I have written many articles and short blogs on the topic of integrity over the years. Integrity almost always shows up on the list of corporate and organizational values; and yet, what I have learned over the past few years in working with executives, boards, and leadership teams around the country, is that the definition is not always the same. Furthermore, the behaviors associated with the definition are also not the same.
My favorite definition, which I have quoted before in my Between the Lines blog series, is this:
“Integrity is standing behind your convictions regardless of the consequences.”
This definition was given to me many years ago over a drink, dinner, and
rich conversation with a friend of mine’s father. Being a successful, humble, west Texas man, it truly was as simple as that. There was no reference to ‘honesty’ or ‘doing what was right.’ That was implied and expected within his reference to his convictions.
He would never be convicted to a position unless it was anchored in those core values.
I continue to learn from this wise interpretation of integrity. This past week, I was challenged with an approach I was using for a proposal which was 100% in service to the client. I was challenged by another party relative to pricing and approach. I stood by my convictions, as I believed (and still do) that it was the best solution, an honest price, and a fair approach for the client. I may or may not ‘win’ this proposal; yet I will continue to stand by my convictions regardless of the consequences. Nope, it is not always easy, and I am appalled I had to explain and defend my position. Nevertheless, I slept well this weekend, regardless of the outcome.
What a journey …