Monday, November 17, 2008

Intellectual Honesty in Marketing and Life

When I spent a few weeks without updating my Face Book Groups, I was expecting to see their membership reduced probably by a few dozen people. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in all actuality, the groups did grow, if not by much, they were alive and thriving.

I have friends who have groups three and four times the size of mine; and I am happy for them. Hopefully, they are making a lot of money, and helping others at the same time. I could have grown my groups by a lot, if I had used the same principles that I used to create them. But in reality, I am more interested in giving freely to the community. My work schedule could be considered backbreaking; so I do not feel bad about not having breached the thousand members yet.

This morning however, when I visited my groups for a second, I saw that three people had signed off. I was in a hurry, since I was running late for my part time job. “Note to self, Blog about my part time job.”

A few hours later, I started my research, and an idea came to mind.

My last post was about Honesty, and credibility… If you have not read it, please do.

I knew when I wrote that post, that it would be controversial; specially, after I posted another bit of news (this time from a newspaper blogger) to my Face Book Profile. It did generated a lot of views, controversy, and comments.

I dislike conflict, that is my nature. You would say, “yeah right, this guy spent 22 years as a professional Soldier, is a martial artist, at 42, earned the 2d Infantry Division Heavy weight Tae Kwon Do Championship for his belt class, and he says that he hates conflict?” Well, believe it or not, I do.

But I ran with the post. I try to be intellectually honest, and as a blogger, I express my ideas. If you have read some of my posts, by now you know that I emphasize honesty and integrity in business and in life. Yet, when you stick by your guns, speak your mind, and make your beliefs known, people will call you controversial.

I do a lot of work in Civil Rights, and unfortunately, I see the good and the bad in mankind, more often than not, I see the bad; and have to confront it face to face. So, when on my last post I started by exposing how the media here in the United States used the comments of a blogger , a fake one at that (the author of the blog was a fictional character created as an idea for a TV show according to Associated Press), to trash a candidate for Vice President of the Nation, I knew that I would be touching some readers sensitive spot. Yet I ran with it anyway.

So, at this point I tell you today, that as a business person or an entrepreneur, there will be times when you will shake your head. And have doubts about what you are about to do. That my friends, is the time to ask yourself some questions:

1. Is it legal? If not, why are you considering it in the first place?

2. Is it morally right?

3. Who will be affected by my decision?

4. What kind of effect will my business suffer, or enjoy, as a consequence of my actions?

5. How will the image of my business or mine be affected?

6. Will I loose revenue? Will I have to lay off personnel?

7. Is there any other way to achieve my goal without harming anyone?

Intellectual honesty brings rewards as well as not so great consequences; but at the end, to me, it is important that I can look at the guy who is looking back at me when I face a mirror and be satisfied.

One of the hardest things that humans do, is becoming aware of themselves, and the reason it is hard, is because sometimes we do not like what we see. Sometimes we see weakness, or selfishness, or ignorance, or evil. Some of these characteristics, can be changed, but is not that easy.

I equate these traits to an addiction. You cannot change anything in yourself, if you are not aware of it. The alcoholic will not stop binge drinking as long as she or he does not realize that they have a problem. The addict will not quit the habit as long as he or she continues to find excuses for their behavior.

Businesses take the identity and some of the traits of their founders and managers. Why am I saying this? A business will be only as successful as their managers or owners. So, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, I suggest that you start by analyzing yourself. What are your motivations? Making money? There is nothing wrong with that. Is how you go about making your goals a reality that matters.

Remember the list of questions that I suggested you ask yourself when you are about to make a decision and the butterflies start messing around in your gut? Use the same questions when is time to make a business decision as when is time to make a personal one.

Intellectual honesty does not come cheap or easily, it takes guts, but, as you make it a habit of doing the right thing, it will indeed become easy. That uneasy feeling is what is call a cognitive dissonance, in other words, when your values contradict what you are about to do. Understand that your values are yours alone. Some other people might believe the way you do, but some others will believe otherwise, and there is where controversy starts. There is no way to convince everybody all of the time; and the sooner you come to terms with this reality, the sooner you will achieve peace. As long as you remain honest to yourself, your conscience will be ok.

But, as always there is a but somewhere in there… as a good friend of mine suggests every time we teach, look at yourself in the mirror. Be honest with yourself, find something that you cannot quite put your finger on, and that either cause you to doubt, or straight up makes you feel uncomfortable, and you would like to improve on. Understand where that trait, or habit came from, and figure out a way to modify that behavior, habit, or way of thinking. Make it a point to improve yourself, one day at a time.

Being intellectually honest with yourself, makes it easier to be honest with others as well. And as you portray the image of the honest person, you also portray the image of the honest business person. A lot of people might not agree with what you say or do, but eventually, they will learn to respect you and your business. Personally, I don’t like crooks, and can’t care less what they think of me. As long as I am honest with myself, and in all my dealings, my business will be ok, and so will I.

What values are important for you and for your business? Why? Who taught you those values? Have they changed over the years? Let me know.
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MKWeb said...

This kind of goes hand in hand with Social Marketing. I just added a complete directory of the major Social Networks, bookmark sites and even Video sites that includes the direct link to each site as well as the current Google Pagerank of all of them too! You can find the entire package at
and I also have a new ebook available as a gift that can be picked up for free at called The Social Reseller.
If you are looking to begin or even enhance your career in social marketing, these are two top notch tools that are well worth your time to review (and put to use)

J. A. Colon said...

That sounds great...

Knowledge, when properly applied, is power.

Me-Me King said...

Thank you, great information!