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Infographic: Integrity, Ethics, and Values

Based on an article published in America Economia magazine (Latam) on April 22, 2015

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Wagering on values and ethics is fundamental to building a personal brand.  Together with integrity, they are the cornerstone of reputation.

Why wager on ethics and values?  Doing the right thing, keeping your word, acting honestly, respecting others, all sound like voices from the past.  The subject even sounds boring to some who may consider it outdated.  But wagering on values and ethics is fundamental for building our personal brand.  Together with integrity, they are the cornerstones of our reputation and image.

Can you be unethical or have an “elastic morality” and be successful?  Maybe.  Will that success be long term?  Put simply, no.  Everything eventually comes to light, everything becomes known sooner or later.  Better to not run the risk of losing the trust of our employers, partners and contacts in general.  Our good name endures when based on integrity, ethics and values.

Can you cheat or play the “two-faced” game?  Yes, but it does not last.  Everything comes out, everything comes back to you.  Without ethics and values there is simply no personal brand.  We all have a personal brand to take care of, and a good reputation is earned with honest effort and constant sacrifice.

Some people believe that their good behavior should be reserved for their professional life and that in their personal life, for example, they can afford to conduct themselves improperly, disrespectfully or dishonestly.  But the same morality is expected in all spheres – personal, family and professional.

Personnel selection companies and recruiters within those companies carefully study their prospects’ ethical background, an area which, for reasons of trust, comes first when deciding to hire one person over another.  Since we all want to trust people and want people to trust us, being ethical is a professional asset.  This trust, this moral authority, is born, we know, out of the respect we show for others, the rectitude of our words and the integrity of our conduct.  Obviously, this is not about becoming saints or, even less about being paranoid, but it is about having integrity, being transparent and becoming increasingly aware and responsible for our behavior.  If we make a mistake, it is important to be able to promptly recognize it and make things right.

Today, the labor market does not pardon those who go back on their word or commit ethical transgressions, however covert.  The ethical errors we make will follow us for the rest of our lives, even though we ourselves may have forgotten them.

Many may ask: How can we recognize a worthy, ethical professional?  How about giving them the “No test”.  An ethical person can be very easily recognized when they know how to say no to the temptations of “elastic morality”, even at the risk of losing their position, additional profits or a business deal.

I encourage you to wager on ethics and values.  Living by practicing values, beyond the job market, makes us better persons, because our personal marketing is a reflection of what we are and how we see ourselves.

This is the best recipe for continuing to be professionally relevant in the long term and making any business sustainable over time.  They are a key to success; without them we do not deserve anyone’s trust, so they will always be current and ‘in vogue’.  If we do not have a clean and honest brand, we will not be successful.