Honesty... a Timeless Value
Business dealings fascinate me. Having a value system that is based on honesty and doing what you say, to me just isn't that hard. And I don't think it is just because I am more seasoned in my age that I believe that. Lately, a few situations have come up in business that got me thinking about these things and the values I hold with high regard.
Let me be clear: I'm far from perfect. I've made many mistakes in my life and even with my best efforts, I know will keep making them. But I do have a heart to do the right thing and be a man of integrity. I didn't grow up this way, but I developed core values through my faith and life experiences.
I came from a pretty dysfunctional family. My dad ran a successful sporting goods business. It was a wholesale distributor company. We had a large warehouse and a showroom where people would come in and buy like a retail store, but we had great prices. This was a classic "wholesale to the public" situation.
Naïve as I was in business and in life as a young man, I wondered why there was no cash register, no idea how we knew how much money was taken in, and why employees were paid mostly in cash. This didn't seem to be how other businesses operated, but I didn't know anything different.
This value system of flying under the radar from the normal rules was all fine for my dad. We lived pretty well, but when he died... my mom and I were faced with a huge tax liability when the California State Board of Equalization came in and did an audit. I remember it well. We had a high priced tax attorney and it cost us a fortune to mop up the mess he left us. It was a big life-learning experience about the consequences of doing right or wrong.