IntegritySeptember 30, 2014
[in-teg-ri-tee] /ɪnˈtɛg rɪ ti/
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
One of our most important core values is “Integrity.” Honesty and Integrity are absolutely essential for success in life – in all areas of life. The good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity. Zig Ziglar
What does “integrity” mean for the team at ACT? It means doing the right thing, and doing it when no one is looking, even when no one will even ever know you did it. It is how we conduct ourselves in business and in life. The habit of conducting ourselves with integrity determines our reputations. Reputation is one of those things that takes a long time to earn, but can be lost very easily. Once lost, it takes a long time, if ever, to regain. Reputation, in turn, determines our success. Without our reputation, nothing else matters.
We see examples of integrity throughout our culture. For example, at ACT our motto is that we conduct business strictly “by the book,” …no exceptions… no excuses. There are so many laws, local, state and federal from speed limits to traffic control devices, weight laws, securement laws, lane laws, hours of service, equipment inspection, seat belts and on and on. We may not agree with the myriad of laws and regulations that have been passed and are being passed at a frantic pace, but we follow them. The answer to laws we don’t agree with is to call and write our elected representatives, not to try to ignore or evade the law. I always say, if you want to make money breaking the law, don’t do it here, go be a criminal somewhere else.
Why is this important? I don’t know about you, but I like sleeping at night. We have so much to worry about in trucking without creating unnecessary issues for ourselves. Further, doing business within the law is good business. It has worked for ACT for many years as others fail because breaking the law eventually catches up with you. Think about what happens in a bad wreck. The first thing a plaintiff’s lawyer will do is subpoena cell phone records, logs, engine computer data in a broad fishing expedition try to inflame juries, win the case and gain punitive damages. This can also result in a driver being charged with criminal negligence. We would much rather the issue center on the actual cause of the wreck because we know that in most cases, wrecks are caused by the passenger vehicle, not the truck. The average settlement for a fatality wreck nears $4 million. Neither of us makes much on one load…think about how many loads would have to be hauled to pay for just one bad wreck.
Integrity is important with our regulators. We have it. If you ask most regulators in Missouri, they will tell you that ACT is one of the safest carriers. That helps, when you want a green light, when stopped at the scales, when we are being audited, and with our insurance carriers when we negotiate premiums.
Integrity is important to the customers that provide miles for you. We have it. If you ask any of our customers about ACT, they will tell you that we are their best carrier. This reputation is important and hard earned. With customers, we contractually agree to keep good safety scores and will lose business if we don’t take care of this. Our tradition with customers, as well as all aspects of our business, is accountability. We say what we do, and we do what we say. Integrity means that our customers know that if we say we’ll deliver at a certain time…we do it. This is good business as well.
Integrity is important in how we deal with each other. We have reputations with each other and it is important to maintain and nurture these. Nothing gripes me worse than hearing about a driver who arrives to pick up a trailer and the tire is bald. As hard as the job of driving is, I would hope that we have the integrity and respect to take care of each other and treat each other right. Leave a trailer in the condition you would want to find it. If we all did this, it would make all our jobs easier. The Golden Rule works well in life and business.
Integrity means that when we make a mistake, we own it and own up to it. We talk honesty, even when it is hard. Why? Excuses, denial and blame always lead to failure, while honesty, integrity and accountability are key success ingredients. We are a team of winners and we act as such.
The concept of integrity is closely related to other ACT core values of accountability, mutual respect, safety and family. These values are what make us better than the rest.
At ACT, we guard them carefully.
Happy Trucking! ~Tom