“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Probably the best statement of Fundamental Principle 10 is this:
Integrity: The conscious decision and discipline to own your values and principles and hold yourself accountable to them.
This also keeps it consistent with the “Say = Do = Are” framework. It makes integrity a very personal concept and trait, and it carries with it a number of important corollaries and consequences worthy of remembering.
Corollary 1, as a mental picture:
Integrity is like the steel girders in a skyscraper:
It is the structure that holds up our character, ethics, and morals to be seen by the outside world, and
it is the load-bearing structure that passes the weight of trust conferred on us by the outside world back down to the foundation of who we are.
How much trust we earn is based upon what the world observes and who they believe we are. When we profess or affirm our fundamental values and principles and then use them to determine our behavior, “Say = Do = Are”, that’s Integrity.
Weak integrity bears little trust.
We rarely probe our values and principles deeply enough to understand them fully, or fully embrace them and the consequences of following them.
We all have hidden or “sleeper” values.
Adversity doesn’t develop character, it reveals it – Unknown (but smart) author.
As a consequence, our “sleeper” values are exposed. These are the less recognized values that have a huge influence in determining our behavior under duress.
If we observe behavior long enough, a common thread that appears is that the “sleeper” values that pop to the surface to control behavior under adversity are invariably focused on instant gratification or reward (for oneself), as opposed to doing what professed values indicate is right (for the communal good).
It’s tough to be false under adversity.
We need to take this to heart if we consciously want to be a Person of Influence as a friend, parent, spouse, and in a career as coworker, supervisor, or leader. We must embrace the following as a personal first principle:
The Finishing Touch:
If you don’t want your behavior discussed in private, don’t behave that way in public;
and its corollary,
If you don’t want your behavior discussed in public, don’t behave that way in private.
© 2013 James W. Edmonds