The word "integrity" is the most overused and misunderstood word in business. Many claim to have the upmost highest level of integrity when it comes to serving their customers, respecting their service partners and treatment of their employees but very few really know what the word means. By definition, integrity means "a steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code" so the question that comes to mind is whose moral or ethical code? Yours? Your parents? Society? Your religion? Your friends? The list could go on and on.
Having integrity is doing what you believe to be true and moral based upon the ethical code you have chosen to adopt in your life. All of the experiences you have had and all of the influences you have met, how you were raised and the religion you follow are all part of the composition of your ethical code. Integrity is the developed by making the right choices that support your ethical code consistently and without waiver. Integrity is something you have even when others are not looking.
Many successful people are successful because they have integrity. It is through integrity that you develop trusting relationships. And it is because of trusting relationships that good business is formed. Integrity is one of the easiest qualities to detect, or to detect the lack of in people you meet. Once you become familiar with a person's actions and the choices they make, you will begin to anticipate their integrity level. When you act with integrity on a consistent basis, your actions become more predictable and your behaviors can be anticipated by others.
Integrity is one of the most sought after qualities by customers, business partners and employers so what can you do to ensure your actions are communicating a high level of integrity?
- Know Your Beliefs
Understand what makes you tick. What beliefs do you hold as true and as right? Before you can act with integrity, you must first understand your limits and your beliefs and the actions that you would take when those beliefs are challenged.
- Be Consistent to Your Beliefs
Integrity is about consistency and holding true to you not matter what the risk. It is about creating predictable behavior that not only you but others will begin to rely upon and depend. Don't waiver in your actions and hold true to your beliefs each and every time.
- Don't Lie or Exaggerate
Integrity is about creating trust and lying is always associated with lack of integrity, even if you feel the lie is justified. When you are honest and true, your integrity will shine and draw others to you.
- Stay True to Your Values
Sometimes we are easily influenced by others and our beliefs are challenged. We often find ourselves on the edge with a choice to go right or go left. To have integrity means to stay true to your values and your beliefs.
In order to succeed, you must not only have drive and ambition, but you must also act with integrity at all times. In the words of President Eisenhower "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army on in an office".