Integrity In My [your] Company – Absolute or “I Hope”
Survey 100 Top CEOs on whether they and their companies are operating with “Integrity” and publicly you will get a resounding “Yes or Absolutely”, privately, “I hope so”. But my experience is what they are really saying is something like:
- “I believe we are”
- “We better be”
- “I’m not aware of any violation of integrity”
- “I sadly know we are not”
- “We have an integrity problem”
Follow up Question
“Why do you believe that?”, “But how do you know for sure?”, “How do you track it, monitor it, detect it, test it, measure it?”. The sad, but very common follow up answer is “because we have a culture of integrity” or “because we have a Code of Conduct / policy”. I can’t tell you how many times, I have heard companies that are as young as 1 year old or 15 years old, say, “we have never had an investigation of employee misconduct”.
[Insert Humor] Last time I checked, most companies hire these interesting people called humans and suppliers/vendors that also, for some funny reason, also hire humans.
Who doesn’t put “integrity” in our policies, employee handbooks, on posters, on walls displaying our company values.
I suspect the reason we do this is:
- Hopefully encourage a person to act with absolute integrity today and not go down a slippery slope they may be heading towards, a good thing and it does work.
- Make the readers believe that integrity is not a problem here, a very, very naive belief.
- So we can believe that publishing will cause all integrity issues to go away so we don’t have to deal with them. A blinders / head in the sand mentality.
We all know the value of every human that impacts our company’s success when they operated in integrity, but we struggle on our response when they don’t. “Why?” is our most common reaction.
A mentor of mine once said, many times a integrity issue with the employee, is many times a reflection more of the supervisor than the violator….part true, part deflective.
There must be a level of integrity violations that, through company culture or social culture that we allow to be exceptions to what we publish and enforce. So is there maybe a difference between “integrity” and “absolute integrity” that we have learned to accept/allow?
Stealing a single pencil from the office supply cabinet that ends up for personal usage or making 3 copies for the Boy Scouts on the company copier – does that violate your company’s definition of integrity? Or does it take 25 pencils or 100 copies? Anyone have “limited personal use” in their policies, we didn’t have that a few years ago, why now, enforce to hard? “Work Life Balance”? Really.
Absolute Integrity – The real goal we seek is hard, some may call impossible, by the mere fact that we hire sinful humans (I are one). But should we water down this goal and still be allowed to shout “We are an organization of integrity!!!”
Man, some people even wrote a book on the topic: The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity (no endorsement, just interesting)
Discuss the difference at your next board meeting, ethics / compliance council, or lowly staff meeting.
Obvious note: I am far from any personal success of absolute integrity, but every morning, I wake up and before my feet hit the floor, I fight with everything I have to reach it each day. I fail often, I strive daily, will you and your organization do the same?
Please, return to (absolute) integrity before the competition does or you are called to the table of accountability or the court of public opinion. People are watching, especially your kids.
If you are local to the Dallas Fort Worth Area, I do a 30-45 minute challenge teaching on this topic if you would be interested for your next Men’s Church / Business Group, contact me @ http://mcconnellspeaks.com