Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Integrity

Dad U just passed in front of a mirror and noticed something unusual. Steam was not rising from my ears. Strange, given the type of day I had just had. The kind of day that only a year ago would have left me smoldering for weeks, calculating silent vengeance. Dad U has a real job, and in that real job has to navigate the typical array of workplace interactions with a boss, local and distant co-workers, direct reports, and collaborators outside of the organization. Within that network are displayed nearly a full range of personal characteristics from diligence, work ethic, honesty, and trustworthiness, through to what was on display from the other end of the spectrum yesterday: agreement breaking and betrayal. Of course, in this enlightened age we put some lipstick on it and call it "unprofessional behavior", but its still a pig.
Over the years I've heard two disparate comments that could be used to sum up such a scenario:
  • A verbal agreement is not worth the paper it's written on.
  • "An honest mans pillow is his peace of mind." Minutes to memories (Wisdom from a weathered 77 yr old retired steel-town dude on a Greyhound Bus).
Scarecrow
The thing is, ever since I realized I had inadvertently been making a close study of Dads and kids, I've witnessed the same point hammered home time after time. PERSONAL INTEGRITY COUNTS. I can guarantee that a colleague who isn't trustworthy at work doesn't become a saint after hours. It doesn't matter that you are not at home when you lie. It doesn't matter that the kids didn't see you. Personal integrity is a constant meter, ticking back and forth and recording your life. It's a readout of the state of your heart. Somewhere, somehow, your integrity chart will go public. That's when it matters.
Need further reading on the importance of integrity? Try Proverbs.

Dad U
-Everyone screws up. Don't make a habit of it.

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