There were many tributes to businessman Jon Huntsman at his funeral, but there was one story told about his integrity that tells us how ethics is done. During the 1980s, Mr, Huntsman and his business were struggling. In order to get cash into his business, he entered into an oral agreement to sell 40% of the stock of his company to a buyer who had been a tough negotiator. Mr. Huntsman shook hands on the deal.
Shortly after the deal was negotiated, conditions in the market changed, and Huntsman’s stock climbed because the company’s earnings had increased five-fold. His lawyers argued that the oral agreement was not binding because no one had signed any paperwork. Mr. Huntsman still closed the deal because he said that he had made an agreement and his handshake was his bond. Members of he the chemical industry were shocked. He lost millions with the deal.
The rest, as the say, is history. Mr. Huntsman went toto enjoy even greater success and growth. The loss at the time of the deal was small from the perspective of bis billionaire status. Your word is you bond. Your handshake means something. Doing the right thing even when you could escape legally. Three lessons in Mr. Huntsman’s passing.