Most people don’t really understand what it means to have integrity. They think it just means being honest, or telling the truth, or doing what you said you will do. Actually, in the arena of performance, it means much more. My definition of integrity is “honoring yourself as your word.”
This means meaning what you say when you say it and after you say it. It means being responsible for what you say. Whether you realize it or not, people do listen to what you say and take what you say seriously. So they expect you to act consistent with what comes out of your mouth.
Unfortunately, most people don’t take what they say very seriously. They say whatever seems to be the right thing to say in the moment. They make promises without really looking to see if they can or really intend to keep the promise. And when they don’t keep their promise, no big deal. That’s why they’re not successful.
Why is this so important? Don’t kid yourself. You develop a reputation with everyone you come into contact with. And the people you interact with quickly figure out whether or not you can be counted on to keep your word and if you are responsible for what comes out of your mouth.
All things being equal, people do business with people they like. What you may not know is that all things NOT being equal, people still do business with people they like. PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE WHO HAVE INTEGRITY. So having integrity is just plain smart. And truly successful people have integrity.
What does this look like on the playing field of life? Be honest. Don’t try to cut corners. Give everything you do its due. Give everything you do your best. When you make a promise, keep it. When you say you are going to do something, do it.
Always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Don’t leave out any material details when you are in negotiations. Don’t manipulate the facts and don’t try to manipulate others. Be fair and play win/win. What makes this especially important is that . . .YOU LIKE YOU WHEN YOU HAVE INTEGRITY.
I have spent many years training sales people. When we encounter sales people who, for some reason, are struggling when they should really be soaring, it’s almost always because of an integrity issue. What might that look like?
They cheated someone and thought they got away with it. They lied to get a deal. They withheld crucial facts in a negotiation. They manipulated someone to get their way. They padded their expense account. They consistently show up late or miss appointments. The list is almost endless.
What we find when this occurs is that people stop themselves and don’t seem to know why. They can’t look at themselves in the mirror. They know they are not playing fair, and while they justify their behavior as being needed to get the sale, they know at a deep level it is wrong.
And this doesn’t just happen in sales. It happens in every arena of life. People cheat on their taxes, their office or home is filled with clutter, their checkbook is not balanced or up to date, they owe people money and are not paying it, they have borrowed things they haven’t returned, they have tons of clothes in their closet they haven’t worn for years, the list goes on and on.
If you really want to experience success, get your act cleaned up. If, in reading any of the above items, you found yourself saying: that’s me, get your integrity cleaned up. You can always go back and clean up what you’ve done. It may take some time, you may have to eat some crow, but in the end it will be worth it.