June 27, 2007
Sinners supply plenty of column fodder
You’ve been writing the “Integrity Matters” column, every week for six years. Haven’t you exhausted the subject?
Because human beings continue to misbehave, trying ineffectively to cover their tracks, then there is no shortage of material for this “Integrity Matters.” Making matters worse, egotistical individuals concoct preposterous stories to justify what they know they never should have done in the first place. An endless supply of “sinners” encourages my continued focus on “integrity” issues.
Sometimes, I feel like a physician in the middle of an epidemic. On the one hand, I am invigorated by the busyness, simultaneously concerned for those who are impacted. And, like the overloaded, sometimes exhausted, doctor, I willingly accept recognition and rewards for my efforts.
Twenty-six years ago, when launching Dimension Five Consultants, our management consulting firm, I sought client-development advice. Wanting to know how one successful attorney had attracted business, having relocated from the Midwest to California, I asked his advice. He said that human beings have an uncanny knack for creating the need for legal services. His thriving practice, he said, had a great deal to do with being honest, enthusiastic, attentive, visible and prepared; and his approach worked well. His well-respected firm effectively assisted many clients. His firm was also known to be generous in supporting the community. He cared and shared; and succeeded.
However, not everyone operates with such clarity and honesty. Integrity-meltdowns are so commonplace, they must not be ignored. Just read the newspaper, watch television or observe people, when they are not aware. Illustrations abound of broken commitments, small and large. Human beings habitually lie about drug dependence, gambling losses, golf scores, tardiness, commitments, and, yes, even when and where they worship. In a perverse way, infidelity and promiscuity are a more personal form of broken campaign promises. Because integrity starts and ends with respect, its absence shatters trust - destroying marriages, families, communities and societies.
Peace officers, during routine traffic stops, hear incredible “stories” regarding driving speeds, alcohol consumption and what might be inside an automobile, including the trunk. In each instance, the likelihood of the lies being discovered is pretty high. Even so, every day, law officers endure traffic-violators who spin the truth, compounding problems. Radar, breathalyzers and “probable cause” are law enforcement’s truth serum. When dealing with law enforcement, just tell the truth, immediately.
Exhibiting integrity begins with consistency between word and deed. Integrity-centered individuals exhibit congruence between what they say and what they do, as well as what they say about what they did. Since lots of people don’t remember that character is what we do when no one is watching, then this weekly column needs to serve as another reminder that Integrity Matters.