Integrity in Business can sometimes be a stretchy subject. What’s considered fair, ethical or even legal can vary depending on whom you are speaking to. More often than not, the keys are emotions and money.
Agreements are not to be entered into unwisely. Nor are they to be constructed without appropriate diligence. Likewise, breaking terms, whether intentional or not, can have painful results, both emotionally and financially.
First, know that emotions can have a major impact in business dealings, yet have little weight when negotiating terms and signed documents.
Legalities aside, the leverage will most often come from financial aspects that are ideally of mutual benefit to the parties consummating a deal. When one party believes it has authority over the other, leverage can reveal itself in uncanny ways. Tactics such as threat or force are often tested to see if the other will comply or give in. Mutuality quickly disappears and adversarial communications ensue. As opposition mounts, words like truth or fact are attached to elements of the Agreement and the legal maneuvering begins.
While neutrality is beneficial in settling disputes, that’s when the emotional gradient rises and clearer heads must prevail. It may be more valuable to maintain a position that is clearly incorrect, rather than admit fault, which can open up liability to the transgressing party.
At the end of the day, negotiations can proceed much smoother and swifter when opposing parties simply “show their cards” and resolve to resolve. Unfortunately, since we live in a litigious society, it’s not always that easy.
Honor, dignity and responsibility must prevail. The Stand for Integrity in Business is a choice we can all make.
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