I’ve met more than my fair share of people who say one thing and do another.

“It’s fine,” they will tell you.

“Everyone else does it, so why can’t I.” followed non-nonchalantly by my favorite cliche; “It is just business.”

As if the very premise that it is a business decisions gives you the right to be a complete deviant.

Um, here is the thing…It doesn’t. Clear?

Where It Began

I’m not exactly sure who the first person that did something completely inhumane and followed it up with “it’s just business” was, but deep down it gives me comfort to believe that persons success was short lived.

But if I had to speculate, I think one of the key differences back then was there was that your reputation didn’t travel so far.

In a far more disconnected world; long, long ago (like 10 years) our mistakes and indiscretions didn’t tend to make it onto Facebook nor did they serve as “How Not To” fodder for the greater business community.

People were human, mistakes happened and so did self righteous business people who made commitments that they never fully intended to live up to. Some more harmful than others, but nonetheless the markings of their integrity, their bond, their brand.

Where We Are Today

Today is different. Technology has changed everything and we are more connected than ever before with each and every passing day.

Reputation is everything and the last thing in the world you want to do is become a person marked as “Not Good For Their Word.”

Once you are deemed unreliable or of low morale standards, you almost have to shut it down. With the amount of information out there today, a bad egg will be hard pressed to sell to their own mother.

But I digress.

Let’s just say that in a world where influence and social score (literally and figuratively) are everything, your word is not only your bond but it is also your brand.

Word is your Brand, What does that Mean?

Historically all the way through today, being a person of your word got your places.

Your word was your bond, it built trust and on trust relationships are born and they expand.

But today your word is more than that.

Your word today is your brand because you, no matter where you lie within your organization are a banner for your brand.

When you do things the right way and you honor your commitments, it is like depositing good will into your company (your brand)

The higher up you live within the organization the more influential your goodwill can be.

Also True in Reverse

So here is the other side of the coin.

In today’s world, when you step on it (whatever it may be), the damage can be really bad.

And again, the more influential you are in the organization, the more damaging your actions can be.

Which means…

It is never “Just Business” anymore. Your actions have a consequence, and so does your inaction.

So Remember

Your word is everything, including your brand.

In a social, highly connected world where your business is everyone’s business, you no longer have the right to “act a fool.”

And if you do, be prepared to deal with the consequences.