Here’s to Integrity Guy. He has integrity. Just ask him.
This one is simple.
Integrity is important. Talking about it? Not so much.
Let me introduce you to “Integrity Guy.” You probably know him. Hey, he might be you.
Who is “Integrity Guy”? He’s the guy who espouses integrity in everything he does. He has it; just ask him.
He’s the one who will be sure to say things like “we never lie or cheat.” And “act with integrity.” And “those guys have no integrity.” And the always imploring, “we have to have integrity.”
In every easy instance, he holds out his integrity as impeccable. When the chips are down, he especially holds out his integrity as impeccable. But you’ll never be able to tell by looking at his actions.
Have you found him yet? He’s probably working not far from you.
He wears integrity pants to work every day, he drives an integrity car, and he sits at an integrity desk.
And what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing… Except let me tell you a little secret about Integrity Guy: The more he lauds his own integrity, the less he’s aware that he actually lacks it.
Yep, you got it. “I only act with integrity” is actually a risky mantra. Why? Because cognitive dissonance being what it is, our minds are great at twisting our desires, deeds, and deductions to fit our own view of integrity.
In other words, if Integrity Guy goes around convincing himself of his integrity (or ethics, or good looks, or any other laudable quality) by repeating it to himself, he becomes blind to the times when he falls short of his lofty self image.
I stabbed my boss in the back? Nah, I was just telling the truth to those other folks. I have integrity, remember?
I sold out my friend? No, no, no, personal gain had nothing to do with it. You forget that I have integrity.
I’m not a team player? Well, you’d better look at the rest of the team–they don’t deserve my integrity-laden presence.
I lied to close that deal? No, it wasn’t a lie; I just knew more than the other guy. I have integrity, don’t you know?
Integrity Guy–all he needs is a trademark.
He often sits right next to I-Never-Lie-Guy and around the corner from I-Only-Do-The-Right-Thing Guy. His desk is adjacent to the desk of Ethics Guy as well.
When we espouse Integrity, Ethics, doing the right thing, or any other categorical imperative, we can only do so with a heart that allows us to go home each night and ask ourselves if we really lived up to our own standard.
So now let me introduce you to I-Really-Want-To-Have-Integrity-Every-Day-But-Sometimes-Fail Guy.
He’s a good friend and businessperson, and you will know him by his actions.