation and success destroyed from lies. It couldn’t have been worth it.

I’ve been thinking about this more due to a recent experience at my agency, Identity. Back in June, we discovered we had a brandjacker on our hands. A “marketing professional” in metro Detroit had decided to start her own agency. At the time, she was friends with one of my coworkers on Facebook. She was talking up her new agency and how excited she was to launch the website. So, my coworker decided to scope it out. Thankfully he did, because she had completely stolen elements of our brand and service offerings. Long story short, our partner handled it, and she removed everything on her site and her company’s social media channels that she had ripped off from us.

Fast forward a few months. My coworker decided to check in to see what our friend the brandjacker was up to these days. She had launched a completely new website and direction for her company (marketing/PR services for emerging music artists). After a little Internet sleuthing, he discovered all her “clients” were not real people. She made them all up, along with the testimonials of her work she had on the site. One would think she would have learned from the experience with us. Clearly, she didn’t.

I find this so unacceptable and appalling that I’m pretty sure my blood pressure has risen just from writing this! So, here are two things I ask of you:

1. Do not lie to get ahead in life, personally or professionally. It’s not worth it, and it will come back to haunt you…even the smallest lies.

2. If you know of someone who is engaging in any type of unethical behavior or lying about who they are as a professional to make money and gain success, advise them to stop. You can’t force anyone to listen to you, but if you feel it’s appropriate to step in, do it. Think of the people who are giving them money for what they think are quality products/services. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not fair to those of us who are ethical and who are doing great things in business without deceiving our clients and customers.

This deviates a bit from my typical posts because it’s more negative in nature, but the point I hope I get across is a positive one. Let’s all commit to being ethical in business and working to achieve success through honest practices.

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