As we progress with our business in 2010, I find myself more and more drawn to doing business with people who are genuine, sincere, and as honest as they can be.  Maybe I'm having a negative visceral reaction to all the examples of people acting "on behalf of their business," which we're told should excuse.  You know, because history is replete with cases of lying, cheating, and stealing to get ahead.  Some of the best business barons of the last several centuries have checkered pasts - so it's somehow OK to do whatever it takes to get ahead today, right?

I think our "outcome-oriented" culture is becoming extremely negative for our American society.  How many people do you regard as successful because of the outcomes of their businesses, not because he/she is intrinsically a good person?  Certainly, money is a very important scorecard in business and I'm not minimizing that.  But I think it's also important to do it "the right way."  It's not just important to succeed, it's important to succeed with class and dignity.  It's important to your legacy, your reputation, and the way people will treat you when you are inevitably down.  Because no matter who you are, it *will* happen.

Somewhere along the way in America, we adopted an extremist "do whatever it takes" and "me first" attitude about business.  I don't totally agree with that — the how/when/why means more to me than the outcome.  I think it's ultimately good business to be genuine and true to your word insofar as you can be — society *craves* it in a world of cleverly manipulated bailouts, mortgage bailouts, and "anything it takes."  Society is based on rules where we aren't out to screw each other or create a problem for someone else all for the sake of personal gain — at least it used to be.  But those choices are up to you & me — and we have to begin to do the right thing every now and then despite what the "rules" or the "structure" allows.  Otherwise, America will be pillaged until there is nothing more to take.