Steps to Management Success – Step 49: Keep Your Integrity

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010

STEP FORTY-NINE

Keep Your Integrity

In an ideal world, making compromises or unclear moral choices would not be an issue. People would always do the right thing—and so would you. The world we live in is obviously quite different. There is more than a touch of gray, morally, to many business dealings, and there are more than a few people who fit the term ethically challenged. You may not be able to change them or the world, but you might have to work with them.

WHAT IT MEANS: Espousing perfect behavior 24/7 is not realistic, and it’s not what this rule is about. It’s more about keeping your actions aligned with your values, about bending here and there without breaking, and about having a clear and conscious sense of where to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Integrity is the foundation of character and the cornerstone of your reputation in business. Once it’s broken, it may be exceedingly difficult to fix. Most of all, it’s about honesty—being honest with yourself, honest enough to admit when something just doesn’t feel right, and honest enough to realize that cutting corners morally can rapidly become a very slippery slope.

ACTION PLAN: Ask yourself this question: what are your most important values in life? Your answer will reveal an enormous amount about you. What would you pay for, sacrifice for, suffer for, and fight for? What would you stand up for, or refuse to lie down for? What are the values that you hold most dear? Think these questions through carefully, and when you get a chance, write down your answers.

EVEN BETTER: If you have some reservations about doing something, sleep on it. Whatever qualms you might have about a certain morally dubious business activity could be your conscience sending you a red alert. In study after study, the quality of integrity, or a person’s adherence to values, ranks as the number one quality sought in every field. When it comes to determining whom they will do business with, customers rank the honesty of a salesperson as the most important single quality. And even if that weren’t true, maintaining your integrity will help you sleep better at night and be more comfortable with who you are during the day.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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