Beyond a Buzzword:
BY TIFFANY NGUYEN | February 13, 2018
The word “integrity” has been the motto for leadership and training courses and at work alike. It simply means that you do what you say and you don’t promise what you cannot deliver. That is it. You create a commitment with your word and stand by it. As simple as it sounds, most struggle with it.
“An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honor their word.”
– Michael C. Jensen in Integrity: Without it Nothing Works
Integrity is defined as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility. While the standard definition and broad terms may seem too trite to be genuinely grasped, it is vital that companies boil down what it truly means to be acting “in integrity.” Integrity often inspires the discussion of similar values such as consistency, honesty, and wholeness. While these significant principles all contribute to remaining in integrity, what exactly does this mean for all workplace actions and conversations? In order to better understand what it means to you and why it is crucial, you must spot it in your day-to-day situation.
Personal integrity shows up in a leader whose actions align with their beliefs. Have you ever had a boss that expected something from you and did not hold themselves accountable to those same standards? A similar dynamic does not work in a team setting. In order to move projects along, one has to be able to count on his/her teammates. The larger the company, the more this holds true and necessary. When planning a project or the next dinner with friends, how much easier would it be if people simply showed up as expected? Sound familiar? Acting in integrity creates workability. It establishes trust, community, and sets the stage for your organization.
It is important to understand that people inevitably fall in and out of integrity. While these bold and lofty definitions sound amazing, it is difficult to maintain and uphold perfect integrity. Although sometimes an honest struggle, it should be an endless one. When one inevitably falls short, it is necessary to live by integrity and honesty that drives them to admit and correct themselves. That sets us up for conversations that would be easier to avoid, but must be practiced. The outcome – more often than not – is far less scary than imagined. Constantly and consistently striving for this truth is acting in your best integrity.
Integrity should begin internally and remain strong externally, in operations that concern clients and customers directly. A common issue that often arises is over-promising for the purpose of closing a deal. It can be tempting to write up contracts and sign off on a large agreement that generates profit, but it is pertinent that you always ask yourself: “Will your work remain in your integrity?” When committing to larger projects and longer hours, it is important that you maintain your high quality of work throughout. While it can be easy to land a client with your lofty agreements, you want to strengthen and grow this relationship with an integrity that builds trust. This should start at the beginning of each business relationship. By starting off with commitments you cannot keep, you prevent further growth and lose much potential for long-term success.
Integrity should be integral in every company, from the CEO to every employee effort and contract created. Learn how to practice integrity. The next time you are running behind, talk to your team, boss, or client. That takes courage and builds trust. Setting realistic expectations and being in communication are all part of the game. To truly live in high integrity, companies should strive to intentionally incorporate it into everyday practices that will engrain the value into the company culture.
GALLANT understands that integrity is a necessary tenant to a resilient company culture. Fortify your company with strong values for long-term success and request a consultation today.