YKK Stories

2018-06-25 Issue 56 Fundamental Behavior 1 Do The Right Thing, Always

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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Fundamental Behavior 1 is “Do The Right Thing, Always.” It is not an accident that we chose this as our first Fundamental Behavior, as it sets the pathway for becoming the people and company with which we should all want to be associated.

I remember when I was a sales representative calling on a prospective customer who was manufacturing coveralls using a competitor’s #5 aluminum zipper in the center front and leg openings. These were heavy duty insulated coveralls worn mostly by construction workers in harsh environments, and the customer was receiving many returned garments due to broken zippers. To solve his garment return problem, I quoted him YKK’s 5MGM and 5YGA brass chain and press sliders, which were much stronger and more durable than the competitor’s aluminum zippers. The YKK product was also about 35% more expensive, and he decided to stay with our competitor’s product. I could have easily sold him YKK’s #5 aluminum product as it was a better quality fastener with a competitive price. However, it was the wrong product for the application and he still would have the garment return issue. Except this time, the consumer would not be upset at the garment manufacturer but at YKK because our brand name would have been stamped on every one of those failed zippers.

Doing The Right Thing, Always is not always easy or comfortable. This is especially true when it may affect a friend, family member, co-worker or even your department’s performance. You may even feel you will lose by Doing the Right Thing, Always, as I did when I lost the sales opportunity. But it’s not about being comfortable; it’s about doing right. Like most things, the more you chose to do the right thing, the easier and more comfortable you will become with this best practice.

So what happened to the coverall manufacturer? I continued to call on him every month and never got a penny’s worth of business until about two years later, when I received a call asking if I could come see him and to bring those brass zipper samples with me.

Things do not always turn out in our favor, but remember Doing The Right Thing, Always is always the right thing.


John Smith
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.