This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 25 July 2018. See www.theinformer.co.nz
Most people value organisations that operate with integrity. Integrity is about being honest and doing the right thing all the time, even if no one is watching. Unsurprisingly acting with integrity is good for profits – who wants to give their custom to an organisation that is not serving their best interests? Conversely, a lack of integrity can lead to adverse media attention and legal action. It can ultimately destroy an organisation and its staff.
Each day managers and staff make decisions based on what they think is right – but is it right? Organisations need guidelines to help with these decisions. Integrity is much more than being law abiding.
Do you accept a lucrative contract that you know you cannot complete within the customer’s timeframe? Do you agree to do work that you are lacking the skills or equipment to complete to a high standard? Do you push a supplier’s product because they have offered you an attractive incentive or do you recommend the solution that is best for your customer? Under stress, do you treat your staff with the same respect you afford your customers? As a governance board member do you advocate engaging friends and relatives for contracts or remove yourself from the discussion?
Acting with integrity requires sound judgement – it might be acceptable now, but what will people say about it in 20 years’ time? Embed integrity into your organisation’s culture by setting clear expectations, modelling it and discussing it and reap the rewards.