A simple handshake is still about honesty and integrity.

December 16, 2013  |  Lobbying 101

In today’s world of scandals and controversy, one wonders if honesty and integrity still hold their time honored value. Are the days of a handshake gone with the ways of our grandparents and great-grandparents? Is a handshake still your word that others hold in high regard?

Working with members of the Mississippi Legislature, my fellow lobbyists, and staff at the Mississippi Capitol, I can tell you that your handshake still represents your word and defines your ability to be trusted. The role of a Mississippi lobbyist before members of the legislature is to provide information about your clients, about pending issues, and about how issues might impact your clients. Since your word is what you have to work with, it must be factual, honest, and with integrity at all times.

So what are these two words we hear of and talk about so often? Honesty is the quality of being fair and truthful. Integrity is the quality of being honest and of high moral principles. These two words are a prerequisite for any lobbyist who works on behalf of others representing them before members of the Mississippi Legislature. If either of those two qualities is ever breached, then your word is without merit. It’s good to know the values our grandparents and great grandparents worked hard to preserve are still just as important in today’s fast paced world.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

Abraham Lincoln

Here in Mississippi, we still assign importance to sweat equity, hard work, the value of a handshake, and your word being as good as any written legal contract. So the next time you think about what a lobbyist does, don’t be so quick to think first of scandalous headlines. Instead, think about your own Mississippi values of honesty, integrity, and a good old-fashioned handshake being your word.

Whether in hot debate over an issue or working to provide information to decision makers, the Echols Group works with other lobbyists, capitol staff, and members of the Mississippi Legislature with honesty and integrity in the forefront of everything we say, write, and do. There’s an old Chinese proverb that reminds me of honesty and integrity. It goes like this… “When there is trust, no proof is necessary. When there is none, no proof is possible.” No one ever wants to find themselves in a position of having to prove their word, so it seems to me the best policy is to simply be truthful. It might not always be what everyone wants to hear. But at the end of the day, honesty and integrity are always the best policy.

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