I attended an Eagle Court of Honor this weekend. This event honors a young man when he achieves the rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouting’s highest rank.
I, too, am an Eagle Scout and greatly value the lessons learned in Scouting. Boy Scouts learn and recite the Scout Law, whose principles have direct applicability to your business.
A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.
Honesty and integrity must be key components of your business. Customers need companies to be dependable. They need your products to be reliable and live up to your pre-sales marketing claims.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
Your company has many stakeholders that deserve your loyalty. Stay true to your agreements and contracts, and in particular with customers, employees, shareholders, and suppliers.
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.
What noble cause is driving your business? It is easier to resonate with customers when you are trying to better their lives in some way. In business, we need to make money. If you join being sincerely helpful with your financial objectives, you’ll have a powerful combination.
A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
Do you collaborate with your peers? What can you learn from other companies in your industry? The more you open up and share your expertise with others, the more respected you’ll become. Keeping all your knowledge to yourself will ultimately stagnate how much you can grow.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
Courteous customer service is mandatory. Unfortunately, this is so uncommon today that even showing a few good manners will differentiate you from others.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated.
The golden rule is so easy to say but often hard to live. In business, many of our objectives are often very selfish. We want to grow revenues. We want to look good for the boss. These motivations may sometimes put a dark shadow over our ability to be kind to others. Our customers may appear to be only a means to the end objectives. However, you must still treat them with kindness and respect.
Customers may be only numbers in your spreadsheets, but each one is an individual that has one-on-one interactions with you and your company. Treat them like real people and not numbers.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country.
Are you following the laws of the land? The still fresh news stories of corporate corruption at places like Enron and WorldCom must not continue.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
Happy employees lead to happy customers. It is much easier to spend money when you are happy. Happy customers will buy from you and become return customers.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
Avoid waste in any form. Responsible usage of your resources will reduce costs and increase efficiency. You never know when a surprise will catch your company off guard. Prepare contingencies for disasters. Try to finance your business from its cash flows and not outside debt. The shackles of debt will severely restrict you during hard times.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
Your innovative ideas may sound very strange to others. You’ll probably have to take some risks to prove your ideas. People will mock you and others will scorn you. Do you have what it takes to endure this ridicule until your product finally proves its worth?
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.
Many people judge you and your business on first appearances. Keep your store clean. Dress professionally. Guard your vocabulary and speech. Cleanliness will allow customers to immediately feel comfortable doing business with you. Throw in a sprinkling of community service and people will realize you can’t be all bad if you’re a good neighbor and citizen.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
Despite the fact that society seems to be removing all references to God from public places, people still hold their respective religions very dear. Respect those beliefs and see how your business can allow employees and customers to worship, or not, as they see fit.
One of the Few
According to official Scout statistics, only approximately 5 percent of Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Living the principles discussed here will be readily apparent to your employees, customers, and peers. They will trust you, buy from you, and bring their friends to do business with you.
Can your business reach the elite status that will come through living the principles of the Scout Law?