A young salesperson reached out to offer me a favor. He wanted to use his company’s technology to take the list of OutBound 18’ attendees and provide me with insights about each of them before the conference. I rejected his request because I would not betray the trust of the people on the attendee list by giving their information to anyone other than the sponsors. I also had a sense that something was amiss.
The young salesperson persisted, tried again, this time sharing the truth. He explained that his company was new and that his CEO had charged with him finding a way to get the attendee list so that they could schedule meetings with the attendees at the event. They believed that their product would benefit the attendees by helping them with outbound sales efforts. The approach the salesperson and his CEO took was a “whatever it takes “attitude, the kind that doesn’t recognize the truth that trust and integrity are the currency in which you trade.
I emailed the young salesperson to caution him about his approach. He replied that he was hustling and that as someone who also pushes to build businesses, I must understand. In this, he was off the mark by the very widest of margins.
I shared this story with my friend, Jeb Blount, and he confirmed that the company tried to buy a sponsorship but weren’t able to invest. Hearing this from Jeb made a bad story every worse.
The story here is a cautionary tale. Had I been duped into providing this non-sponsor the list of attendees, not only would I have betrayed the trust of the attendees, but I would have also created a problem for the sponsors, who invested in the event. His lack of integrity would have become my lack of integrity.
There are too many lessons here to recount them all, but let me share a few.
There is never a reason to operate from a “whatever it takes” mindset if that idea allows you to do anything that subtracts from trust or throws your character into doubt. Whatever it takes is the mantra of those who are selfish and self-oriented and lack skillful means to get what they want and maintain their integrity.
If you allow yourself to become desperate and start looking for the “easy way,” the choice you make to try to avoid the work is probably one that causes you to do things that make you untrustworthy. You protect yourself from ever finding yourself in this situation by not putting yourself in situations where you are desperate.
You are better off suffering any negative consequences that come with failing if you leave with your character intact. Once you have established yourself as someone of low character and a willingness to lie to get what you want, you will have a tough time creating relationships.
A thief is always a thief, no matter how pleasant they may appear to be. A liar is a liar, even if they are charming, and even when they believe that they are lying for what they think to be a worthy cause.
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Filed under: Sales