Integrity Image Linda Elliott

Every month when I look forward to see what my next power-of-the-month will be (since I am repeating the powers of last year), I know right away if I’m going to enjoy writing or if I will find it a challenge. Integrity is a virtue that I love to expound upon as it is the most important one for me. Yes, this day of Sunday, 2-22-15, dreary with a cold front expected, is one of peace and happiness for me!

In reading the newspaper this morning, I was struck by all the negativity. Story after story was about people who are corrupt, malicious, dishonest, self-serving, and the list continues. Why? Because bad news sells papers. It’s such a pity that we must go to the obituaries to read positive tributes about people! Such a conundrum – wouldn’t you say?

In a Forbes article entitled “Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity is Forever” by Amy Rees Anderson, she states that, “Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching… Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.”

Here are a few examples that will possibly hit home with some of you reading this blog:

  •  Sales people over-promise and under-deliver in order to make their quota.
  • Applicants exaggerate their qualifications because they’re in desperate need of a job.
  • CEOs inflate projected earnings to keep their jobs.
  • Entrepreneurs overstate pro formas to raise more capital from investors.
  • Customer service reps cover up mistakes to retain customers.
  • Employees call in “sick” because they have got to get their Christmas shopping done.

This list continues. In many of these situations, people truly believed that they had valid reasons for committing their dishonesty in order to justify their lack of integrity. The reality is that dishonesty may provide instant gratification, but it will never last. Anderson so aptly says, “Profit in dollars or power

[in status] is temporary, but profit in a network of people who trust you as a person of integrity is forever.”

Let me give you some real-life examples:

  1.  I was told about someone who is a fairly well-known contractor in town that he cheats in golf. He’s been seen discreetly repositioning his ball on more than one occasion. I don’t know this man and I’m not a golfer, but I do know that his actions on the golf course show a lack of integrity. If asked about a good contractor, he is definitely not one I would recommend.
  2. Someone used my name, without my permission, to get in a door. I did not find out about it until it was too late and a deal transpired based on my supposed recommendation. Contrarily, I would never had recommended this person as I had already suspected lack of integrity. Now I will go out of my way to not recommend him.
  3. There are a few people in my world who agree to attend events or undertake responsibilities and don’t follow through on their commitments. It becomes a burden on others and jeopardizes the ultimate outcome. Yes, this includes rsvp’ing that you will attend events and not doing so. (Some of my followers will know what I’m referring to…)
  4. Vindictive gossip is always a sign of lack of integrity. Purposefully trying to hurt someone is never acceptable and speaks volumes to your character. I have been a victim and it’s an awful place to be. Fortunately, others know what took place, and stood by me.

Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway puts it well: “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities – integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” Think about that…

I’ve chosen to highlight a man who has more integrity in his pinky finger than anyone I know. And those who know him would agree. I refer to Patrick Riley, Chief of Marketing & Interactive Solutions, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM). Pat loves the military and now oversees the marketing initiatives to create more unified programs for military installations worldwide and their soldiers and families. I first met Pat when he was with KGBTexas, a San Antonio PR/Advertising Agency, PatrickRiley-8x10where he served as COO. He then was a Senior Healthcare Analyst with Frost & Sullivan, an international research consulting firm. We became fast friends and business associates. He helped me to launch the Healthcare Think Tank – Texas LinkedIn Group and still continues to be a major content contributor.

If Pat has a flaw, it is that he is too humble. Pat’s goal in life is to make this place a better one for all. It’s not about Pat, but rather, it’s all about the needs of others. He thrives on helping people, but will never take credit for doing so. Goad him as you might to make a disparaging remark about something or someone, and you will lose that battle. Yes, Pat Riley is at the top of my list when it comes to integrity!!