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By Kathryne Anne Pusch, ASR

RISMEDIA, July 18, 2007—I read a lot of Stephen King.  Many of his stories involve people crossing some invisible boundary lines into the realm of evil.  King uses a term “slippage” to describe the events, behavior, and conditions surrounding a gradual, sometimes nearly imperceptible (except in retrospect) decline or crossing over to the “dark side.”  As you read the story, you start to get “the creeps,” the feeling that something wicked this way comes.  I think slippage also applies to our integrity in our business dealings as well. 

We have certainly seen a great deal of slippage in our world in recent years.  The business world is tough and extremely competitive these days.  Some people might be feeling that it would be easy to lower their own standards of honesty and ethics, and rationalize that they are still “better” than a lot of other people we have read about and seen on the daily TV news.  Allowing yourself to be weak in your own values may allow others to misguide you into behavior that will later strike you as very poor judgment.  One poor decision has a way of leading to more bad decisions, often to cover up the first one.  This creeping decline in values is slippage, and is accompanied by denial which allows people to convince themselves it is OK to behave this way.

In fact, it is not possible to keep your positive self image and integrity while lowering your own standards to the level of mediocrity or even worse.  The late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was a prolific writer and a wise man.  He had a “test” for integrity.  When evaluating any given situation and choices for behavior, he suggests that we ask ourselves:

1. Is it legal and in line with the organization’s policies?
2. Is it fair to all concerned—both short & long term?
3. How will I feel about myself in the end?

Being dishonest saps energy, adds to the “bad stress” in our lives, and damages personal and professional relationships.  In our business, you could be at risk for loss of license, fines, or legal sanctions.  Who needs that?  If you or someone close to you seems to be succumbing to slippage, take action (before you wind up in a Stephen King story.) 

* Get in the habit of constant evaluation using the three-question test 
* Practice encouraging and supporting the best behavior in others
* Live up to your commitments, taking responsibility for your own actions and expecting others to do the same
* Communicate truthfully and clearly, without casting aspersions or shifting blame

NAR surveys confirm that your prospective clients are looking for Brokers and Agents that demonstrate honesty and integrity, so you will see your business blossom and referrals increase.   As a bonus, you will feel good about yourself and be healthier, happier, and more confident!  And you deserve it.

About the Author:
Kathryne Anne Pusch is president & broker of ConsultKAP, Inc. She is a Licensed RE Instructor in Georgia and a Certified ASR Instructor for Barney Fletcher RealtyU (www.barneyfletcher.com/). You can contact Kathryne at kap@consultkap.com.

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