You Dirty Rat, You Killed Your Integrity

POST DATE Oct 14, 2016

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

Myself, like many of you, look forward to weekends when I don’t have a lot of chores I need to do (or that someone has told me to do). Free of chores you actually get a chance to putter around, relax and try to get rid of the stress of the week. One of the things I like to do to unwind is watch movies in the comfort of my home as I’m not fond of the distractions that happen in theatres. I like to watch old movies as much as new ones, and one of my favourites is Taxi starring James Cagney. This movie was made famous because it was a good gangster movie, but also because it started a famous misquote, “You dirty rat, you killed my brother.”

This got me thinking about rodents (quite the segue, right?). Each year we go camping and not surprisingly, my wife is really not fond of rodents. Not many people are. One year we even found one in our van and since then I have made a point to bring traps and use cheese for bait. This rodent scenario and the famous misquote from the movie made me think about an important business lesson (get ready for another segue)…

Over the many years that I have been in business, I have encountered several instances where myself or my company have been baited with something—usually money (the cheese), to do something that compromises agreements that we have made. I bet you see it all the time out there. These instances come in many forms, one of them being companies who abandon their agreements with distributors because they have been baited by better deals. It can also be seen in many restaurants and nightclubs where a famous or affluent person gets a table or entrance before others. We swear something has changed hands.

There are many people and companies that are successfully baiting other companies or people into compromising their deals or agreements that they have in place with others. We often blame the problem on the people who have been baited and compromised because we believe that they have killed their integrity, but I will make an argument that the organizations or people that are trying to make you compromise your integrity are just as bad, or worse. 

What happens to the people or organizations that compromise their integrity is brutal, and most of the time, the companies or people that have done the baiting to begin with seem to come out looking good, with the excuse that they are doing it in the best interest of themselves and their business. If you ever have the chance to meet me in person asked me about the famous goat story.

It is up to all of us to say no to baiting, and to fight against the baiting that is done in the business world. We can do this one of two ways, first, don’t take the bait, and second, we should send a clear message to those that are doing the baiting that the practice will not to be tolerated.

Many people believe it is normal to accept the bait even if it compromises their integrity, and are often also guilty of spending time baiting others themselves. In the end nothing good happens from this practice and many are hurt.

The best businesses and people are those that resist taking the bait and compromising who they are, and that do not indulge in the practice of baiting others. I guess in today’s world the new James Cagney saying should be, “ You dirty rat, you killed my integrity.”


Author: Udo Jahn

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