Integrity in the Deal

The salesman stumbles into the back room of the retail store, his suit in tatters. His co-worker exclaims “Are you all right?- What happened to you?” . The salesman replies; “Well I finally sold that purple suit we have been trying to unload for years”


The Co-worker replies “The customer hated it and attacked you?”. “No”, the salesman replies “he loved the suit, perfect fit, loved the material but his seeing-eye dog wasn’t so fond of it”.

Integrity in the deal. In means more than honesty, “How about this suit, it’s purple?” That’s being honest. “This suit is purple, walking down the street people will notice you and some will think because of the color it is funny-looking. It could embarrass you.”  That’s showing integrity. It means more than you have communicated the facts honestly, it means you have thought about the potential implications and have, unsolicited, volunteered that information so your customer/client can make a fully informed decision. 

"In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you."  Warren Buffet CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

I was recently asked by a Senior Executive of a Canadian Finance Institution, how when I am employed by Microsoft could I provide unbiased architectural advice to her? It is an extremely fair question. I answered that the reason they were looking at our organization was that a large portion of the solution was based around Microsoft technology and that was the largest value of engaging us. However, I also said that if another technology was determined to be a better fit, I would openly tell her that I would step back from the process and declare a potential conflict of interest. In addition, I indicated to her that there were 2 levels of integrity protecting her, one the company I work for that genuinely wants their customers to be fully satisfied with their solution even if it is heterogeneous technology and the other level is my personal integrity. Where the issue of integrity is always bigger than one engagement. It’s the next one and the one after that, where the CxO picks up the phone and asks her if they can trust me. That is much more important.

If you really want a purple suit and that is your best-informed choice, I will be happy to fit you for one but I will tell you that you will look funny in it.



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1 Response to Integrity in the Deal

  1. Pingback: Infinite Shades of Grey – A year later and a little greyer | Infinite Shades of Grey

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