Many people have the perception that the fabulously rich and powerful are dishonest and unethical. And who can blame them after hearing stories of how millionaire executives rip off their shareholders in scandal after scandal on Wall Street? Think about Enron, China Aviation Oil, WorldCom, ACCS, REFCO and the list goes on. Certainly there are unethical & unscrupulous rich people around (incidentally, their wealth & businesses rarely last), but the truth is that most self-made millionaires share a common habit of personal integrity. Interestingly, in the best-selling book 'The Millionaire Mind', author Thomas Stanley interviewed 733 multi-millionaires and asked them what were the key factors that contributed to their wealth. Ranked number one was 'being honest with people'. Surprised? This factor was ranked way ahead of factors like 'making wise investments', 'working hard' and 'having a competitive spirit'.
What is integrity and why is it so important to long term wealth? Integrity is about being honest with others and adhering to high moral standards. It is also about doing what you say you will do. When you act with integrity, your customers, colleagues and staff will place their trust in you. They know that you mean what you say and that you will not let them down. They know that you will give them the best quality for their money and they know that you will not cheat them.
We have all heard the phrase 'A man is nothing without his word' and that is 100% true! Integrity is the essence of everything. In everything that you do, act with integrity. When you are able to keep your word and deliver on your promise, people can trust you and your business. And trust builds long lasting relationships. It is evident almost everywhere, between old friends, married couples, business partners, etc, all those successful relationships are all build on a very strong bond of trust.
In a world where so many people are unethical and dishonest, build your reputation on integrity and you will have an endless supply of customers, suppliers, investors and business partners. Over the years, I have had many people who have approached me to do business with them and I have turned most of them down, no matter how great the opportunities to make money seemed to be. As a result, many people have asked me what I look for in a business partner. My answer is that 'integrity' is above everything else. Remember that it takes a lifetime to build and only a second to lose, so always act with integrity, treasure it and you will possess one of the greatest strengths of all.
Adam Khoo is an entrepreneur, best-selling author and a self-made millionaire by the age of 26. Discover his million dollar secrets and claim your FREE audio CD program '7 Steps To Financial Freedom' here.