INTEGRITY: It’s What You Do When No One’s Looking

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I was thinking the other day about how I measure integrity. What does that mean to me? And is it different in my business life than my personal life. I know that most people will say they are the same. They believe that who you are carries into your business life- that there isn’t a clear demarcation between one or the other.

If that’s true, why is it that people can display such different sides to themselves? How can a person I’ve known professionally for years, treated me well and with respect, treat me differently when I one day work with them? I know all about power, risk, tough decisions, and ego which rears its head in a business setting. But I believe that our core values can contend with these situations without surrendering who we really are deep inside. So what do I make of those people who are not like this? It causes me to wonder who is thereal person and what their real measure of integrity is.

What about the person who promptly returns your calls and emails when you are ‘of interest’ to them? They need you or you are of significance to them for some reason. You hold the relationship to some business they want; they want a service from you; they hope that you can help them with a challenge which they are facing. They make time to see you. Your emails are replied to quickly. They try to accommodate your schedule for meetings. Then, their need dissipates.

You have a reason to connect with them awhile later; maybe you just want to stay in touch. You email- no reply. You leave a message- no returned phone call. Suddenly, you feel as if you don’t exist. Your worth to them is zero and they are making that evident to you.

Integrity is about honour and consistency. It’s about what you do when no one is looking. It’s about treating all people with respect and civility; about having manners. Integrity is not noticing one’s status or what somebody can do for you. It’s about treating others as you would want to be treated. Old-fashioned, basic stuff. It’s not that hard.

So, what do you think ?