Coach’s Corner: True ‘Grit’
By Robyn D. Clarke Ngwabi, Ph.D.
Wall Street executives aren’t the only business people feeling the heat for dubious practices fueled by greed. Don Lapre was considered a marketing genius. He pioneered the “tiny classified ad” infomercial to lure wannabe entrepreneurs looking to make a quick buck. And for a time, it worked. From the time he started his “vitamin” distribution business in 1990 until the mid-2000s, he made millions.
But, in 2005, the Food and Drug Administration slapped him with warnings and accusations of misleading advertising. Shortly thereafter, he came under the scrutiny of various consumer watchdog groups, such as QuackWatch, for peddling fake get-rich- quick schemes. on the Internet. In June 2011, Lapre was indicted by a grand jury for peddling counterfeit e-businesses and stealing more than $50 million from nearly a quarter-million victims. While awaiting trial, on Oct. 2, 2011, Lapre died from an apparent suicide.
Enron. Tyco. WorldComm. Madoff Investment Securities. It has sometimes seemed like the business world is riddled with corrupt executives and practices that would shock Charles Ponzi himself. Now, combine these tall-but-true tales of bigwigs looking to further pad their already overflowing coffers with an uncertain economy. True grit – integrity – in the commercial sphere seems in short supply.
“The importance of integrity has always existed among the business community, but in recent times has been shown to be falling short,” says Robert Moment, CEO and founder of Arlington, Va.-based The Moment Group, a business and life coaching and customer service consulting firm. But consumer expectations, aided by technological access, have not changed.
“There is, in fact, no need to accept anything less than the best,” states Moment, also author of “It Only Takes a Moment to Score: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling Business Ideas (iUniverse, $9.95). “The consequence of global competition means that customers will simply not consider a company that shows any less than the highest level of integrity.”