“Sorry” she says, “I’m not going to organise that event I promised [a key part of my work schedule]”
“what I’ll do instead is organise two events in a couple of months”
Now THAT is what I mean by integrity. This is something a manager said to me when I was running a small department early in my career. She went on to train me in a really useful way of looking at integrity that I reckon is applicable for many of us now.
1. Doing what you said you would do when you said you’d do it
3. Being who you said you would be (especially when you’re not doing the other two!)
It's in the second level of integrity - Communicating - I'm seeing the issues arise
In this environment, timelines slip.
This isn’t a problem in itself, but it rapidly becomes a problem if the slippage isn’t communicated - and this is where I am seeing the problems happen.
Photo by George Kedenburg III on Unsplash
Why don't we communicate
People don’t communicate for a whole bunch of reasons: they’re embarrassed, they reckon they’ll catch-up, they ‘know better’, sometimes they don’t communicate because they have opinions about specific people, sometimes it’s because they have underlying racism or misogyny and don’t feel like they should have to. Whatever the reason, communication is more important than achievement because then people can do something about it.
The third level of Integrity
A friend of mine realised he had to let a really technically proficient staff member go. He hated doing it but he knew that (as he put it):
"one jerk poisons the whole team."
This is really where culture is generated and self-reflection rules and, as everyone knows, eats strategy for breakfast operates [Peter Drucker said that]. If people are being collegiate, engaged and supportive, they will communicate out of a sense of ‘togetherness’ because they want to help others. If people are being driven, perfectionist, resentful or uncertain, they won’t
An Exercise to do with your staff/team
Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash
A word on workability - a philosophical end-note
"We all have a rather weird relationship with Integrity"
This is a problem because, as we all know, there are an endless number of values and opinions about what is the ‘right’ way to do things and the ‘wrong’ way – and the ground is shifting endlessly.
If values get mixed up with integrity then what is 'right' becomes what is 'normal' and what is normal is conflated with what is 'workable'. Suddenly there is very little scope for alternative views or ways of getting things done...
Take my life for example. I was born in Darwin to parents who taught in aboriginal communities. I grew-up on Christmas Island with south-Chinese friends and attended an Asian school. My childhood was marked by diverse conceptions of how to structure a day and get stuff done. In both cases, the 9-5 office/factory work ideal was virtually unimaginable.
When we position integrity as a value, we conflate workability with our own (comfortable) conception of what is the right or proper (read ‘normal’) and exclude truly different ways of working.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash