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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Integrity is Integral

in·teg·ri·ty   /ɪnˈtɛgrɪti/ [in-teg-ri-tee] 


1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished
In previous weblogs, I have talked about honesty and ethics, but the word integrity really brings it all together.  A character trait that leaders must possess is one of integrity.  Disney teaches their employees (excuse me "characters" to be "on stage" in front of the public and to be "off stage" only when out of view.  For leaders, integrity is a 24 hour a day gig. Our consistency in decision-making sets the tone for our leadership style.  It determines whether others feel they can depend upon us or not.  This is one of the most important factors in retaining employees.  It is said that people do not leave organizations, they leave their managers (Buckingham & Coffman 1999).

If you are feeling the need to do some personal development of integrity.  Check these 10 Steps out:

1) Identify aspects of your behavior that require change. Reflect on your interactions with others in the workplace, at home and in social situations to determine specific areas in need of improvement. For example, if you are late for work every day and feel guilty about creating excuses for this behavior, this may be an opportunity to develop greater personal integrity.

2) Determine your reasons for not behaving with greater personal integrity. For example, you may be pushing unpleasant work tasks on to other employees instead of being honest with your boss about your inability to do the tasks. You may be afraid to admit to yourself or to your boss that you do not possess the right skills or that the job is not the right fit for you.

3) Face the obstacles that cause you to lie or violate your moral code. This might involve finding a more suitable job, facing your fears about how others may perceive you and/or seeking out counseling to address emotional challenges and insecurities.

4) Practice truthfulness. Consider all of the relationships at home and work that will benefit from greater truthfulness. For example, if managing a team of employees, be honest and direct with each individual about your expectations and employee performance. Avoid backbiting or gossiping.  Refrain from causing harm. Part of developing personal integrity is gauging when and how to deliver the truth. Be careful not to confuse truthfulness with anger-driven and brutally honest confrontation.

5)  Make a list of tasks and behaviors in which you will become more trustworthy. The list might range from basic tasks, such as taking out the trash as promised to repaying large sums of money in a timely manner.

6) Respect the property of others. Consider any complaints you may have received in the past about using another person's belongings, parking in someone else's parking spot or littering on another person's property. Make a concerted effort to respect other people's belongings.

7) Listen to and respect the opinions and decisions of others. Part of possessing personal integrity is acknowledging the human rights of others. Respecting diverse thoughts and decisions is a sign of open-mindedness and integrity.

8) Help others in need. If you are in a position to contribute to the development of others or help them to do something they cannot accomplish on their own, make an effort to assist.

9) Assess your progress. Developing personal integrity is a trial and error process that requires persistent effort. Ask yourself on a daily or weekly basis if you are making progress.

10) Enlist the help of others. Colleagues, relatives and friends who know you well and have your best interest at heart can assist your progress by providing objective feedback on a daily basis about the personal changes you are making.


Can organizations have integrity?  Do you remember ENRON?
Stakeholders lost billions of dollars when accountants and board members turned their backs on corporate misdoings.  Retirement funds were lost forever.  The lack of transparency in business dealings with power residing only in a privileged few led to the disastrous consequences.  Larger organizations have corporate integrity programs, most with hotlines to report suspected wrongdoing or compliance officers.  Federal whistleblower laws protect and in some cases incentivise those who expose curruption.

In what ways to Healthcare Organizations behave with integrity?

  1. Operate within compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
  2. Follow proper billing procedures.
  3. Follow generally accepted rules of accounting and use outside accounting services for auditing.
  4. Provide for appropriate separation of duties when handling money.
  5. Follow its own policies.
  6. Follow appropriate bid processes according to policy.
  7. Avoid even an appearance of special favors or partiality between the organization and vendors.
  8. Treat employees fairly and equitably.
  9. Use only qualified providers of services.
  10. Train employees in compliance.

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