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Business Etiquette 101— A Professional Seeks to Make Things Right Immediately

We all make mistakes.  Quite often it seems.  A professional however, is quick to acknowledge their mistakes and tries to make things right, as quickly as possible.  This behavior requires courage, humility and a commitment to ethical practices.

I think we’ve all experienced working with those who have an endless supply of excuses and a fervent determination to avoid responsibility.  I hope this is not us.  It really is a matter of integrity.  Someone with integrity is honest in all things and that means that they are also honest with themselves and others regarding their performance or lack thereof.

I’m not suggesting that we go around announcing to the world each day all of our failures or weaknesses.  No, not at all.  But what I am suggesting is that we take responsibility for our own actions without blame, without deterrents and without a desire to deceive in any way.

Let’s say that I was responsible for getting a financial report to my boss for a large project coming up and it was due by today at 5:00pm.  I “dropped the ball” on a few things and the report is not ready by 5:00.  Some people, who lack professionalism might:
  • avoid their boss for the remainder of the day so they are not confronted with the missing report.
  • blame the delay on information that has not been received from others that is necessary for the report (knowing that it was their fault because they didn’t ask the other people for the information until yesterday).
  • blame the delay on untrue circumstances like illness, family emergencies, etc.
I think you get the point.

While, someone with integrity might  say to their boss, 
  • “I know you’re going to be disappointed in me, but it looks like I did not plan well and have let this deadline slip up on me without the report being completed.”
  • “I am not going to be able to have the report to you by 5 which I am extremely sorry for, but will have it to you by 5 tomorrow.  I have had to reanalyze my production schedule and have made some changes so that I can keep my commitments to you in the future.  I hope you will give me another chance.  I’m really sorry.”
I think you get the point.

Being honest and ethical does not guarantee job security.  But it does guarantee a clear conscious, honor and self respect.  May each of us acknowledge quickly our mistakes and then recommit to improvement.

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