In this very competitive business world, one has to compete aggressively to win (against competition, climbing the corporate ladder against peers and colleagues, against company divisions etc). One has to have a good strategy. One has to know one’s competition. One has to have differentiation. Nothing new, we have all heard or read this from management and marketing books. It’s actually pretty basic and fundamental.

What we seldom read about or being taught would be “the need to compromise on one’s integrity or do whatever it takes to win”. We were never taught that we had to be sneaky and be hypocrites to influence and convince someone or a situation. Perhaps these traits can only be picked up by a person who has personally been harmed previously by someone unscrupulous.

The world today has few good men. Sadly, we meet lots of people who are not entirely sincere, with hidden agendas and will do harm to us in order to achieve their own selfish goals. Perhaps, this was what made them successful before. Perhaps in their minds, they cannot win if they compete fairly without deception and they would in-fact be naïve to believe that competition will not do deceitful acts to beat them. They would think that competition has no business ethics nor will they compete professionally. If competition beats them, competition must surely have undertaken some corrupt practices or taken some unethical steps to win. They are unable to acknowledge that competition has won fairly; as (in their minds) winning in such a manner never existed.

So, what do we do?

– Do we need to be twice as sneaky to win?

– Do we have to be hypocrites …… and be deceitful by telling a twisted sales pitch?

– Do we pretend and wear a mask? A devil in disguised as an angel?

– Or should we be naïve and hold on to our “idealism of integrity”; fight our battles upfront openly, professionally, hoping that we would still come up tops?

Sure, our goal ultimately is to beat competition!! And with the common saying of “it takes a thief to catch another thief”, should we then be naïve to believe that dignity and integrity will have an edge over people who resort to stabbing from the back?

We ask ourselves ……… am I naïve ….. isn’t winning the most important thing, regardless of how we stab competition? A stab is a stab. Is there such a thing as a “respectable” stab?

Well, after all the writings above, I’d surely prefer to be naïve than ever to be called a “coward back stabbing person” with no integrity. I’d rather fight my battle like a gentleman and win in a dignified manner. I will not deceive anyone by preaching something that is wrong to throw people (customers, peers, colleagues) off-course. I will not advise people to practice a certain behavior and I myself practice exactly the opposite. I will not have doubts and be suspicious on others if they have beaten me fairly. Instead, I should look at myself to see how I could be better in future.

Yes I am naïve and Thank GOD for that!!

Hence, if I do not win in a sales career or beat my peers for an upward promotion that I want due to my idealism of keeping my integrity intact, then perhaps I’d change jobs.

(How we behave at work would also be most likely how we would behave at home) At least, I know that I am not teaching nor giving an example to my younger staff or more importantly my children to be a deceitful, hypocritical back stabbing coward.

Hopefully they will grow up to be sincere, honest individuals (maybe naïve) that people will respect.

Lastly, in John Murphy’s book – INTEGRITY is a LEADERSHIP essential that provides great competitive advantage because it is most difficult to copy. It cannot be faked or manipulated. It just glows within you. We are then deemed to be trustworthy and authentic (vs. fake)!!

 Cheers, 11 Feb 2011 – dedicated to a sales team I know facing a “musuh di dalam selimut” situation. (“enemy under the blanket”) translated literally!!

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