“Just being honest is not enough. The essential ingredient is executive integrity.” – Philip Crosby I found this quote to be of significant interest because Crosby is a quality expert who believes that a quality focus improves overall performance and efficiency…not to mention engagement value – Get it right the first time…. Check out: http://www.philipcrosby.com/pca/index.html and other sources about his writing and thinking.
But here is the thing – I get the quality focus and the “get it right” philosophy process – like Six Sigma – no? What does Integrity have to do with it? Ethical behavior as a way to create quality control? Efficiency? Anyone pay attention to the news lately….
And then it struck me…that is the point – read the news and look at the mess much of the corporate world has gotten us into. It seems honesty might be a debatable virtue and even a line of defense. The sad and dirty truth is that many of the rules (or lack of them) allowed bad behavior and manipulation – ergo, there was “honest” behavior – or an approximation of honesty if you allow that all you did was push some rules to the limit in some cases, and in others as there were no rules, how were you to know?
And there you have it – honesty is just not enough. So what then is integrity? How do you define it so that it makes clear what mere honesty seems to leave in the world of fuzzy thinking.
And here is where today’s quote hopefully brings some clarity:
“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
Do you see it?
Real Integrity has nothing to do with the rules – written or unwritten. It has nothing to do with who’s watching or not or how many regulatory bodies have you in their sights or how many promises you have made or papers you have signed.
It has everything to do with what you know is right or wrong – and with how you deal with that knowledge in the quiet and solitude of your own soul when your only audience or monitor is yourself.
I can point to just about every great relationship I know – business or personal – and bet that if it’s successful there is a high level of integrity involved. And I’m ready to bet the higher the integrity, the closer the relationship and the greater the level of trust. And the greater the level of trust, the more you can get done…see where this all goes.
Integrity – a mantra for a world where honesty has taken a clear beating and has lost so much value – a way to develop trust and credibility – a filter for our own behavior that is truly one’s own to be applied in the darkest dark of night when no one else is watching….
What do you think?