Integrity. It is more than simple honesty. It’s the key to success. A person with integrity has the — often rare — ability to pull everything together, to make it all happen no matter how challenging the circumstances.
WHY INTEGRITY MATTERS
What is character? How does it affect performance? How important is it?
Most of the time, when we think of the word integrity, or character, we think of morals or ethics, not performance. We associate the topic with the catastrophes like Enron, Andersen, Worldcom, or the fall of individual superstars whose character has somehow gotten in the way. And certainly, there are those huge examples, from the top of business and government, all the way to the Church.
[bluebox] Who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains, talents, competencies, energy, effort, deal-making abilities, and opportunities will succeed.[/bluebox]
It is one’s makeup as a person, in ways much more than ethics alone, that takes people to success or enables them to sustain it if they ever achieve it. While character includes our usual understanding of ethics and integrity, it is much more than that as well. Another way of putting it is that ethical functioning is a part of character, but not all of it. And it certainly is not all of what affects whether someone is successful or becomes a good leader.
- Creates and maintains trust.
- Is able to see and face reality.
- Works in a way that brings results.
- Embraces negative realities and solves them.
- Causes growth and increase.
- Achieves trascendence and meaning in life.
Humans have a difficult time doing what we have never seen done. So, to grow in character and integrate these aspects of ourselves, we have to see it done first. We need good character models.
We also form good character as our experience is structured for us with good feedback. To grow, and to internalize new patterns, we need a ‘feedback loop’ that sees where we are at any given level, makes us aware of it, gives us feedback with a path to do better, monitors the new changes, and repeats the cycle. The way we are internalizing not only the new skill, but the awareness and self-correction that is a necessary aspect to our performance.