Today's post relates to our credo: quality, service, and honoring our word (or integrity).  I chose to focus on integrity today, and today's quote comes from a great author Nicholas Sparks.  Many of his novels have become great chick flicks, including my wife's all-time favorite The Choice.

"In the end you should always do the right thing even if it's hard." -- Nicholas Sparks

It's easy to do the right things when they come easy; but doing the right things when it's difficult, that's when integrity really matters.  At Crawford Landscaping, integrity matters so much it's how we define ourselves, and everyone at Crawford represents that commitment.  And like anything related to a reputation: it's difficult to gain and easy to lose.  That's why it's so important that everyone understand that we do what we say we're going to do no matter what.  

So what spells out "what we say we will do?"  Well, obviously any verbal commitments, so be careful not to commit to things you cannot do.  As a rule, always under-commit and over-deliver.  Secondly, our contracts.  Read them carefully as they do change based on client and job.  If the contract reads 42 mowings per year, then we need to give them 42 mowings per year UNLESS we communicate to them differently.  Some may say "that's crazy - others skip services without telling the client - "that's how you make money in this business."  That's not us.  If we cut corners, or deviate from the contract, we tell our partner, the client, what we're doing.  It's always better to be up front and honest than to cheat and get caught.  And trust me, as the guy writing this post who get's to say "the buck stops here," I don't ever want to be brought into a situation where we did not handle ourselves with the utmost integrity.  I can handle mistakes, but I cannot handle lapses in integrity and honesty.  

I'll close with a story.  Back in the early days of Crawford Landscaping, we had a gentleman that went rouge and completed a sod job on his own (what I mean by on his own is he didn't consult anyone before bidding and doing).  The clients issue was that his entire 1.5 acre back yard flooded in the summer.  So this gentleman from Crawford estimated how much fill was needed to bring it up so they would not be flooded and then the new sod quantity, and gave them a bid.  We did the work and they paid us - all was good.  Till summer!  The gentleman that bid the job had left our company and when the summer rains came their backyard flooded like crazy.  You can imagine how upset the client was (and they we're even a maintenance client).  We were totally at fault.  We went out to the job and found out that we underestimated the fill by about 50% and the total cost to fix this was about $8,000.  Now we were young and strapped for cash at the time and the last thing we needed to do was eat $8,000 on a sod job.  But I remember commenting at the time "the second we give in on our integrity, we're finished."  To me, this moment was a test - an integrity test - would we do the right thing when it really hurts.  WE DID!  We made it right by these people and kept our commitment to integrity.

Application: whatever you do as a representative of Crawford Landscaping may it ALWAYS be with the highest degree of integrity.