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Valuing Integrity

“The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led — is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”

Brian Tracy

Valuing Integrity

Last night’s news was a story about a moving company that lost a truckload of family belongings.  And to make matters worse, they refused to take responsibility or act urgently to fix the problem.  And so, the news program had an “investigative” reporter shame them into action.

Unfortunately, unbelievable stories such as this seem to be the norm.

Does our business community no longer value integrity?

What is Integrity

On a personal level, people of integrity have a stronger moral compass.

They keep their word, take full responsibility for their actions, and hold fast to their moral codes, even if it sometimes means winding up in uncomfortable situations or having to make tough decisions.

In a business context, the Business Dictionary provides the following definitions for integrity:

  1. Strict adherence to a moral code, reflected in transparent honesty and complete harmony in what one thinks, says, and does
  2. State of a system where it is performing its intended functions without being degraded or impaired by changes or disruptions in its internal or external environments

As a business owner, personal integrity corresponds to the way you do business.

Regardless of whether you’re a freelancer or have a handful of employees on board, the moral code you follow outside of work is the same set of principles you apply (or should apply) to professional relationships.

Five Dimensions of Integrity

Integrity in business has many faces, and it is an excellent practice to be able to recognize them when they come your way.

  1. Trust

Whether you store sensitive client data, handle confidential contract information or promise to deliver quality service, you enter into a mutual relationship of trust with your business partners.

  1. Consistency

Integrity in business is not something you can change on a whim. You don’t juggle your morals depending on the situation or decide to put them aside when it’s convenient. There will be times it’s easy and natural to behave with integrity, and times it’s more difficult.

  1. Ownership

The ability to admit a mistake and face the consequences head-on is pure gold in business. It takes guts to say, “I messed up,” make up for the wrongdoing and move ahead without complaining.

  1. Collectivity

As your business grows, your integrity in business will become part of a much bigger structure. The moment you bring in new talent to the company or partner up with other independent contractors, you assume moral responsibility for the people you choose to work with.

  1. Evolution

Workplace culture and its standards are constantly changing. Therefore, saying and doing things that were acceptable 20 years ago may not cut it today.

The Bible

The Bible has much to say about integrity, honesty, and living a blameless life. It also speaks of sincerity, loyalty, obedience, character, and maintaining consistency under pressure.

In fact, without the Bible, the concept of integrity is meaningless as there would be no yardstick against which we as a culture can measure our integrity.

What the Bible does, more specifically, is teach how to value integrity.

The idea of value is to place a high price on something.  In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus tells the story of the Pearl of Great Value.  In context, Jesus is telling of the value of the Kingdom of Heaven, whose value is so great that those who find it will sell everything they have just to get it.

Integrity is like that. 

The value of having integrity and being known as trusted should be so great that we, as business people and entrepreneurs, will do everything we can to possess it.

Because just like the Kingdom of Heaven, without integrity, we have nothing.