We build trust by making and keeping commitments
What company would not agree that integrity belongs on its list of corporate values? Some even go so far as to suggest that integrity is such an obvious, fundamental building block of any successful business that it does not make sense to even mention it in a values list or mission statement. It is akin to saying, “We do not believe in stealing.”
And yet, there is something that feels right about saying it, about putting it on the wall, about reiterating it time and again. In truth, businesses can’t have integrity, only people can. Businesses are collections of people who come together and agree that certain principles are important to success, and then they look each other in the eye and hold each other accountable. So, our list of values is influential both as a covenant between Sunquest employees and an inspirational and aspirational message to the world outside our walls.
Our corporate statement of integrity is actually quite specific: “We build trust by making and keeping commitments.” It is interesting to note that the act and art of making a commitment is as crucial as the keeping part. People of integrity take promise-making seriously. It has been said that leaders “…give promises carefully, even reluctantly, but once they have given that promise, they follow through on that promise without fail.” People of integrity are candid and don’t make commitments just to placate someone or to come across as a team player. They would be dishonest with themselves if they did not truly and fully believe what they were committing to. Integrity means you are willing to face the truth and want to see the world as it really is. It means being confident, but also willing to admit when you are wrong and changing quickly.
Research has shown that cheating is infectious…when someone sees another cheat, it often has the effect of empowering others to cheat as well. Fortunately, integrity is infectious as well…it takes just one person to make a big difference.
Did you know that simple reminders are the most powerful influencers of integrity? Set aside time to have meaningful discussions with your team, your friends and your family. Signs of integrity include following through on assignments, making careful notes regarding action items and commitments, being punctual, keeping confidences, telling the truth and avoiding exaggeration.
I want to leave you with the words of Samuel Smiles, a nineteenth century Scottish author. Samuel believed that new attitudes were more effective than new laws. Here are his observations on integrity, which ring just as true today as they did more than 100 years ago when they were penned:
“Though a man have comparatively little culture, slender abilities, and but small wealth, yet, if his character be of sterling worth, he will always command and influence, whether it be in the workshop, the countinghouse, the mart, or the senate… You may admire men of intellect; but something more is necessary before you will trust them. [Integrity] exercises greater power than wealth, and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude, and consistency — qualities which, perhaps more than any other, command the general confidence and respect of mankind” (Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them, p. 601).