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Don't be a jerk: Do the right thing

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I typically don’t like sports analogies in business, but sometimes they just make sense. So here’s the story:

My friend and colleague Jim Tunney, the dean of NFL referees, writes a weekly article about sports. Recently he wrote about the 2015 Australian Open, which for the fifth time was won by tennis star Novak Djokovic. According to Jim, the real story of the tournament wasn’t Djokovic’s fifth win. Rather it was the match between third-ranked Rafael Nadal and 103rd-ranked Tim Smyczek from Wisconsin.

Just as Nadal was about to serve, a fan in the gallery shouted an unintelligible remark which startled Nadal and caused him to deliver a bad serve. Smyczek approached the umpire at center court and suggested that, because of the disruptive fan, Nadal get a second chance. 

Nadal was granted permission to repeat his first serve and went on to win the point, set and match. Afterward Smyczek was interviewed about his decision and said simply, “It was just the right thing to do.” I absolutely love that.

How many times are we faced with situations in which “the right thing to do” is a tough pill to swallow? Trust me: The right thing to do is always the right thing to do.

This is even more important in business, as your reputation is based on trust. This trust comes from doing what you promise to do. Your clients assume they’re going to get what they pay for. They also assume you’re going to stand behind what you sell.

You can’t go wrong by doing the right thing. In business, this might cost you a little more time or money. But that investment will pay dividends many times over. The best companies have standards that won’t be compromised. And, in the end, those standards pay rich rewards.

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