Translation of the original article published June 24, 2017 on El Comercio (Perú)
Given all the noise about ethics in our country, here I’m sharing some ideas about integrity. Some of them might seem self-evident to you – if you’re an person of integrity – but hopefully they’ll offer something to those who are still unconvinced or new to the concept.
- Integrity is the basis of image and good reputation. Image Is not something that can be created artificially: it responds to the reality of our daily behavior, which also is ever more visible to everyone. A good reputation is key to one’s life, personal brand, and career: it opens all types of doors and by itself can take us halfway to winning the trust of others.
- Integrity generates trust. Having integrity means being correct and decent, and doing so in all the environments we move through. It means always being yourself, with no duplicity or contradictions, and always practicing what we preach. Integrity – with values that don’t change for convenience or to suit the moment – is key to earning the trust of others and being able to influence them, if appropriate. And trust is the basis for all human interaction. No relationship exists, or can ever exist, without trust.
- Integrity is the sister of transparency. Life is easier when it is lived with just one set of values and we don’t have to remember what we said when and to whom. It’s a useless waste of effort to live different lives, put on masks, conceal truths, be duplicitous, lie, or make up stories or excuses. All of that wears you down, steals your energy, and in the end everything comes to light anyway. There’s nothing like living in peace and sleeping with a clear conscience – for those who have a conscience, of course…
- Integrity requires humility. A potential “risk” to integrity is ego, which might come from feeling somehow “morally superior.” We must be attentive to avoiding arrogance, intolerance, narrowmindedness, or inflexibility so that we can accept other perspectives, lifestyles, or ways of thinking. And that’s a challenge.
- Integrity generates good contacts. People identify with their peers and know how to recognize them in a group. Just as a thief believes that everyone is a thief like him, people with integrity empathize and enjoy working together, doing business and creating networks of those who think, recommend, hire, promote. Then, if you have an appropriate – and powerful – group of reference, integrity is an irreplaceable competitive advantage.
Integrity generates respect and admiration. We all want to be respected and admired by our children, and hopefully also our subordinates, partners, superiors, customers, and peers. And there’s nothing like integrity to inspire that respect and admiration. Having integrity is not easy. Living according to our values in every action and every decision requires character and discipline, and does not always generate an immediate or short-term “win.” It’s easier to cut corners, look for loopholes, or bend the rules, but serious people – the ones who matter – recognize the intrinsic value of those with integrity who are true to their values – which at the end of the day has a very positive impact on one’s quality of life and level of happiness. So yes, integrity is still “in fashion” and always will be.