Integrity: The Sustaining Power of Great Organisations

For an organisation to thrive in the competitive world of business, we all know it needs to have a competitive edge over its competition. Having a competitive edge is created by having organisational values to live by.

Organisational values, according to the Business Dictionary, are the operating philosophies or principles that guide an organisation’s internal conduct, as well as its relationship with its customers, partners, and shareholders.

And one of the most important values your organisation should have and live by is INTEGRITY. It is this value that makes it possible for your organisation to last in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous marketplace of today and the future.

Integrity is often described as doing the right thing, even when no one is watching – in all times and in every circumstance. It is driven by courage, trust, honour and honesty. To act with integrity is to ensure that every decision made is based on thoroughly ethical and moral principles. In the workplace, employees that act with integrity are trustworthy – they will always strive to tell the truth, they are accountable and reliable and they treat coworkers, stakeholders and customers with respect.

However, building a culture of integrity for your organisation is easier said than done.

A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, found that 60 percent of people err from the truth at least once in the course of a ten-minute conversation, with many of them telling two or three untruths in that time period to get the response they want. 

In this world where “the end justifies the means” has become an acceptable school of thought for many people, an organisation and its employees, if not grounded with the value of integrity, may compromise for instantaneous results and profit.

Dishonesty may provide them with instant gratification in the moment, however, in the long run their actions will destroy the organisation’s reputation which can last for long period of time. A recent article from Forbes magazine says this best: “Profit in dollars or power is temporary, but profit in a network of people who trust you as a person of integrity is forever.”

Benefits of Integrity in the Workplace:

Numerous studies have proven that having a culture of integrity brings about many benefits to both individuals and organisations.

People that have high integrity easily build trust into their relationships. They become valued as friends, colleagues, mentors, and supervisors. They are respected and trusted to do what is right. They are able to balance respect and responsibility, and they are able to share their values with others.

Organisations that value and practice integrity have been found to have better working environments, have higher morale, have more engaged and productive employees thus, performing better than their competitors in their industry sector.

So how do you develop the value of integrity?

Here are some practical tips to help you develop a culture of integrity in your organisation:

1. Cleary define what integrity is in your organisation. Let your team team know what you expect from them in terms of honesty and transparency. Be very specific.

2. Create an atmosphere of openness and transparency in your organisation.

3. Lead by example. Be a person of integrity yourself.

4. Cultivate emotional intelligence. According to the book Research on Emotion in Organisations, emotionally intelligent individuals have been proven to have a higher work ethic and integrity than those who are not emotionally intelligent. Furthermore, employees with high emotional intelligence may be more adept at interpreting the ethicality of others’ actions, which has positive implications for ethical decision-making.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was unequivocal when he stated:

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

Organisations with a culture of integrity become the leaders in their industries; they are most likely to outperform others and turn in solid long-term financial performance. They are the best organisations to work for, to work with, and to own.

Do you want your organisation to develop a culture of integrity and become a leader in your industry?

At People Builders we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you and your team develop Integrity. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.

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