Some Burns Never Heal

I’ve said it many times – Iowa is an easy state in which to network and connect with people. I think this is due to the general nature of Iowans. They’re open, trusting, mentoring and supportive – in business and in life. They understand that supporting another businessperson striving to succeed benefits everyone – which is why it’s so easy to network and establish meaningful and mutually beneficial business relationships in this great state. And once you start establishing these relationships and a reputation for honesty, integrity, hard work and excellence, it snowballs and becomes easier.

This article is not about the ease of networking and connecting with people, however. It’s more of a discussion of the flip-side reality. That is the permanent damage caused to a businessperson’s reputation and ultimate prospects for success when you “burn” someone.

I know – a ridiculously obvious topic for a blog post. But, I also think it’s important. Simply put, you need to avoid “burning” people in business and in life – not just because it’s morally wrong (I’ll let you be the judge of that), but because it will come back to harm you in the end.

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that you should be a patsy or that you shouldn’t be a shrewd negotiator or take hard stances in your business transactions. Those tactics lead to business successes and often the respect of your adversaries. Nor am I advocating for some sort of socialism where everyone shares equally in all opportunities. No, I’m a true capitalist. What I am saying is, do it the right way. Fulfill your promises. Meet your commitments. Be honest. Treat people fairly. And always act with integrity. Failure to do so and “burning” someone in the process will have permanent consequences and will not soon (if ever) be forgotten. And just like it’s easy to build a positive reputation in this state, it’s just as easy to build a negative one.

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