EMAIL #112 - 20TH MARCH 2021 - "INTEGRITY"

Hi Team,

For the first time in quite a while; last week I missed the deadline for writing my Weekly Email.

I have had two huge distractions over the last two weeks that have completely occupied my spare time and my concentration. Firstly, on the home front, we have been preparing our house for sale and interviewing real estate agents, (quite a daunting task, even though Maryanne and I have been through this process numerous times). Secondly, I had been preparing for an all-day mediation session for the building dispute in Brighton that I am currently embroiled in, (see previous email No 104 "right & Wrong"). After this fortnight of distractions I now finally have some time to reflect and contemplate the proposition that "if you run a business long enough you become a philosopher"  

Here's a big question.
What do you do when your integrity is seriously called into question??

I have been running my boutique building company for thirty years and I have always operated and made decisions based on integrity.

One of our core values at DDB and arguably the most important, is "we always do what we say we will do", which I believe is the manifestation of our integrity.

However, the ongoing dispute with a previous client (that I wrote about in "Weekly Email No 104")  has recently shone a bright spotlight on my integrity. During the all-day mediation this week at the DBDRV (Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria), I felt like I was sailing in the ocean without a moral compass. The mediation process turned out to be a 7-hour nonstop assault on my credibility as a builder and on my integrity as a person and it felt terrible. How can two intelligent people have such vastly different viewpoints about the same set of circumstances? It honestly feels like we are living on different planets.

"Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don't expect it from Cheap people" Warren Buffet

 A list of 65 separate disputed items were slated for mediation and after 7 hours of guided conciliation we were not able to reach agreement on even one item. So now the legal battle lines have been drawn and we have no choice other than a full VCAT hearing, which will involve several lawyers, barristers and numerous building experts and a mind-numbing amount of legal expenses. The really upsetting thing is that this could have all be avoided if both the client and I had made some better decisions 12 months ago.

"Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching." C.S. Lewis

So the challenge for me personally is how do I rise above this personal mudslinging and constant undermining of my integrity and not let it drag me down. On the positive side, I am very lucky to have a rock-solid Family and incredibly supportive wife who listens to all my venting on a daily basis, helps me to unpack each attack and helps me to see the dispute for what it is. I also have a great (but expensive) legal team which is 100% behind my defence and gives me the confidence to believe I will get through the intense battles ahead with my integrity fully intact.

To answer the opening question, "what to do when your integrity is seriously called into question"?
I went straight to the Prahran Pool and swam 18 laps! (The best form of meditative exercise I have ever come across).

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and swim laps!!

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