Harvard Business School’s Professor Michael Jensen brings us a new meaning for the very charged word, “integrity” and believes that no one, including himself, behaves with integrity as he defines it in this article. His research further proves driving to increase this new kind of integrity can be transformational in our personal and professional lives. It can make us as executives and, more importantly, our organizations three to five times as efficient.
Powerful ideas are the simple ones. First of all, the kind of integrity defined here has nothing to do with morality or ethics, with following laws or social norms as defined by our societies and religions. It is not good versus bad, right and wrong, evil and grace.
Integrity is a matter of a person always keeping his word and it is as simple as that. Individuals become themselves when they always keep their word and honor their word when they get into a situation where they can no longer keep their word.
Keeping Your Word comes in two parts. Keeping your word is doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. We commit ourselves when we tell someone or a group of individuals what we are committed to getting done by a certain point in time. We all know individuals in our lives and in our organizations who are the trusted “go to” people who everyone relies on to get things done. They become “go to” as they behave with integrity. Ask yourselves, as executives, does your team, your company and your community see you as an individual they can trust because you are always true to your word?
Keeping Your Word – Part Two is even more difficult because it requires a greater degree of self-awareness. People often reasonably come to expect us to do things at different times. Our definition of integrity includes doing what people expect us to do when they expect us to do it. Even if we don’t explicitly make a promise to deliver something, we are accountable for the expectations of those around us and their belief that we are going to do something by a certain time.
Organizational Integrity occurs when a group of individuals are acting with integrity. Can you imagine your company, your community or your team all acting with integrity? Everyone could be trusted to be on time with all of their assignments? Talk about being efficient as an organization! Think of something as simple as showing up for meetings on time that also ended on time. One can only dream!
Honoring Your Word is what we do when we find out we cannot do what we promised on time. Honoring our word is informing all involved as soon as we know that a deliverable will not occur on time. How often have we neglected to inform everyone immediately of a needed change in time or what will be done? The faster people can react the more efficient they will be and the less damage caused by our inability to perform with integrity.
Improving your personal and organizational integrity is “a mountain without a top.” At the beginning I stated we all lack integrity. If integrity is always doing what we say when we say we are going to do something, then clearly most of us lack integrity. The key for us is to get better to increase the number of times when we act with integrity. We should always strive to increase our personal integrity and that of our organizations but the “mountain without a top” means we will probably never reach perfection but should always strive to improve.
The focus is on our children. Clearly, individual and organizational integrity is learned. As community leaders we should think of ways to help our children learn integrity now and build a better, more prosperous futures for themselves and their communities.
John Casey is founder of John Casey & Associates, a Dallas specialty search firm matching candidates with clients’ cultures and providing human resource consultants and coaches. John was CEO and CFO for 19 years and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jun 06, 2015 Comments Off on Super Managers & Super Salaries
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