Hailing from a financial services background, much of my success and long-term customer relationships have been made possible due to my adherence to integrity. I consider it from two, related perspectives: Firstly, the integrity as we normally know as the act and character of being honest to all those who rely on us. Secondly, and at a more sublime level, is the integrity to one’s word and when “word and deed have not parted company” (Ms. Arendt, an influential German-Jewish Political Theorist)
My first major learnings in integrity were during my tenure with ABC Inc. . In a particular case, we were competing for the insurance policy of a US$ 11 Billion power project – a deal with potential annual revenue (premium) of US$ 7 Mn. While the prospect of crossing more than 1000% of my target did make me ecstatic, a proper case scrutiny was much needed. After thorough inquiries, we found that the project contractor’s reputation as also certain other key risk-related observations were not on positive note. Without a second thought, I refused to underwrite the policy – thus avoiding a near “catastrophic” risk exposure on our part.
As I grew seasoned in the business, I came across a similar test of integrity when one of our key, long – term enterprise clients had an Insurance policy (ABC Inc.) that had turned out to be a loss-making proposition for the company (the overall relationship running in transactions worth millions was, as yet, profitable). There were frequent claims of theft and inspection revealed multiple and rampant security lapses. I was quick to terminate the policy – even at the risk of jeopardizing a key client relationship. The unconditional refusal caused the client to swiftly implement the required security measures following which the policy was underwritten. Both the organizations now enjoy a long – term and mutually beneficial relationship.
My character was further strengthened when I assumed charge as Solution Manager at a time when the Company’s Branch office was on aggressive revenue-generation plan. A major portion of this growth target had not been completed – and a similar situation was prevalent with my assigned (Client) accounts. There was thus a certain amount of pressure to commit to a highly aggressive sales target. Before giving my word, I went on to assess the sales potential and was quick to realize that I could meet those numbers only through a significant number of non-profitable transactions/deals/customers. These would add to the “revenues” but not to the bottomline. In the best interests of the company, I went on to commit (and achieve) only those targets that corresponded to profitability. My integrity was well-appreciated and I realized that, at times, it is fine to say “no”. It was thus trust that rewarded with senior leadership responsibilities in the succeeding years.
Thus by sticking to “doing what is right”, I have always reached the right growth window.