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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Integrity is as Integrity Does
By Paul Tomori
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 15:04:52 (EDT)

When the economic tide goes out, you really get to see who has been swimming naked. Warren Buffett said something like that... or he was quoting a very smart person.

With all of the fraudsters being revealed and various "safe" bank positions being shown as far from conservative, the virtue of integrity becomes so much more valuable in its scarcity.

In our own business, we have seen our share of cowboys come along... and then fall by the wayside. They say one thing, but do another. They make promises and agreements then fade into the background when it's time to make good.

It reminds me of my own inaccurate concept of integrity as I was growing up. I had always equated integrity with honesty, but I learned later on that there is a very important distinction between the two. On a simple level, honesty means telling the truth. But, integrity means that one's actions flow from one's convictions. Where there is a lack of integration between what one professes and what one actually does, then there is said to be a "lack of integrity".

Hey, I am not a minister preaching virtue here. I am just sharing the semantic wedge that I found separates honesty from integrity. We all have some level of contradiction in our convictions and behaviours, but I like to think that true maturity leads us to a more pristine integration of our beliefs and our actions. In that respect, the quickest way to determine one's path toward heightened integrity is to review one's actions to check their congruence with one's beliefs. It's easy to fudge your beliefs or bend them to suit each situation, but actions are significantly more black and white. How's your business integrity? Do you deliver on promises? Do your work habits and management execution align with your company value statements? It's something to strive for. And, since taking action is essential to business success (i.e. passivity won't get you far as a general rule), then the best conclusion is: Integrity is as integrity does.

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