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Integrity - Do You Have It?

Posted 10 years ago

What is it? Integrity is the alignment of personal and general moral philosophies with actual business and professional practices. It is unwavering steadfastness to the values of honesty and uprightness associated with business governance in operating with customers, employees, suppliers, and all stakeholders.

Why is it important? Moral boundaries set the stage for operational boundaries within a business environment. The integrity of an organization and its people speak to the overall character of the business and its leadership. Take time in formulating the appropriate business character. The integrity of a business is directly correlated to its operational policies and strict adherence to them. Customers can be easily offended and long-term buying relationships lost when warranties are not honored or proper customer service is not provided. Customer loyalty and retention ultimately affect the bottom line. Having integrity in dealing with customers, suppliers, partners, and employees can play a drastic role in appropriately forming a company’s reputation and word-of-mouth marketing effectiveness. With the viral nature of both good and bad publicity in today’s environment, having integrity is becoming more of a necessity than luxury. With repeat customer purchase frequency hanging in the tenuous balance of long-term success, integrity is fast becoming the ‘x-factor’ in a successful business model. Integrity also affects employee turnover and overall employee satisfaction. Moral dissonance is often the offspring of incongruities and conflicts between moral and business philosophies. People want to work for a company that emulates good practices.

How to get it if you don’t have it? Outline and set forth fundamental policies, which can shape a business and its people with integrity. You may want to articulate a clear mission statement, vision statement, and set of governing values with a strong adherence policy to ensure integrity within all aspects of operations. If you currently operate a business, make sure you integrate integrity into the corporate culture. Make it a mainstay and a standard within the business. Review different businesses, which you feel operate with high levels of integrity and instill the same types of governing values in yourself and future business models.

How to develop it if you have it? One way of developing this attribute is to make a conscious decision from this day forth regarding having and practicing integrity. Evaluate your relationships and interactions with others to see how you might improve on integrity within each of these separately and collectively. Evaluate each day and look for ways of improvement. Today’s actions indicate tomorrow’s results. Set boundaries and guidelines in your actions, which reflect your willingness to have integrity be a part of your life.