A Review: Acting with Integrity (Fundamental 1)

“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”                                         Warren Buffet

If you have been reading our material, you know we have written a lot about “personal reality is a product of an individual’s particular worldview, and not a function of what is actually real”

 Consider our series on the Economics of Decency:

Although Integrity has a historical depth of literature in the public domain, we consider decency always trumps adversity, and so we simply responded that we would rewrite the objectionable piece.

If reality is a function of perception, I thought I would research what others would say about “Act with Integrity.”

Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) has “Act with Integrity” as a Core Value, similar to Momentum Consulting’s Fundamental #1.  They talk about the importance of one’s reputation and address building confidence in theirs with earning trust, acting with integrity and giving value in what they do.  Here’s what they said about it:

“Act with integrity: In everything we do, we expect and deliver the highest quality—we speak up for what is right, even when it’s the harder option.”

“Code of Conduct: Our reputation is defined by trust, integrity and achieving high-quality, sustainable value. Our continued success means upholding professional standards, adhering to applicable laws and regulations and fulfilling ethical obligations while delivering high-quality, innovative work.”

SmartBank, recently added to Fortune’s 100 list of fastest growing companies, likewise have “Act with Integrity” as a Core Value.  One of the ways they talk about it is in building their culture.

Building a great culture is not something that happens overnight.  It’s something that takes hard work and becomes ingrained in your character overtime.  It’s what you do day in and day out without even thinking about it.” -Billy Carroll, SmartBank President and CEO

Out of the numerous representations of “Act with Integrity”, I found I especially like the two above. I thought they nicely reflected our thinking on the matter.

In our work with building performance into cultures, we know values are representative of an organizations dedication to how they are seen. However, it is people’s specific actions and behaviors that make a culture real.

 Your Dictionary.com lists the following actions and behaviors: 

How to Have Everyday Integrity

  • Keep your promises even if it takes extra effort.
  • Go back to a store and pay for something you forgot to pay for.
  • Never betray a friend’s trust even if you get in trouble.
  • Inform the cashier he gave you too much change back.
  • Do not gossip or talking badly about someone.
  • Remain true to your spouse or partner.
  • When in a serious relationship, don’t keep secrets from each other.
  • Return money that you noticed someone dropped without expecting a reward.
  • Ignore someone’s advice on how to cheat on your taxes and not get caught.
  • Do not let someone else take the blame for something you did.
  • If someone gives you confidential information, never tell anyone what you know.
  • When it is obvious to you a relationship is over, don’t drag it out but discuss it openly.

Integrity in the Workplace

  • Work when you are supposed to and save socializing, snacking, searching the Internet and personal phone calls for break time.
  • Turn in the extra change you found in the soda or snack vending machine.
  • Show respect to coworkers with appropriate conversation and empathy.
  • If you are in management, keep your employees informed so they will know what is coming and what needs to be done.
  • Adhere to company policies and procedures.
  • Be responsible. Do what you say you will do.
  • Use materials for work and not personal use.
  • If you make a mistake and a team’s project gets messed up or you miss a deadline, own up to your mistake. Don’t let teammates take the fall.
  • Work together as a team. This builds trust and shows integrity.
  • Never steal supplies from the workplace.
  • If you find yourself in a conflict of interest, get out of it as soon as possible.
  • Don’t accept praise of acclaim for someone else’s work. That includes stealing someone’s idea or pretending to have worked on a successful project.
  • When making a business deal, make sure everything is on the table and nothing was left out.
  • If your company asks you to do something against your personal code of conduct, refuse. If it means losing a good paying job, so be it. Find a more ethical company to work for.

I can’t help but think of the current political strife going on and the battle for the character of our country it represents.  If you know an elected official, feel free to pass the above lists on.

Meanwhile, go to work on the lists, it’s in alignment with decency. And there is great evidence for a positive economic benefit to decency.


Fundamental of the Week #1: ACT WITH INTEGRITY . Demonstrate doing the right thing in all your actions and all your  decisions, especially when no one is looking.  Always tell the truth. Acknowledge and own your mistakes, clean them up and make appropriate corrections. 

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