WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

July 7, 2013

WordFood of Integrity: Do What You Say You’re Going to Do

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 2:36 pm

Last Friday a simple request sent me on a journey which was both funny and thoughtful. Several days prior I had read, loved, and responded to a Sports Illustrated editorial which had left me in stitches. I sent a complimentary letter to the editor and they had indicated that the magazine might publish my missive. A friend wanted to see the editorial. It was lost in the house somewhere. That led to the search for the issue, which by this time was already being replaced on newsstands everywhere.

From Safeways to Seven Elevens, I was on a mission, because I too wanted this article. I ended up at a Barnes and Noble out at Colorado Mills where I chased Randy down at customer service. Their SIs had already been restocked, but he was willing to call around. Success! Down at Southwest, my issue was still on the counter but the restock guy was coming – perhaps in minutes. I made a perfectly reasonable request- would they hold a copy for me? No. What? No. The best I could hope for was to hurtle down C470 at breakneck speed and hope like hell I’d catch the restock kid in time.

I screeched into the parking lot, shot to the magazine rack and found the young man as he was loading last week’s periodicals. My issue was already at the very bottom, but he happily gave me a copy. Then I went looking for the manager to express my frustration at having to play NASCAR driver to buy this magazine.

Maddy explained that it was store policy not to hold  outdated magazines at the register.  Why? “Because people don’t ever show up and we lose the sale, and then we also can’t return the magazine to the publisher,” she explained. Maddy’s comment got me thinking about this on the larger scale. If it’s a company wide policy, lots of people have done that, lots and lots and lots of times.

Why is it that people will call and ask a store to make a special effort and then not show up, costing the store money? The same reason they let their friends and others down. It’s easy. We can be lazy. It’s hard work to show up for each other. It’s irresponsible. Rude. Reprehensible. For little stores all across America the impact is considerable. It’s the kind of thing that makes entrepreneurs nuts. But it’s so much bigger than that. If you’re willing to mistreat a store owner and not live up to your word, then you are just as likely to break a promise to your child. Your girlfriend. Your boyfriend. Your family. Because in effect, your word means nothing.

Here’s what integrity looks like: My Hewlett Packard printer went on the fritz last week. I called Customer Service, got Carlos. He promised that by the time we were done, it would work just fine. I was out of warranty, but he’d do it for free. It took two hours. I ended up buying a warranty and demanding that he get his boss on the phone with us so that I could sing his praises. He did precisely what he said he would do.  HP has my loyalty.

When you don’t do what you say, you are first out of integrity with yourself. It spreads like a cancer. It does matter. The fabric of our society depends on things like trust, integrity, personal responsibility. Just because your device allows you to hang up at any time doesn’t mean the toxicity on the other end stops at the push of a button. Or the carelessness of not showing up to pick up that magazine doesn’t have an impact. Enough events like that, people go out of business. Fall out of relationships. Stop trusting.

It’s so very easy to be an everyday hero. Just show up. Live up to your promises. Don’t let folks down. Whether it’s your loved ones or the little store down the street that struggling to keep its doors open. Heroes keep their promises. Go watch “Last of the Mohicans” again for a first class Hollywood reminder of what a promise looks like. Keep your word, you will look up to yourself again.

At one point in American history, our word was our bond. Now we have lawyers. Really? Is that what it takes these days? When I signed up as a soldier, I promised to give my life for my country. THAT was a serious promise. Still would. What does your word stand for? Let’s keep our commitments. Little ones, big ones. Let our word stand for something again.

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