Integrity. A simple word that has so much meaning and high expectations. Leaders want to hire people that they can trust and integrity is the essence of your moral character. I had always thought that high integrity deals with telling the truth and being an overall good person.
In reading Dave Ramsey's book, EntreLeadership, he mentioned the following, "Integrity is more than simply telling the truth and not stealing." He goes on to explain, it's about who you are and the consistency of the decisions you make. You can't act one way at work and a completely different way at home.
For eight years, I have been preaching about high moral character with my basketball players. Every year, we talk about the importance of discipline and trust.
Sometimes a player will get in trouble or act up in class. With these players being 7th graders, they get second chances, but that doesn't stop the learning process. We, the coaches, always use the following phrase, on the image below to explain the expectation of being a student-athlete:
Our players are still learning and still growing, but as a coach I have an important job of teaching these students about the importance of behaving with integrity. All coaches have this important job of teaching the morals that go along with playing this game.
Yes, the players will make mistakes, but they also understand that they are being held accountable by their coaches. They understand that a misbehavior in the classroom will lead to less playing time on the court. They understand that their choices have consequences.
I am more than a basketball coach. I am a teacher of life lessons. My players will know how to dribble, drive, shoot and pass as a player. But they also learn an even more important lesson about having the integrity to be a better person day in and day out.
This lesson of integrity is so foundational in terms of the real world. Whether you are a business owner or a teacher or a doctor. Lack of integrity could get you fired.
A business (like Wells Fargo) could lose a lot of customers because they choose a bad business model that pushed bankers to open unauthorized accounts to meet their quotas. An employee who steals from the cash register could lose their job, because the owner has lost their trust. A doctor could lose their license by not following the law.
There are plenty of people that try to cheat the system. Some of these people get away with their transgressions, but most are caught. Thus, most successful people do things the right way. They make consistent decisions. They believe in telling the truth and treating each other the right way.
There will be times where you have the opportunity to lie or cheat to get ahead. These times will test your moral integrity. Will you do something that seems sketchy just to make a fast buck or will you build wealth slowly like most millionaires?
I'll take the slow approach and build my wealth with integrity.