Integrity Has Nothing to do with Good vs. Bad
In his article, Integrity – Without It Nothing Works, Michael C. Jensen makes the distinction that Integrity has nothing to do with good vs. bad; Integrity is a purely positive proposition. “Think for a moment about the Law of Gravity: there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ gravity; like integrity, it just ‘is’. Morality and ethics, on the other hand, are normative concepts… They deal with matters of good or bad, right vs. wrong.” He also adds, “Integrity is a matter of a person’s word – nothing more and nothing less.”
We Do What We Say!
“We Do What We Say” is another one of the core values at Traction Point. In a culture of performance and accountability, we are true to our word!
What does it look like when people are true to their word?
Look at Amazon.com. They have made a process out of giving their word and keeping it. We love the way we can order something on our prime account and have amazon tell us – with pretty high accuracy – when it will arrive on our doorstep.
An Example of when I Kept My Word
Last week I was in a meeting and got talking for a few minutes about an article I had recently read and enjoyed. I found myself saying “I will send you a link to the article.” At that moment I realized I had just given my word. So I jotted four words in my journal / planner “Send Dave Article link”. This note along with my daily review and planning process, ensured I would be able to find my word when It was time to keep it. I did send Dave the link and I got a gracious note in return thanking me. If I had just thought to myself “I’ve got to remember to send that link to Dave” the chances of not being able to find my word when it came time to keep it would have gone way up.
People notice when we keep our word. And as much as we might wish people would not notice when we don’t keep our word, the fact is people notice that too. Perhaps not consciously, but even if our failure to keep our word registers with someone on a subconscious level, the occurrence of the out-of-integrity act erodes feelings of trust.
An Example of when I Did Not Keep My Word.
Some time ago, I read the book Essentialism – the disciplined pursuit of less – by Greg McKeown. In the mindset that book produced in me of eliminating things I did not need from my life, I thought to myself, “You know that pair of cool boots you used to wear when you rode your café racer motorcycle? Well, you sold the bike and you haven’t worn the boots for months. You should sell or give away those boots.”
I didn’t do it. The boots are still in my closet and I still haven’t found a reason to wear them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suffered, just a little bit, because I realize over and over again that I didn’t keep my word to myself.
What’s the Big Deal?
Fair question. After all, the world will not end because I have some spare motorcycle boots in my closet, right? Well, here’s the thing … By not keeping my word to myself, I have taught myself, even if it’s just in a small way, that it’s OK to not keep my word. And if that’s OK, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t keep my word to “Cathy” or “Dave” just this once. “Heck, they’re both so busy they probably won’t remember I gave my word in the first place.” Right?
We Train Ourselves in Good and Bad Habits
Just like we can train ourselves in good habits, we can train ourselves in bad habits … and getting in the habit of not keeping our word to ourselves will eventually escalate to not keeping our word to others. And when we don’t, we’ll feel OK about it, because we’ve convinced ourselves to feel OK about not keeping our word to ourself. Before we know it our reputation is compromised because people notice when we don’t always keep our word to them. Ouch!
What if I Can’t Keep My Word?
Doing what I say and being true to my word is an important core value in my business as it is in any business! Here’s an important distinction … All of us will encounter times in our life when we cannot keep our word. None of us can’t predict life perfectly. Even if I told you, for example, “I will have a deliverable done by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.”, there’s a chance an unforeseen wrinkle will make it impossible to deliver as promised. What’s to be done? The answer is, when you can’t keep your word, you can at least honor it.
Honoring your Word
What honoring your word looks like is taking immediate action to “clean up” the mess I made by not delivering as promised. “Hey Cathy, I promised to get that deliverable to you by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, but this thing that was out of my control came up. Would it be OK if I got the deliverable to you by 10 a.m. on Wednesday?
I highly recommend that you read, or reread, the paper by Michael C. Jensen entitled – INTEGRITY – Without it Nothing Works. Go here to download this paper or open it in your browser. The paper will bring you such distinction and clarity in the realm of integrity! You will find yourself keeping an honoring your word in a better way. Better than you were capable of before reading and understanding all the ways to do it.
In the end …
Michael C. Jensen. says “Integrity is a matter of a person’s word – nothing more and nothing less.
Will you read the article by Michael C. Jensen this week and get even better at living in integrity? You know you want to! So if you can’t spare the time to do it right now, at least take a moment to download the article. Then make a note or create an appointment with yourself to keep your word at a certain date and time in the future.
Let’s all keep our word and honor our word. By so doing, we can live in the powerful, high performance state of being whole and in integrity!
Coach, Facilitator, Speaker
Professional EOS Implementer