Most business owners are happy to give lip service to the idea of integrity. Many of us would say that we act with integrity in our businesses. Today, I’d like to take a closer look at what this actually means. Integrity derives from the Latin integritās, meaning “wholeness.” According to the OED, the definition of integrity is
Soundness of moral principle; the character of uncorrupted virtue, especially in relation to truth and fair dealing; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.
Integrity encompasses a variety of positive characteristics, all the aspects that make up a “wholly” ethical person.
The most basic building block of business is fair dealing. The business owners I work with all take this as a given. Without fair dealing, none of the other elements of integrity can be present.
Uprightness (equity or justness) is a little less obvious. This means giving the client the benefit of the doubt, showing grace to the employee–but also holding people accountable.
Particularly in business, honesty can be hard to come by. The many little deceits we all use can only backfire on us. We pride ourselves on being honest at every point in our process, from our first contact with clients to the last.
This is a big one. False promises, white lies, and other socially-acceptable instances of insincerity are incompatible with a wholly ethical businessperson.
These aspects of integrity should challenge us to improve our businesses. As a Christian, my faith certainly influences how I look at integrity in my own business. However, I feel that these principles are ones my clients and I share. It’s a joy to work with individuals who represent similar values of integrity and honesty in their professional lives.