Core Value #1 – Integrity Above All Else

By Ryan Barton | April 11, 2013

(Note, this is one post in a continuing series on company values, how they have impacted our organization, and why they matter)

Business often gets a bad rap.

People (including business owners and managers) often seem to think that business is about making as much money as you can, by being as clever as you can, and taking as much as possible from others.  Many people mistakenly think of the game of business as a “zero sum” game – if I get more, you get less.

That is NOT how it is supposed to be.

Many mistakenly believe that doing the right thing is a hindrance in business. That the key to success is to look out for yourself above all, bend the rules, and make as much money as you can, without worrying about the consequences.

I couldn’t disagree more.

We believe that business, when done right, creates value for all. That businesses based on integrity positively bless all they touch.  That they succeed based on how much value they create for all stakeholders. That they positively impact their clients, team members, vendors, community, environment, and owners.  We believe that as we genuinely seek to create value for those around us, that all prosper as a result (Note: The best articulation I have heard of how we view business is a concept called “Conscious Capitalism,” described by Whole Foods founder John Mackey here: http://youtu.be/0oyErtheHkk).

A business focused on creating value for all truly rests on a foundation of integrity.  You cannot fake seeking the highest good for your clients.  You cannot fake interest in your employee’s lives.  You cannot fake doing the right thing.

For us, it all starts and ends with doing the right thing.  No decision we make can ever go against the principle of integrity. If we do not follow this unhesitatingly, unflinchingly, we risk losing everything that matters – both at Mainstay, and in life.

When we recruit new team members at Mainstay, we look for those who join us in valuing integrity above all else.  When we setup relationships with clients, we make sure they understand that we do everything we can to genuinely look out for their best interest (I’ve talked at length on this site about how we do not markup hardware as typical in our industry, so that we never are in a position of “selling” to our clients versus designing solutions on their behalf) – and if they ever feel we aren’t genuinely looking out for them, that they should let us know immediately.  When we strategically plan for the future, it is with the recognition that nothing else matters like integrity does.

For myself, I am, and was raised, a Christian. Principles were instilled in me at a young age including the sacrificing for others, following a virtuous path even when it hurts, telling the truth even when to your own detriment, actively seeking to bless and choose for others, and valuing virtue and righteousness above monetary gain. When I started Mainstay, my business decisions naturally flowed out of my desire to treat all with the highest ethics, and to contribute far more than I took in all relationships.

As Mainstay has grown, I have had the honor of seeing how the value of “Integrity” has always been at the core of Mainstay’s DNA – of who we are.  Of how team members and clients from all walks of life, from all religious backgrounds, from all perspectives resonate with the word “Integrity” and share our belief that it is through serving others, through contributing more than we take, and through a genuine care for those around us, that true value can be created and sustained.

And when business is done with a focus on creating value, resting on the foundation of integrity above all else, truly, great things can happen!