Last week, I was invited by one of my clients to go to the Better Business Bureau’s Business Integrity Awards. This company won the 2010 Business Integrity Award for our local area and I was honoured to have the invitation extended to me for this prestigious event. The owner’s son was chosen to be on a panel of three companies that had previously won the coveted award and speak about how that honour had affected them. I was given the opportunity to sit back and listen to the various speakers expound upon what integrity meant to them and their businesses.
As I listened to the various speeches, it gave me pause to be privy to this look at the inside workings of the ethics that exist in the business world. So often we think of businesses as only looking out for the bottom line and how to make that line bigger at all costs. Here I was though, listening to companies be praised by their peers for carrying themselves with the highest of integrity. Nominations came from customers, employees, and peers within the community that these companies worked in. The standard by which they were judged came from how they interacted with said customers and peers, but also in their dealings with suppliers, manufacturers and the community in which these companies existed. These companies care about how they treat people. They care about their reputation. They respect and honour the very word integrity and what it means to them and the world at large. It got me to thinking.
I like to think that I carry myself with Integrity.
I try to never lie. You have to remember those lies and often make up new ones to cover for the original ones in the first place. Who has the energy and imagination for that? I would personally rather use my imagination for other creative writing projects instead. Lying will often come back and bite you, and I really don’t want any part of that. Besides, I am absolutely no good at it and can be ferreted out with little more than a hard look. I don’t know how I manage to survive at the card table. Just saying.
I attempt to think about other people’s thoughts and feelings in my words and actions. We do not live in a bubble. I realize that every step I take affects someone somewhere. If I keep in mind how my actions affect others and make decisions accordingly, then in my own way, I make the world a better place. I know that life throws curve balls at us and sometimes those decisions are harder to make at given times, but when we interact with others with a little empathy and compassion, we pave the road to receive it back later.
I make decisions based upon what is best for me and the people around me. That might mean compromising here and there or disappointing someone, when it is the best decision to be made at the time. Right is not always a concrete, black and white answer, but coming to a decision in an ethical way and with your best of intentions, should elicit respect from those around you. We can only live with what life has handed to us and that needs to be honoured in its way.
I do my best to be as ethical as I can in both personal and professional settings. I look at why people make the decisions that they do and try to respect them for their choices. In my own writing, I try to always put forth my best effort, which usually equates to much editing, re-reading, more editing, with the constant search for the perfect word, phrase or flow in all of my writing. While perfection is an unattainable nomenclature, with integrity, at the very least, I always try to put forth my utmost best efforts.
So that is all fine and dandy, but what does it mean to you? Have I missed something? What does integrity look like from your perspective? How do you uphold integrity in your line of work and within your personal life? Is it in achieving perfection or does perfection lie in the effort itself?
I am left to ponder.