On integrity

Integrity, a subject that many of us easily talk about but often used to hide our real selves. I will use excerpts from an article I recently read around the subject.

Corporate Integrity: It Starts at the Top

I heard of a story about a gentleman who used to be affiliated with a construction company whose owner ordered the workers to cut corners in every way possible without getting caught.  Some foremen were even chastised for taking extra care to do a good job.  Did this philosophy work?  No.  The company did make money, but the employees who took pride in their work went elsewhere, leaving a workforce who simply was not trustworthy and a company which had a shady reputation.

When a new owner set a policy of always doing things right, the company slowly began to grow.  Those who continued to cut corners were dismissed and a new vitality began to emerge as the employees felt good about themselves; they began to love their jobs and became proud of who they worked for.  Guess what?  This company continues to flourish today.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Individual Integrity: We Are All Accountable

Writer and speaker Nicky Gumble punctuates this truth in the following story:

A man named Gibbo used to work as a clerk for Selfridges.  One day the phone rang and Gibbo answered.  The caller asked to speak to Gordon Selfridge, who happened to be in the room at the time.  When Mr. Selfridge instructed Gibbo to tell the caller that he was out, Gibbo handed him the phone and said, ‘You tell him you’re out!’  Gordon Selfridge was absolutely furious, but Gibbo said to him, ‘Look, if I can lie for you, I can lie to you.  And I never will.’  That moment transformed Gibbo’s career at Selfridges – he became the owner’s most trusted employee.

Integrity, for Gibbo, was so deeply ingrained that he disobeyed his boss without hesitation.  Yes, he might have been fired, but I am guessing that Gibbo wouldn’t have wanted to continue working there anyway.  In this case, however, his integrity was instrumental to his ascent at Selfridges.

Why Integrity Works

 It is no surprise that employees with integrity shine.  They do not undermine their fellow workers, they work just as hard whether they are being watched or not, they can always be counted on to do their best, and they will be honest enough to admit it if they have made mistakes.  They won’t pass the blame, but they will share the credit.  They are an inspiration to others, creating a positive and upbeat work environment.

If you were in charge of hiring and networking, wouldn’t you dig beneath the surface of a potential employee’s resume to learn of their integrity?  Of course you would.  Therefore, if you are that employee, your services will be coveted, both when you are hired and for years thereafter.

How Are You Doing?

  • Do you leave work early when there is no possibility anyone else will find out?
  • Do you accept full responsibility (or your share) when things don’t go well?
  • Do you share the credit when things go right?
  • Do you confront wrongdoing, even if it means confronting a Team Leader/Manager?
  • Do you hide legitimate income to avoid paying taxes on it (such as not reporting cash payments)?
  • Do you claim tax deductions you can’t document?
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About Tebogo G Molapisane

Tebogo Molapisane is a serial entrepreneur with interests in private equity, consulting, business process outsourcing (BPO), human capital management and social justice. He is a Director at Kezia Consulting Group and directly runs the BPO division of the business, Founder and Chairman of Spirit Dominion Foundation, an Advisory Board member at BLDE Consulting PTY and Executive Director at Iridium Private Equity. He is former CEO and Board Director of Business Processing Enabling South Africa (BPESA). Tebogo has experience in Financial Services having spent 15 years in 3 of the big 4 players in South African banking industry as well as one of the largest insurers. He chooses the method of executive coaching to co-create and implement within the teams he leads. A graduate of the University of Cape Town, Tebogo further studied with Gordon Institute of Business Science as well as Rotterdam School of Business, The Netherlands.

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