What is the most important aspect of a business? Some might say discipline or work ethic is most important. However, one thing can bring down a company permanently and ruin everyone within that company as well. What could be so deadly to an organization? Integrity or lack thereof. If you don’t have integrity, you are playing a version of Russian Roulette that you can’t win. If underhanded tactics are used to cut corners, you may grow your business, but the bigger you grow the more skeletons in the closet you will produce.
Having integrity in business doesn’t simply mean telling the truth or not cutting corners. It most importantly means that you treat people with respect inside and outside of the company. When we get into a pattern that work often creates, it can be very easy to treat people like numbers instead of valuing them as a person. People want to be liked and accepted for who they are. After all, it isn’t really enjoyable, nor sustainable, to put on a fake identity in order to please people.
Though often overlooked, consistency is another form of integrity. If you can’t provide consistent results, you can’t really consider yourself honest no matter how much you want to. If you truly believe that you have a great product or service but can’t be sure if you can’t provide continuous and consistent service, be straight forward about that or find something you can be consistent with.
Finally, you must be loyal. You can tell the truth, be consistent, and not cut corners, but if you jump ship at the first sign of trouble, you don’t have integrity. You might be thinking, “Doesn’t loyalty have to be earned?”. You are completely right. However, if someone has shown you loyalty and integrity, you have a duty to do the same.
Integrity isn’t easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be worth very much. Like everything of value, it takes hard work. However, having integrity will make sure you can always hold your head high, and your reputation will always be intact.