#1 Integrity & Ethics
An organization’s success depends on the integrity of its employees. We have all witnessed the severe problems that result in the personal, professional and political arena, when anyone, at any level, acts without integrity. When an organization’s reputation is damaged, there ensues a tragic loss of both customers and good employees. Organizations of all types are now taking a proactive approach to preventing problems by offering trainings about ethics and integrity. We found that clients seemed confused about the differences between ethics and integrity. After reviewing the literature on these terms, we have defined ethics and integrity in a way people can understand and immediately use.
Ethics + Integrity = Alignment (Inside & Out)
Ethics: is an external system of rules and laws. Usually there are rewards when we follow the rules and punishments when we break them. A professional board or committee often monitors compliance. Many organizations have developed a code of ethics that employees are expected to obey.
Integrity: is an internal system of principles which guides our behavior. The rewards are intrinsic. Integrity is a choice rather than an obligation. Even though influenced by upbringing and exposure, integrity cannot be forced by outside sources. Integrity conveys a sense of wholeness and strength. When we are acting with integrity we do what is right – even when no one is watching.
People of integrity are guided by a set of core principles that empowers them to behave consistently to high standards. The core principles of integrity are virtues, such as: compassion, dependability, generosity, honesty, kindness, loyalty, maturity, objectivity, respect, trust and wisdom. Virtues are the valuable personal and professional assets employees develop and bring to work each day.
The sum of all virtues equals integrity.
There is a dynamic relationship between integrity and ethics, where each strengthens, or reinforces, the other. Personal integrity is the foundation for ethics – good business ethics encourages integrity. A person who has worked hard to develop a high standard of integrity will likely transfer these principles to their professional life. Possessing a high degree of integrity, a person’s words and deeds will be in alignment with the ethical standards of the organization.
The right thing to do is not always the easy thing.
It can be challenging for organizations to establish and then comply with their own ethical standards. Whether ethics are defined or not, employees at all levels experience pressures to act against ethical standards and counter to their own integrity. Some say one thing and then, in the heat of battle, do another. It takes awareness and courage to act in that moment; to hold out for a choice that is in alignment with the stated ethics of the organization and the integrity of those involved.
To be strong we must know our weaknesses.
Integrity is what provides the inspiration to convert awareness into action. The good news: There is intrinsic satisfaction in accessing courage at times when our integrity is tested.
Think of how a sturdy rope is constructed – shorter fibers interwoven with longer, all braided together with great care. The Abundance Company sees integrity as the effective interweaving of virtues into reliability and honesty. When ethical companies support their employees in developing integrity, they become even more productive.
#2 Integrity Questions
How will I feel about myself afterwards?
Is there a principle to help guide me?
Would I want others to act the same way?
What are my motives and considerations?
Would my actions infringe on the rights & dignity of an other?
Is there any self-deception?
Do I need to spend more time examining the larger ramifications?
Am I being just, fair and considerate?
Who might experience hardship as a result of my actions?
Will this action prevent harm and create good?
Would I be concerned if a certain person knew of my actions?
Would I find a better alternative if I did more research?
Who’s point of view have I considered or neglected?
Do I believe this is the right course of action?
Have I allowed enough time to listen to my inner voice consciousness?
Is there some one I could talk to who would help me enlarge my perspective?
Have I weighted the the pro’s and con’s?
Are these the values that need to be used in this circumstance?
Could I make an adjustment that would prevent or alleviate harm?
What are the beliefs and values that are influencing my choices?
Do I have all the facts I need?
What is real, what is imagined?
What is expected of me?
Am I standing up to a high standard?
What is the best I can do?
Have I asked the right questions?
#3 Integrity: Risk Factors to Assets
low self-esteem to high self-esteem
poor health habits to healthy lifestyle
low levels of awareness to high levels of awareness
lonely & isolated to loved & supported
few role models to positive role models
lack of relationship skills to good relationship skills
stressed out to manages stress well
ineffective communication to effective communication
lacking leadership to leadership, guidance, mentors
mental & emotional confusion to mental and emotional skills
humorless to sense of humor & perspective
vices & weaknesses to virtues & principles
problems dealing with money to manages money issues
attitude of scarcity to attitude of abundance
lack of healthy touch to tender loving care
unacknowledged to appreciated
triggered, angry, frustrated to calm, centered, satisfied
inflexible to resilient
bad attitude to good attitude
problem focused to solution focused
unmotivated to change to inspired to grow
defensive, resistant to receptive to feedback
unhealed trauma to actively working on healing
negative environment to positive environment
doesn’t accept responsibility to accountable for actions
unhealthy sexuality to healthy sexuality
abuse of drugs, addiction to appropriate use of drugs
misuse of power, status to positive use of power, status
poor sleep habits to good sleep habits
life out of balance to life in balance
negative peer pressure positive peer support
self-centered to centered in self
negative intentions to positive intentions
drained to energized
distracted to focused on priorities
unhealthy competition to cooperative, team player
self-destructive to strong will to live
high levels of pain to high levels of pleasure
feels like a failure to feels successful
generally feels sad to generally feels happy
poor judgment to discernment, wisdom
#4 Signs of Integrity
has a high level of accountability
practices mental and emotional fitness
constantly works to improve communication skills
balances enlightened self interest and mutual benefit
has compassion for self and others
strives to do their best
can be trusted to do the right thing
examines their motives and intentions
follows their higher conscious
understands the difference between right and wrong
willing to act in integrity even when there are inconveniences or cost
seeks to be a good role model
acts with consistency
engaged in personal healing
willing to examine strong beliefs
asks for and gives forgiveness
acts in a highly virtuous manner
willing to admit that they made a mistake
able to stand up for what is right even in the face of pressure
knows the difference between bending and breaking the rules
makes and keep agreements
strives to make a positive difference in the world
is incorruptible when others disagree
is insightful and wise
willing to work hard to find the truth
feels their feelings and thinks before acting
has a reverence for life
takes action after close examination of consequences
engages in respectful dialogue rather than debate
sets aside time for discernment
seeks a win/win resolution to conflict
is able to see the error in their judgment
willing to seek the advise of others
when out of alignment willing to take the steps necessary to return to integrity
eager to examine their beliefs to see if what they believe is true
open to possibility that they are out of integrity
constantly seeking a high standard of personal integrity
receptive to being influenced by others and changing their opinion
acts carefully not to force their beliefs or standards on others
is watchful of double standards
aware of unhealed wounds that can result in acting out of integrity
develops a personal action plan to reduce and eliminate risk factors
surrounds themselves with high integrity relationships
knows their strengths and weaknesses
taking personal responsibility for their actions
is a master of emotional self control
creates environments that foster integrity
respectful of others even when they dislike their views, beliefs or actions
willing to do all they can to resolve conflicts
sincere and straight forward while being sensitive
asks for feedback on their level of integrity where they could improve
has a careful regard for the rights of others
has worked to develop a sense of right and wrong
open and receptive to others opinions
self monitors to make sure they get past their self-defense system
strives to raise passion and consciousness at same time
posses the courage to act even when in fear
avoids being too aggressive or too passive
weighs actions to make sure using wise judgment
looks at the present and sees the long view
investigates how they can learn from any experience
#5 Integrity & Ethics Action Plan
To do the right thing is seldom the easy thing.
Follows a Code of Ethics
High Standards & Credibility
Trustworthy & Confidential
Set & Honors Boundaries
Maturity & Wisdom
Evaluate your skill level in this inventory category on a scale from 1 to 10.
Which skill do you want to strengthen at this time?
Which skill is too low and causing you problems?