By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to reinforced your business ethics. Reading time: 4:28
How many times have you bypassed the honor system and grabbed a cup of coffee without adding to the coffers?
Oh sure you claimed you didn’t have any change or it slipped your mind, or you were just too busy to worry about something so trifle.
How many times have you padded an expense account; over promised and under-delivered a customer or a colleague, or helped yourself to a few more pens for the house than you could personally ever use?
Hey, that’s business as usual you say.
Unless of course that your business is anything but usual. Unless of course that you’re in the business of constant change, dynamic decision-making, and influential behavior. Unless of course you’re in the business of leadership 24/7.
Then, you’ll act with more integrity doing what’s right for the good of all –consistently over time. No matter how much it burdens you personally to keep your commitments, to reinforce your convictions, to renew your relationships in good and bad times especially when you think no one is looking. (News Flash: Leaders of course know someone is always looking even if they can’t see them at the time.)
Investing in Morale
With integrity, a leader’s behavior will influence others and set the tone for continuous improvement where even the little things can make a big difference — from tossing a buck into the coffee collection to picking up a piece of liter in the parking lot.
Consider the leader of a multi-billion company who eschewed a chauffeur. He chose to drive his own automobile to the office every day and taught every one a keen lesson in integrity beyond humility.
The CEO pulled out his personal check book to pay for fixing a flat tire on his personal car at the company’s fleet garage. The surprised mechanics and technicians in the company’s fleet garage got the message loud and clear. No perks. No free lunches.
The CEO knew his $12 check to fix a tire would ultimately earn the company thousands of dollars in more efficient use of parts and materials, especially as word spread in the employee profit-sharing company. The CEO later explained:
“If you want to lead others,
you’ve got to have their trust, and
you can’t have their trust
No wonder that integrity is the bridge that spans greater opportunity between individuals and primary prerequisite in defining talent, according to Warren Buffett. The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said:
“In looking for people to hire,
look for three qualities:
integrity, intelligence, and energy.
And if they don’t have the first one,
the other two will kill you.”
With integrity we react to a situation– regardless of the extenuating circumstances—with a sense of immediacy, a sense of urgency, a sense of commitment to a greater cause that facilitates clear and distinct decision-making.
Consider the new car dealer who shocked his staff when he decided not to ask the car manufacturer to replace an engine on warranty. The CEO found out that his own mechanics had inadvertently burned the engine out.
The dealership was at fault and would pay the $850 replacement cost. The CEO of the dealership sent a clear message: act with integrity in your business dealings. “If you will steal from someone else to benefit me, you will ultimately end up stealing from me,” the car dealer noted.
That dealership CEO demonstrated the magnetic-like pulling power of integrity that seemingly creates a force field aligning your values and focusing your priorities toward optimum decision-making and long-term profitability.
Then with that Forced Field of Integrity engaged, you can Stand Up for What you Believe. You can Do Right When No One’s in Sight. And you can Weave the Thread of Integrity from your gut as analyzed in previous Leadership Mints on integrity.
Indeed, integrity engages your entire decision-making, values-driven system to work together and align the parts into a whole with what author Stephen M.R. Covey calls “integratedness.”
In his book The Speed of Trust, Covey says that with integrity, you will be “congruent inside and out.” With Integrity you will walk your talk. With integrity, Covey adds you will have “the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs.” Especially when no one’s looking.
No matter how convenient the pens.
No matter how fresh the coffee.
No matter how busy you are.
No matter how expedient the perks.
No matter how prevalent the practice.
Leaders pay it back. And pay it forward. With integrity.
Act with integrity to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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