Integrity in business seems pretty simple. Brands tell the truth. People do what they say they are going to do. Truth is black and white, correct? It seems pretty simple.
I am interviewing people for many jobs right now. Our clients are growing and hiring! In every interview I usually ask the question, “Why are you considering leaving your current job?” Sometimes I get the standard answer, “looking for career growth,” or “I want to work in my field of study.” But more often than I would like, I hear things like:
- “I was promised bonuses and commissions, but it has never happened.”
- “I was told I would be doing ‘such and such’ work, and that is not what it has turned out to be.”
- “I was asked to work overtime to help get caught up, and two years later it is still 50+ hours.”
- “There was not supposed to be travel in the job and I am traveling 3 days a week.”
Basically, the one common answer I get to the question, “Why are you looking?” is… “they lied to me.”
On the other side of the spectrum, we have an interview process which consists of a screening, an in-person interview, and then one or two in-person interviews with the company. You would be amazed at how often the same question, after four different interviews, gets four different answers. Not four slight variations. Reason two and four could be completely different. Do the candidates just lie? Which answer is the lie?
And you can imagine the varying shades of truth when it comes to communicating with vendors.
Yes, I will be there today.
Sorry my engine fell out of my truck and I had to take care of it.
At 8 a.m. I hear, “I am about to upload the file.” And, at 5 p.m., I look and it still isn’t there.
It goes on and on.
If you ask different people, truth is relative. There are always two sides to the story and life is not black or white, it is shades of grey.
Truth: The Christian Business Difference
As Christian business owners, we learn differently in scripture. Jesus tells us He is the Truth and the Way and the Light. He is the Word and the Word is the Truth. All throughout scripture, we are taught that if we are followers of Jesus, we will walk in truth.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:6
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” – John 14:6
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” – John 16:13
As Christians in business we cannot control the truth in others. It is a shame that the Bible’s truth is not universal. It isn’t. But as a Christian we are not victims.
What can we do? How does a Christian in business navigate in a world of grey?
We can only control ourselves. We know the truth and if we are followers of Jesus, we want to walk in truth because we love Him. Will we do it perfectly? Not likely. But, we can:
- Try our best to live up to all commitments we make…to employees, to vendors, to customers.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment when dealing with others.
- Look for people who also follow Jesus, because we will know they are at least trying.
- Strive to be light in a dark world.
Don’t worry, I know it seems like a big commitment. I know, like me, you already try. And I know, also like me, you will miss sometimes.
Our Faith is a Strength in Business
But the power to be more like Jesus is not a human power. It is not something we can do on our own. The good news is that we don’t have to. By the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we can do better.
We can try to treat others as we would want to be treated. We can work to make sure our yes is yes and our no is no. We can have patience with others who we know are also trying.
A big myth in the business world is that to be successful you must check your faith at the door. I don’t believe that. Actually, our faith is a strength. If we lower ourselves to the world’s standards, we will be following a moving truth (no such thing). We will never know what is right and our standards and ethics will continue to be lowered.
We have the power of truth on our side.
We can do our best to be small businesses built on a foundation of our Christian values. We can try to be like a “city on a hill” to other Christians in business. We can encourage them that God does care about their business and that following Him in all of life, including our business is the only way!