Integrity means aligning your actions to be consistent with your internal framework of principles. Integrity is a state of wholeness. This is a good thing. It makes for happy circumstances.
The power of Integrity is evident when you realize that everything you do and say is guided by this internal framework. When you recognize it as the yardstick that gauges and guides your life, then you gain the power, the will and the right to do and be just about anything you want. Success in business and in life becomes much easier. Well, up to a point.
Whether you’re going solo, serving as a leader, or you’re one of the crew, there’s no way to fake Integrity. You are either in a state of Integrity with your values, creating a positive condition. Or you’re out of Integrity, which creates a negative or mixed condition.
When you’re out of integrity, you’re literally in a state of duplicity. Your attention is divided and this dilutes your personal power. All kinds of distractions can occur. Forward motion becomes entangled in trying to keep the threads of deception straight.
We’ve all been there – from snitching a cookie as a child, to more complicated actions that go against the grain of what we know to be good and right. Even if you’re not trying to cover up your dis-integral actions, you’re probably riddled with remorse or any number of other negative emotions. These dilute your ability to give your full focus to more important things. In short, being out of Integrity is disempowering.
I think most people are good at their core – decent, loving, compassionate and kind. Most people would agree with me on that point.
Now here’s the catch: not everyone shares the same definition of “good.” Having integrity doesn’t necessarily imply conforming to public opinion. It also doesn’t imply sharing the same moral guidelines that others take for granted.
This fact can make for a shifting landscape, especially in business. If an organization’s internal culture is outside the boundaries of the law, then major conflicts erupt, making for sensational – even volcanic – headlines.
Is There A Mt. Integrity?
We’ve seen this over and over again with firms like Arthur Andersen and the notorious accounting scandal that led to the fall of Enron. This enormous scandal made headlines for months as it exploded on the international landscape back in 2001 and beyond. In fact, this type of corruption ran amok during the decade that led up to the worldwide economic disaster of 2008. If you are unfamiliar with this event and are interested, click here.
Climbing To the Top With Integrity
It’s been said that character is defined by what you do when you think no one is watching. Most of us have a public face and a private face. We tend to hide the aspects that would not be viewed favorably by society – greed, lust, jealousy, pettiness, fear and so on. No one needs to know if we can wolf down a gallon of ice cream in an hour, do they?
The best answer to such a question is that none of us actually need to indulge in those dark tendencies in the first place. We ought to have the courage to kick our darker side to the curb. We ought to have the integrity to act in accordance with our values. Ah, but such is the fodder of Sunday morning sermons and Monday morning quarterbacking. After all, we are human.
If you find yourself in a leadership position, there is a great deal that you can do to ensure that your team makes headlines for all the right reasons. Your organization probably has a list of values that define your mission. Take time out to evaluate where you and your team stand with those values.
Here are 5 questions you can ask that will help you maintain the integrity of your core mission:
- Do you and your team believe this list of stated values is accurate?
- If the list isn’t accurate, what can you do to update it?
- Are the members of your team acting in alignment with these values?
- What can you do as a leader to encourage integrity and consistency in your group?
- How can your team’s processes be improved to contribute to the organization’s integrity overall?
When you recognize integrity as the quality that empowers you, then success becomes much easier, both in business and in life. Wherever your actions take you, make sure you get there in one piece!
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He publishes the works of legendary authors including Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher, rainmaker and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.