What’s in a Word? Integrity in Business

Hullo again! Hope your Christmas holidays are shaping up well for you. What is often a sad time for many, can also be a very festive time for others. It’s funny the stuff I come across each time I end up on social media for longer than the time it takes to post content related to my book, catch up on what’s the latest with my circle of friends or share a birthday greeting. (For me, most of my Facebook friends are actual people I know – that I worked or went to school with, as opposed to absolute strangers.)

I came across a post in a small business group about integrity and it got me to thinking. I fell asleep with the thought of not adding to the 200+ comments gnawing away at the back of my mind – to which I had no recollection of until this moment.

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Photo by Cristina Matos-Albers on Unsplash

So here I am to post my thoughts to my blog on Integrity in Business and what it means to me and my brand of content writing from this side of the pond.

I have to first state my disclaimer just to set the tone for how this information is interpreted, since the comments from familiar and unfamiliar folks since I started publicly blogging over 10 years ago is somewhat like:

“What is she attempting to do here and … What exactly is a blog!?”

 

I did not grow up in a family of business people – at least not the family of entrepreneurs that made a lot of money from their side passion. Neither did I study entrepreneurship or business extensively. So what I do here with writing in a limited scope was learnt purely from the dozen plus places I worked, 100+ people I wrote about or became friends with and the other courses, videos, movies, radio & TV shows, family members and client feedback I got along the way. And of course, my deep LOVE for expressing myself through writing, speaking and entertainment (music, comedy, drama).

So back to Integrity in Business. When I hear these words a few thoughts come to mind. Integrity in Business is way more than keeping promises or giving lip service to stuff that’s ‘morally and ethically right’ or making it ‘sound good or believable when it leaves your lips or finger tips. It’s about getting into a particular area of business for the RIGHT reasons which is relative to where you are in life.

For me it’s like this. I like to use real life personal examples or those of people I’ve met to bring life and meaning to what I’m talking about. Or famous people who’ve already achieved their goals (in my eyes).

The example I’m using for this one is what I usually say when people ask me to help them write a book. As an author on a small island where there aren’t many authors it’s a common question when people ask you what you do for a living. I’m sure it’s a big deal anywhere you live actually. For me being an author is a way of life and a by-the-way profession I mention depending on who’s asking and where I am at the time, since the reality is the average author do not make a lot of money from writing books ALONE.

So I had to come up with a strategy to field some of the people that really have no real interest in writing a well-written book that they can carry as their personal trademark or even marketing tool (if you may) as a conversation grabber throughout the course of their life and by extension that of their kids and other family members if they have any.

What I usually asked in the beginning is THIS:

WHY do you want to write a book?

Normally from this first question, I am able to auto-filter 99% of those people in a special folder in my brain because I know exactly how the rest of the conversation is going to go.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Most people’s response is, “I want to make a lot of money.” Some won’t say it outright, but yeah basically that’s the main reason for them wanting to write a book. The second most popular response is: “I want everybody to know my story.” Right there and then, I start to hear the theme song for that 90’s show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and I even hear the host’s voice in my head. The rest of the conversation is just going through the motions for me because all those really big international best selling authors and book publicists know that making a book a HIT is a really, really difficult SCIENCE!

Anddd they have an ENTIRE team of professionals to help them pull it off within a specific time to hit the best seller’s list. Once that is accomplished, the grind continues (Book signings, radio & TV Talk show interviews across the country and different continents on all stations associated with your brand, co-hosting gigs and guest appearances, newspaper and magazine features, Emails, Podcasts, Blogs, Social Media etc etc). And that’s how the real money is made – royalties, movie deals/screen plays (if it’s a really hot topic and well written), memorabilia (T-shirts, mugs, pens, tote bags etc etc).

It depends on how much effort you put into your book in the first place and how much you want it to do WELL and be read and taken seriously! I remember seeing a sponsored advertisement for one of those Masterclasses recently from one of my favourite authors as a teenager – Judy Bloom.

One of the things she said that stood out for me (to paraphrase) is, Writing is incredibly difficult and if someone doesn’t have to do it, they shouldn’t because it’s really an arduous task. I interpret this to mean: You are only gonna succeed and stay for the long haul and eventually make the kind of money you’d want to enjoy if and ONLY IF you absolutely love writing.

