What Even is Integrity?
Integrity means different things to different people; it is a very personal reflection of what someone considers to be the backbone of their own moral fibre. As with any personality trait skewed through a lens of individuality it often depends on a person’s upbringing, social environment and life experiences as to what constitutes an act of integrity.
It is often easy to quote a dictionary definition, or to insert a sound bite about integrity being the action of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, or telling the truth; the reality is often more nuanced. Yes, integrity is doing the ‘right’ thing, but through what context? Most actions can often be justified as the ‘right’ thing to do when voiced by someone passionate in their own belief. Does integrity then become ‘the act of not knowingly doing the wrong thing’?
Often in business, the boundaries of ethical behaviour are set out in policy documents. Being written down in black and white leaves little room for interpretation; we know what is a ‘right’ practise because we can refer back to something solid, tangible and often approved by people with more expertise in the area than ourselves. To have integrity in business is to follow correct practises, procedures and ways of work. It is to respect our colleagues and value them for their strengths as well as their potential in an ethical environment. If we do not, we are in danger of putting the business, and by extension our own careers, at risk.
But What About Personal Integrity?
As alluded to, this is a very different beast to integrity in business. Our own moral code and values are not as stringently documented, quality controlled or peer reviewed. We can often fall into the trap of perceiving our own morality as the only ‘right’ way of conducting ourselves. I am as guilty of this as anybody, and anyone that had shared space with me for more than five minutes will attest to my willingness to share my thought processes. During my time in the military I had the notion of integrity drilled into me, sometimes on a daily basis. It took me a while to understand that while business integrity ensures we perform our roles in the ‘right’ way, it is the alignment of the personal integrity we show each other that dictates how we perform as a team.
Integrity at Naimuri
At Naimuri we, as a body of people with different backgrounds, skill sets and life experiences, chose integrity as one of our core values. This means that we believe that it is a pillar which supports the unspoken social and professional contract we all adhere to within our working environment. Whether in dealing with each other, our clients or our customers, it is something that we value. We want to be a company who, when there is a tough choice between what is right and what is easy, we will do what is right.
Our definition of integrity is:
- We use our expertise to deliver what the customer needs, not what is easiest.
- We are open and honest with all stakeholders; we communicate success, progress and problems.
- We challenge when needed.
- We build trust and respect the boundaries, rules and guidance for the environment we work in.
We can’t teach integrity, but we can lead by example. We encourage leadership at all levels whether that is at your daily stand-up; when making a delivery commitment or when acknowledging a job well done. We strive to be a trusted partner; to develop strong relationships with our customers and partners so we are able to tell the truth no matter the consequences; so we can admit to a wrong, even if we could get away with it.