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Success Comes from Doing What's Right, Not What's Easy

Code of conduct
(Image credit: Getty Images/BRO Vector)

Many AV integration firms fail to recognize that achieving success is often the direct result of company ethics, of doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. The culture of every successful company includes a significant ethical component. Any organization that voluntarily follows business ethics has a better chance of survival and success in today’s competitive business world.

Compared to companies whose only goal is to earn profits, companies that stress their ethical convictions can prosper beyond expectations. At the end of the day, I believe that a business has to be about more than just making money; a business has to have a conscience.

Doing the right thing is fundamental to creating and sustaining an effective organizational value system. And I believe it begins at the top, where leaders must lead. If a company’s leader is not consistently doing the right thing, employees will see it, as will community members and customers.

Years ago I was faced with a dilemma regarding my company’s accounts payable manager, who had been diagnosed with cancer; the prognosis was not great. She would have to get chemotherapy and radiation treatments and would be out of the office for a while.

[ Jay B. Myers to Speak at TEDxWestMonroe on Oct. 9, 2021 ]

When I reached out to our human resources firm for a recommendation about how to handle the situation, they told me that we should pay her for vacation and personal time and then cut her off. I was told, “If you do anything more than that, it will leave the door open for your other employees to take advantage of you and the company.”

Jay B. Myers

Jay B. Myers (Image credit: Jay B. Myers)

While I knew that this is a standard business response, it just didn’t seem right. After careful consideration, I decided to pay her for as long as it took to get on her feet again and back in the office. It ended up being nine months. It was an expensive decision, but I believe it was the right thing to do.

Another example of doing the right thing and not the easy thing comes from the time when we had to deal with an employee embezzlement issue. The company’s accounting manager had stolen over $260,000 from us. We could have done what most small businesses do in these cases and keep it quiet to avoid the bad publicity, legal expense, etc. But as the company leader, I chose to take the more difficult route. I went public with our story to help other small business owners avoid a potentially company-ending situation. The company decided to prosecute, and we even published the names of the embezzlers in the newspaper as a warning for other small business owners not to hire them.

By choosing to do the right thing, not the easy thing, we enhanced the company’s reputation in the community for honesty, integrity, and ethics.

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The idea of doing the right thing and not the easy thing also applies to our customers. I remember an installation on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina when I was asked by our customer to have my team complete a four-month project in less than two months. Worse yet, since no electricity was available, my team would have to work off of generators to complete the install. And if that weren’t enough, the closest restaurants and hotels were more than two hours away! Yet despite the obstacles, my team completed the installation in record time and enhanced the company’s reputation for exceptional customer service that would pay dividends for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • A business has to be about more than just making money; a business has to have a conscience.
  • Business ethics forms a crucial part of every successful company’s culture, no matter what industry you’re in.
  • Success and profits are important, but at the end of the day, a company’s reputation is its most valuable asset. list

Click here to read more stories from the October 2021 issue of SCN.

Click here for more SCN stories by Jay B. Myers.

Jay B. Myers
Jay Myers is the founder and CEO of Interactive Solutions, which was sold to AVI-SPL in the fall of 2018. He is the author of Keep Swinging: An Entrepreneur’s Story of Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Small Business Success and Hitting the Curveballs: How Crisis Can Strengthen and Grow Your Business.