Integrity: Better than Money or Power

What happens when one half of one of the world’s greatest rivalry’s has the chance to bring its competitor to its knees?

I recently read an article where Pepsi was offered private documents and trade secrets belonging to Coke as well as a vial of their secret formula.

It all started when a disgruntled Coke employee wanting to get back at Coke for what she believed was poor treatment met an ex-con who needed a job who knew an embezzler. It sounds like the makings of a highly anticipated motion picture, doesn’t it? 

A senior executive at Pepsi was contacted by the embezzler stating that he had top secret documents from Coke and he would be willing to hand them over to Pepsi for a large sum of money that would presumably set the three con artists up for life.

What these three didn’t know, was that while in their minds Pepsi would have been crazy not to pay up for the secrets, Pepsi had actually contacted Coke to tell them what was happening. Coke promptly called the FBI and the trio had unknowingly been dealing with an FBI agent from then on. Needless to say the three were arrested and charged with various crimes. 

While this is a really interesting story and it has a bit more to it than what I outlined, it brings up the topic of integrity, whether within your own company or when dealing with competitors and the broader business world.

It would have been really easy for the Pepsi exec to take the trade secrets and build an empire to equal that of Coke’s but would it be real? While we are talking about two business power houses, if you apply this scenario to any local small business, I think you’ll find that the outcome is the same. Very little satisfaction can be found riding on someone else’s shirt tales.

As a small business owner would you be able to work in your business everyday knowing you didn’t get where you are on your own merit? Or would it be fair to engage in underhanded business dealings just to have an edge over your competitor? Would you feel the same satisfaction gained when you work hard for something?

I think its more important to be known as a fair operator with a great product or service rather than the business owner whose known as a shady character. Reputation stays with a person for life and while we all want to succeed in business it’s important that we treat our competitors, clients, suppliers and anyone we deal with, with integrity. That integrity may be the thing that will have others helping you out of a bind one day and prove to be more important than money or power. It's something to think about.


If you would like to read the full article, here’s the link: