First published in Thrive Global 8 November 2020
Integrity is essential and like a missing puzzle piece, the picture isn’t complete without it!
There are so many definitions of integrity floating around that it’s probably a good idea to start with what it is and what it isn’t. Integrity has nothing to do with morality; often we’ll confuse it with doing the right thing and being honest. Most of us would like to think of ourselves as having it, and even that statement hints toward a very human need to be well thought of even when our behaviours don’t align and lack congruence. While that does have value, congruence matters, that way of looking at it can be limiting and one dimensional; there’s so much more to it.
In a program I participated in years ago, the program leader told me that integrity was always ‘going out’. If something is always going out, then it continually needs to be put back in; think ‘maintenance’. I remember thinking to myself, if that’s true then why all the fuss and bother. If that logic held, there are a host of things we’d just stop doing, like making the bed every day. What’s the point? We’ll only have to make it again tomorrow!
Why is integrity important? Because among other things, it’s foundational! Would you ever build a house on sand? NO, and for obvious reasons, there would be critical underpinning problems and the structure would be likely to subside. You wouldn’t be able to trust it, and that problem would be apparent from the first heavy rain. There would be questions about the building’s performance, wouldn’t there? In short, you couldn’t trust the building because of the foundations not being built on solid ground. And, that’s a key point; a lack of integrity damages trust.
No integrity, No trust, it’s that simple!
Have you ever put together a picture puzzle? It’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon unless of course, there is a piece of the puzzle missing. Suddenly, it loses its appeal: No matter what the picture will remain incomplete. Imagine inserting some random piece into the puzzle. It simply wouldn’t do; no sane person would have a bar of it! No matter what you do, it won’t integrate. Which brings us to another critical point; integrity is as what you are up to matters: A lack of it renders the picture incomplete, and nothing but restoring the missing piece will do. Integrity is about being whole, complete and lacking nothing. The question to ask then is, “What’s missing, the presence of is not only a nice-to-have but a must-have?“
Every Friday, I attend a coaches call where we discuss various aspects of the Being Profile and recently, the topic was integrity. One of the coaches who rides a motorcycle decided to pull it apart and put it back together again. Once John had reassembled his bike, he found two additional screws that clearly were a part of the bike and were now sitting on his garage floor How much trust would you put in a motorcycle sans two screws? You get the point. So, no surprise, he pulled it apart a second time and found where the screws were supposed to go. The bike had now regained its integrity; nothing missing and his faith in its performance was once again restored. You could take the view, “It’s just two screws”. Whether the bike was whole or not matters; 2 missing screws can impact Everything.
It’s easy to see in a machine, and it applies just as much to us. It goes to workability and workability matters just as much in a machine or device as it does it for us. Here’s the kicker. When we have a high level of integrity, workability shows up around us. It’s part of the reason why our integrity matters; it sets a standard and a benchmark for those around us. Do you do the bare minimum to address being whole and complete? Will that do? Not if you want to operate at the highest levels of performance.
Lastly, there is a difference between having integrity and integrity as a way of being. As a way of being, when we are integrous we are whole, complete, sound, unbroken and lack nothing; we show-up differently. We engender trust, and we are known for our reliability. And of course, how we experience ourselves is there is no gap between whom we say we are and what we do.
Now we go full circle.
Remember that program I did where I learned, “Integrity is always going out”? No one is perfect, and this is why restoring our integrity makes a difference. We own it when we screw up and then we clean it up and make good on our mistakes. Then we move on. For some of us, moving on can be challenging, especially if we get stuck in good and bad or right and wrong. This conversation drags integrity back into the realm of morality.
If you want power and to operate at the highest levels of performance, as a matter of integrity, REFUSE to go there.
To measure how integrity affects your performance, go to https://andreia.solutions/courses/product/being-profile-and-feedback-session/ Or if you prefer to book a chat to discover how you can dramatically improve performance by focusing on Integrity.