Coach’s Corner: True ‘Grit’
James Jordon agrees. “The Internet has removed the fences of business and increased competition. We no longer have to be only concerned with rivals who are geographically close.” For Jordon, vice president of Vangard Group LLC, a Milwaukee, Wis.- headquartered real estate development firm, integrity isn’t just a vague inspirational mantra collecting dust in the company handbook.
“Being in development and construction, we truly understand that if a building’s integrity is ever compromised, the entire structure is in danger. We apply the same model in our daily operations,” says Jordon, who is in charge of capital fundraising, project conception and operations management.
Vangard specializes in redeveloping urban communities around the country. The company completed $21.5 million in development projects and $16.36 million in construction ventures in 2010. “Because American inner cities have historically been exploited, it is even more important that we exude integrity — to the community and our partners.”
Why should managers and those aspiring to corner offices care about whether they act with integrity? Because at a time when collective mistrust of corporate executives has some Americans seeing red, professionals still want their bottom lines in the black. Dealing honestly, delivering promptly and offering quality are characteristics of those whose careers weather economic storms over time. In short, operating in a principled way can mean the difference between surviving and thriving during a financial downturn.
Some believe integrity is an inherent personal trait – you’re either born with it or you’re not – whereas others think it is a behavior that can be cultivated by just about anyone. Jordon defines integrity as a moral and ethical imperative: “being who you say who are and doing what you say you’re going to do.” He agrees with Moment’s assertion that integrity must be articulated to clients through practice, not just phrases.
“The customers that do business with us, and the partners that invest in us, know that we are going to execute,” maintains Jordon. “We have built a great track record of success and have received some extraordinary opportunities because we are honest, show character and perform what we propose.”