The Big Idea with Ron Davis
January 9, 2014
Employing Honesty as an Operating Policy
Idea of the Month
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month, we feature Marc Katz, an attorney in Indianapolis who specializes in the electronic security services business.
Katz’s Big Idea:
Make sure you are open and upfront on all issues. Disclose. It will come back to you positively over and over again. It will also come back to hurt you if you don’t reply with honesty and candor.
I do not like people who preach or pontificate their message! There, I’ve said it. This is particularly true for lawyers. Having shared this opinion, the lawyers that I’ve worked with in the security industry are a unique group. They are knowledgeable, talented, answer questions directly and don’t seem to bloviate.
This is particularly true for Marc Katz, a lawyer who specializes in alarm industry sales and closings. He’s based in Indianapolis and seems to reflect really solid Midwest values. We have worked together on a number of closings of alarm company transactions throughout the nation. He has always behaved in a scrupulously honest manner, forthright and without pontification. I like this.
Coming from anyone else, Katz’s reply to the signature question for this month’s column could be considered a form of “preaching.” From Katz, however, it is an operating doctrine that has caused him to be one of the most respected attorneys in the industry.
This doctrine, nevertheless, is applicable in almost every phase of business. I suspect even in our personal lives (there I go preaching!) it also has practical applications. In dealing with employees, fellow workers, suppliers and, of course, customers it is often said that you can never make a mistake by being honest and upfront. Always. In every situation.
Winning With Credibility
It often is said that leadership starts at the top. If you are an owner or manager in an alarm company and you practice this philosophy on an everyday, every occasion basis, you are doing the right thing. Honesty becomes an operating policy. In turn, this gains you the reputation and the position in your community, as well as the wider industry, that I would suspect if you’re reading this is so important to you. Of course, at the end of the day it has a very real financial reward for both you and your company.
I have been involved in lots of acquisition closings, i.e., where an alarm company is sold to a buyer. The best transactions I have been involved with are those in which the buyer and the seller come to the table armed with facts and information. The provide straightforward answers in an honest and forthright manner. Negotiations go better. Everybody walks away feeling as though they have won whatever it is they came to the table for.
For Katz, this means respect, admiration, and I would suspect, as much legal work as he can handle. Yes, cleverness plays a part. Knowing what you’re doing is also important. Knowledge of your business, whether it’s the law or the alarm business, is of paramount importance. But if your customers, staff and suppliers know you to be honest, that probably is the most important element in any business transaction.
The older I get, and the more business activities I’ve seen, the more I find that the people I admire and respect are, first and foremost, honest. If you’ve been practicing honesty, you know what I mean. If not, try it. You might find you like it and it might actually increase the bottom line of whatever endeavor you engage yourself.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International
in the 1980s.