What happened to integrity in business?
In many industries integrity has gone away.
Integrity is about being true to our selves. On a larger scale it is about being true to the people with whom we work and serve both internally and externally. It is about doing what we say we do, delivering on our promises. Integrity is about concern for and inclusion of all. It is not necessarily about unified agreement but it is about a willingness to support one another with consultation. Integrity is about remembering the human element in what we do.
In the decline of integrity, business has lost its way in terms of why we have businesses, why people go to work and how the two come together as a key part of society to function. We are sorely missing the human element even in service industries.
Now I know there are exceptions. I know there are examples where this is not the case. I know that there is a small army of leaders, visionaries, entrepreneurs working to turn the tide. There are movements to shift the balance back in favour of the human element.
What is needed is for people to go back to basics in terms of origins of why we work. This is not a commentary to turn everyone into a passionate entrepreneur. Yet if each person who worked in an organisation felt like they belonged and were part of something bigger there would be a sense of purpose. The degree of integrity a person then has in how they go about their work is far greater with significantly more favourable impact.
What I find though is that it is far more difficult to find examples of integrity working in business than it is to find the opposite. Perhaps a bias of reporting and stories told. Yet even after years of intervention, change and other projects there are more organisations with challenges than not.
Why is integrity so important? Integrity leads to being open to exploration and collaboration.
What exists now is a focus on competition. There is very little collaboration.
These are qualities that are very important. Integrity and collaboration need to be introduced into industry so not only industry can flourish but also people can flourish.
One outcome of the absence of integrity in business are the high stress levels of people working in business. This manifests in various ways such as sick leave, dissatisfaction, turnover, depression, poor performance. The pressure to perform drives behaviours that put people last. People are expendable resources, tracked and managed in minute levels of details until the numbers say they are no longer needed, unless you are the one being paid to count and track.
Working with integrity companies will save money and make more money. How? Because these types of organisations will attract clients that appreciate these systems of operation. In taking better care of how they operate for example, there will be less illness therefore less cost and likewise. With more genuine engagement and contribution there is more true productivity. There is more acceptance.
Collaborating, cooperating, building together - produces outstanding achievements.
So where does intuition come into this?
Logic on its own will always look to the bottom line price.
Adding intuition will show a more subtle and effective way to achieve the same outcome without it being cold or hard. With intuition people in business will be able to read a situation better in the moment and guide the people involved in the direction needed to go. This can also be done collaboratively.
I believe that this is what people want. I know I hear it every time I get another story of a job a person wants to leave. There are people who want this. Many don’t know how to ask or simply can’t on their own.
I say these comments without specifically singling out organisations. I don’t believe this helps. For every business is in the same boat. Our model focuses on competition and bottom line results at the expense of integrity of relationship with people at all levels inside and outside an organisation.
To start is to first decide that you want more integrity and collaboration. Then once there is this commitment the work will be to find a way. Doing so is not something to do by yourself. We are not here to be heroes or martyrs.
What it takes is for those leaders, organisations and entrepreneurs to step up and be willing to collaborate with others. It takes acknowledgement, acceptance and forgiveness of past mistakes. It takes honest belief that people really actually do come first in all aspects of how we work in this world.
So now it is over to you. There is no one size fits all solution. It starts with each individual. It starts with you. How is your integrity in your work? How is the integrity of the company? If you are in any way responsible as a leader of others, a part of or a whole company what are you going to do?
Now if you are a company or a leader that has already turned in the direction of integrity and collaboration I want to hear from you! If you are already applying intuition as a way to bring this back into the business you do I want to hear from you.
And even if you aren't there yet but want to start and try I want to hear from you.
Let's start now. No more delay.