Everyone that has followed me, either through my blogs, Podcasts, or, even YouTube, have heard me talk about ‘walking your talk.’ People have asked me if that only applies while being involved in their business world. Of course not! ‘Walking your talk’ is your ‘integrity’ and is what you are.
What is integrity? The dictionary defines it as ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.’ Synonyms include; virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, and morality.’
C.S. Lewis stated: “Integrity is doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching.” Again, what you are.
Why bring this up? Simply because I have noticed the proliferation of people not ‘walking their talk’ not only in their business but outside of it. If someone is showing a complete lack of integrity outside their business, then what does that say about them inside their business and them as a person?
A couple of weeks ago during a session of The Action Suite, we discussed the 11 different characteristics that make up a ‘true’ professional. The number one characteristic was; integrity.
How far does it stretch? It doesn’t; you either have it or you don’t. For example, if you promise to provide some sort of a task, or financial consideration, to someone and then renege on it, your integrity took a hit. This is doubly worse if it’s a friend. Your friend would have preferred if you just came out and told them that you had no intention of doing it. Not only did your integrity take a hit, but now the strength of the friendship is put into question and it makes it awkward to bring it out into the open because after all, you are friends, supposedly. Also, your sincerity, truthfulness, and decency will be brought into question as that friend.
It is possible to build your integrity backup, but it will never be at the same level it was originally. Every time one does something that affects their integrity, then all those synonyms are also affected.
Next, comes keeping your word. If you say that you are going to be somewhere and groups are expecting you, it is your obligation to let them know well in advance that something has come up and you will not be able to make it and apologize for any inconvenience.
It is NEVER acceptable to just not show up. Not only is your integrity being brought into question, but it is also just plain rude. This goes even for volunteer groups that one may be involved with. Especially if you are a member of the executive group of the organization. Consider the people you have just inconvenienced. The organization is now looked in a lesser light, the chair of the meeting did an agenda giving you time to speak and now you have inconvenienced them in that the agenda is no longer correct, the group present that was there to meet you for the first time and to hear you. You see, it is not just about you. There are always others that you hurt by not ‘walking your talk.’
Integrity is one of the hardest things to establish and it should be. The reason being is that it also goes into trust, respect, and attitude. Anytime that you feel you are more important, more intelligent and better than anyone else, I would suggest you have lost your integrity. Once you reach that side of the equation that it is all about you and your bank account instead of the people that you serve, I suggest you take a long hard look at your integrity. Remember, once lost, you can never regain it back fully.
Integrity is measured by what you do, not what you say you’ll do.