Are you operating with integrity?

This past week in one of our advisory boards, we were discussing the topic of “integrity”.  The question was posed, “Are you and your business operating with integrity?”  Now, I don’t know about you, however, I am guessing a high percentage of the folks reading today’s newsletter would answer this question as “yes”.  However, before we answer this too quickly, let’s think about it a bit further.

First, we must define what “integrity” means.  The Merriam Webster Dictionary de­fines “integrity” as:

  1. an adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
  2. an unimpaired condition: SOUNDNESS
  3. the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS

Now, let’s break that down a bit further:

  • Incorruptibility – de­fined as being incapable of corruption: not subject to decay or dissolution: incapable of being bribed or morally corrupted.
  • Soundness – free from injury or disease: free from flaw, defect, or decay, free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension.
  • Completeness – having all necessary parts, elements, or steps: brought to an end.

Well, I don’t know about you; however, when we start to look at “integrity” through this lens, these are some pretty high standards to uphold.  As a matter of fact, could anyone of us truly operate in integrity 100% of the time looking at these definitions?

So, that’s Webster.  Let’s open it up to the group to share their definition of integrity and how they see if playing out in the marketplace.  What are some practical situations you find yourself in on a daily basis?

Well, here are a few which we have discussed in our forum groups in the past.

Large Claim – A multi-million dollar company has a defective product out in the market.  To date, they have over $1.0M in claims.  Internally, while they know they are responsible for the product and their manufacturing process influenced the defect, they believe the larger influence is defective raw material from one of their suppliers.  Presently, because they view one of their primary values as protection of “shareholder value”, they are not highlighting to their customers that there is a potential of an additional $10M in defective product out in the market.  With the information presented, are they operating in integrity?

Overbooked – John is a sales representative and averages 6-8 prospective clients meetings per week.  Historically, John recognizes that he has 1-2 cancellations per week for various reasons.  In order to compensate for this, John often double books appointments and calls to reschedule one of the appointments closer to time if it looks like there is going to be a conflict.  Is John operating in integrity?

Staff Meetings – Your business has weekly meetings at 8A every Monday.  For whatever reason, some folks have a bit of a struggle getting started at the first of the week and you find that people typically stroll in between 8:00A and 8:05A.  Thus, you typically don’t ever plan to start the meeting prior to 8:05A.  Is your team operating in integrity?

After a hard day – You’re on a business trip and decide to have a drink at the bar at the end of a hard day.  Sitting next to you is an attractive gal/guy whom you strike up a conversation.  The conversation ends up having a few flirtatious innuendos passed back and forth which you see as no harm as you’re married and would never take it any further.  Are you operating in full integrity to your spouse?

Can you relate in some manner to any of these examples?  So, how did you answer them?  Chances are there might have been a bit of mixed bag depending on what you have defined as your “values”.  If you need help understanding what your “values” are, contact us and we’ll walk you through a very simple process to identify what you value most.

So, let’s assume, you’re in the camp of saying all three of these examples are “not” operating in integrity.  Let me ask you a question.  In your day to day interaction with people, what percentage of the time do you feel they are operating in integrity? Is it 90%, 75%, 50%, 33%, or 10-20%?  So, what is it?  Are you sure?

Well, I would tell you that generally, after 30-45 minutes of discussion around this topic in our forum groups, you would find that most come back and say that they’re much more likely to deal with people who don’t have true integrity than do.  In fact, most of the group tends to have a bit of a wake-up call with respect to their own integrity.

For some, today’s examples may have been a bit more black and white than others.  I am sure you found yourself reflecting on a few other examples that might have fallen into the “grey” area for you personally.  So, how do you find yourself sorting through these “grey” areas?  Are you trying to figure it out on your own?  Are you depending on your internal team to figure it out?  Or, do you have an independent, non-biased, 3rd party sounding board to help you work through these grey areas?

Last month, we offered that everyone needs a personal board of advisors, mentor, and/or coach.  Click here to read more.  With something such as integrity, most would agree they desire to have it, however, we all have blind spots which can’t been seen simply by looking in the mirror.  Additionally, most of those closest to us have difficulty exposing those blind spots as they fear hurting us and potential retribution.  Through our High Performance Coaching process and Truth@Work, we provide that value to hundreds of clients across the globe.  If you’d like to learn more about what this may look like for you specifically, please contact us to set up a time to further discuss.

Thanks for continuing to be a part of our community and have a FANTASTIC day!



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