The principal of honesty and personal
integrity are at the foundation of our Smith family values. I
recall being 6 or 7 years old and taking a handful penny candies
from a mom and pop market near my home in Indiana. While sitting on
the porch at home, munching away on the ill gotten gain, mom,
suspecting that the sweets had been pilfered questioned me and got
to the bottom of the matter. The subsequent discipline was twofold:
first I had to apologize to the shop keeper and second I
had to pay back the dime or so (which I didn't have). So
the kindly old gentleman came up with the community service of
sweeping off his front walkway to the store in compensation.
The honesty lesson stuck with me on both accounts since I was
mortified that I had to confess to the store owner my sins. And of
course sweeping put me on public display and humiliation since all
the kids in the neighbor wanted to know why I was sweeping the
front walkway and I had to explain it in gory detail over and over
The advantage I see now as an adult to honesty and always doing
the right thing is that it makes my life simpler. If I'm presented
with a choice and it's not the right thing to do I simply don't
waste any time wondering if I should or shouldn't do it. It also
means I never have to make up a story to conceal a falsehood -
since I just need to recall the truth of what actually
Interestingly a couple of years ago the members of my Excell CEO
exchange were all asked to identify three primary values which they
based their lives on. Every single one included honesty as one of
their identifying characteristics.
I have incorporated this wisdom into how we run the business
here at Tec Labs. We serve our customers best when we strive to
always do right. As a reminder, this core value is posted in
the hallway where every employee can be reminded.
As a reminder for myself, I have the complete quote framed on my
"Always do right. It will gratify most people and
astonish the rest", Mark Twain.
By Steven D. Smith, President
Tec Laboratories, Inc.