This in sum says everything about Integrity in Business as it relates to my brand of Passion & Purpose. Let’s face it, in a practical world, you have to make money from your passion to support the people and stuff in your life.

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

But unless you really love what you are doing, you’d never be able to build enough momentum to get buy-in in order to put together the RIGHT team to do your brand justice.

Neither will you be able to CONSISTENTLY attract the kinds of customers that not only want what you are selling; but can’t do without it, will return, tell their friends and their friends friends – even if they don’t need your product anymore for whatever reason.

Most importantly you would want customers who have the purchasing power to purchase without pawning their valuables or not feeding their kids for a few days (okay that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea. I hope!).

 

Based on their response (including their body language), I also know how long I want to continue the meeting or phone conversation and how much of my ‘research’ and experience I am going to expend. Most business people who value their time will ask, “What’s in it for ME.” Basically if they’ve reached a certain juncture, they really don’t need a lot of people to sell their product because they either already have a large enough customer base/market share or all the expertise, funding and tools they need to expand.

They really would possibly entertain a ‘new player’ if they stand to gain something more – a tech savvy or innovative approach that can save time or resources. Or some other benefit – warehouse space or SOMETHING that must be in it for them to give up their time when they can be making money, coaching their team, meeting with investors or spending time with family etc (Economists call this factor – Opportunity Cost).

I am in no way comparing myself to a BIG player in the business sphere in any way. Neither do I think I am thee best writer or author – even in my small pond. But I do know I’m good at what I do because I love it and I spend/t hours and decades making it into what it is (even in the days when I had no intention of doing it full-time). Also! I truly value my TIME and ENERGY; the material things I sacrificed for a period of time, the obstacles and foibles I’ve overcome and the milestones I’ve worked EXTREMELY hard to achieve.

So if I really feel that meeting with someone new can take me to a different level in terms of learning something new or more book sales (that regular advertising or networking would not be able to do as fast), I’ll spend more time than I normally would with someone that was just on a fishing expedition (to put it bluntly). Or I’d send them the PDF of a presentation via Email that I did in the US back in 2012.

When I started doing this full-time and anyone seemed serious about writing a book and I wasn’t sure what their (real) motives for writing a book were, I’d share these 3 reasons I came up with for writing a book:

  1. To inform or educate
  2. To entertain or provide a muse to create
  3. To inspire or motivate

 

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Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

What I was saying to the person wanting to write the book basically is that writing a book should serve a deeper purpose. It’s more than simply telling your story or getting stuff off your chest.

The supposed fame and fortune a lot of people expect that comes with seeing your name on a book and having your story told and read by strangers and loved ones alike is as a result of how much HEART you put into the PASSION PROJECT.

This will also determine how far you’ll carry your book in the event you encounter (temporary) setbacks along the various stages of writing, editing, publishing, printing, marketing and promotion and the publicity and stage jitters that goes with the territory.

 

A book with no heart, but a great team and money behind it can be a BIG hit for a week (or a year) and make you a decent amount of money. But a book with a deeper purpose to touch lives etc and a BIG HEART behind it can make you a tonne of money in different ways and the recognition it deserves further afield once you keep pushing on with the same PASSION throughout the lifetime of the book (or yours – whichever lasts longer!).

The same goes for business, having a family, making a big purchase or anything else for that matter. Your passion and love will help you to be and do all the things you thought you weren’t that great at before – communication, respect, loyalty and peace. In the case of business – sales, marketing, learning, teaching, coaching, technology.

So for me, having integrity in business is not forcing things to fit and doing things just for the sake of doing it, to keep up with the Joneses (or for superficial reasons). If you can’t stand the sight of a particular type of car, or even the sound it makes when you start it on a morning – the odds are that car will be the sore spot of your entire day.

However someone who likes the door handles or the engine for it’s deeper sentimental value will take that car and make it feel and ride like magic – bit by bit until the car is the envy of everyone who sets eyes on it.

Hope this helps you in some way. Feel free to share! Thanks for reading to the end.

Until next time,

Carolyn x

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Photo by Deva Williamson on Unsplash

 

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