Your Mother Was Right – Winners Never Cheat

Winners Never Cheat. That is one of the things that people misunderstand about business. Too many people think you can only be successful in business by squashing others, cutting backroom pseudolegal deals and even flat out cheating people out of their money. Of course, those people are idiots. Here is an excerpt from the article (which is about a book by this title)

Winners Never Cheat is Huntsman's explanation of the principles at the heart of his business success. They include:

* Compete fiercely and fairly — but no cutting in line

* Set the example — risk, responsibility, reliability

* Revenge is unproductive: Learn to move on

* Operate businesses and organizations as if they are family-owned.

Huntsman also stresses, among other principles, the importance of surrounding oneself with associates who listen to their conscience and act accordingly; of treating customers, colleagues, employees and competitors with respect; and of returning favors and good fortune by helping out those less fortunate.

While I'm no objectivist, I'm still a big fan of Ayn Rand. When people find this out, I sometimes get a lecture about the evils of "selfishness." What they don't realize is that in an increasingly interconnected world where you never know who you may be doing business with down the road, it is in your self-interest to treat people fairly. If you screw people over, if you lie and cheat, you end up losing customers, suppliers, and other partners.

rob_businessert Wright wrote an excellent book called "NonZero," about the evolution of societies. He asks why, if our genes program us to look out for our own best interest, should we ever begin cooperating with others? His answer is the cooperation leads to nonzero sum situations where both parties end up better than they would have otherwise.

I think the phrase above sums it all up well – compete fiercely but fairly. That's good business.