Question: How Important is Integrity in Business?

Answer: It is One of the Most Important Issues Business Owners and Mangers Will Face.

For Example: Assume you are interviewing someone for a job. You pose this question: ‘Would you be willing to tell a ‘little white lie’ to help a customer?’ Warren Buffet (arguably one of the richest man in the world) answered the question by saying ‘no’. In so doing he placed integrity as more important than a ‘little white lie’. In other words, being honest and trustworthy always was more important even than satisfying the customer.

Integrity means being true to your values and always doing ‘the right thing’. Being dependable regardless of the circumstances is a part of the definition of integrity as well. The issue of integrity has become more important than ever recently with allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other forms of wrongdoing on and off the job. The head of Uber (ride hailing company with a multibillion dollar market value) Travis Kalanick lost his job over harassment issues while at the same time creating a very successful company. It does not matter how powerful and successful you are. You must have integrity as a cornerstone of your professional and personal life. What has been particularly noticeable recently has been how widespread these issues are in almost all forms of activity on and off the job. Government, religious organizations, education institutions, public companies, private companies and individuals have all been involved in one way or another.

It becomes then the foremost job of every person and every company to believe in and practice ‘Belief and behavioral integrity’ always. To accomplish this goal in an organization, the HR process must be utilized beginning with recruiting and selection, on boarding and training, as well as performance appraisal.  Managers should not assume that every employee believes in the value of integrity and therefore through ‘Ethical Codes of Behavior’, regular training sessions, and a very strict policy of enforcement must be utilized to create and maintain a culture of integrity.

Decision making on the job should start with the question: ‘What is the right thing to do in this situation?’. The answer to that question should guide the individual or the group to an ethical decision and reinforce the concept of ‘integrity in everything we do’. A quotation that can further amplify the importance of integrity is the following:  ”The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the lead is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy.

Effectiveness that is enduring is never based on short cuts and ‘taking the easy way out in the face of ethical or other dilemmas’.  If you want to ensure long-lasting success you must be ethical and honest in all your dealings. And if you are in a company that cuts corners or makes decisions that are based upon expedience and not ethics, it is better to leave and find the right place for your honest and ethical work.

SCORE mentors can help organizations develop a Code of Ethics based upon Honesty and Integrity. Call SCORE today at 301-766-2043


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