How Important is Integrity?

Let us define integrity as whole and complete with no parts missing.

Now, there’s integrity that you can define in this whole domain called morality which is a person who has a very good moral and ethical code, we are not talking about that integrity, we are talking about integrity about being whole and complete with no parts missing.

If a table has got four legs, it has got a top and nothing is missing, it works as a table, so that table has integrity. When it has integrity, it starts to work.

No integrity, the table stops to work.

When I look at organizations, I find that integrity is very, very weak.

People promise and commit things that they’re supposed to do, at the time that they’re supposed to do that and then all the balls start getting dropped.

Integrity starts to disappear.

In my hospital which I built and ran for a period of 12 years, in the third year I started getting quite frustrated with something that was happening on a repeated basis.

Every management review meeting I sat through, people would come and report on the projects that they were working on and then they would say, for this reason and that reason and they would justify and they would give me all kinds of excuses, reasons, stories and justifications why they were not producing a result.

I was sort of disturbed one day after this meeting that I took two days off and I sat at home and in a pad I started writing, what are all these reasons, stories, excuses and justifications that people have been serving to me from the time I started the hospital.

And I started noting them down and I just kept working very very diligently.

Then I started classifying those reasons and stories and excuses and justifications and I found that there was a finite list of 27 reasons, stories, excuses, justifications that these people were giving me for non-performance.

I went ahead and made a form with all these 27 written up with space for another five.

Then that form I gave to my secretary.

And every time a manager came to meet me, she would give the form and say, okay, what are you going to be reporting on, write that at the top, write your name and now write down, have you accomplished this result or not accomplished this result and in bold bold letters below that was written, “There’s no such thing called a partially pregnant woman.” Either you did the job or you didn’t do the job.

So what? You did or not? If you haven’t done it, go through this reason, story, excuse and justification and tick the one that applies and then write down what are the consequences for your not producing that result and give a new date by which you will produce it.

And they will come in, they would give me that form.

I would glance through it and I’d get the whole picture in like under 30 seconds.

No waste of time, no waste of energy.

I would say “Thank you very much, I got this.” And I put that into my drawer.

My secretary would collect these forms at the end of the day and she would populate everybody’s file and then we would sit down at the end of the month to review everybody’s performance, we would start going through all these forms, the ones that they had all these excuses, stories, and justifications and we would find what is the common one, the thread and I would say, “You know, Mr. George, number 17 seems to be dodging you a lot, now are you able to do something to create a breakthrough for that in that area, or if it’s not working out for you then we can look for other alternatives.”

Now, everybody hated that form, but in no time the whole dynamic in the organisation started to shift and integrity started getting restored.

You find your own way.

First check, what is the level of integrity.

Are you getting a bunch of excuses, stories and justifications which is frustrating you, which is kind of like making you helpless and angry, then start doing something like what I did.

Create that list, share it with people and say, hey, guys, all these reasons, stories, excuses, and justifications all of them are true, all of them are valid, but we need to produce results.

You’ve got to find a way to deal with stuff.

If you can’t find a way to deal with stuff, we are never going to produce the results.

Now, that kind of an open conversation in a space of respect, in a space of transparency starts creating a shift in that dynamic.

I’m hoping that you look at that dynamic and start putting things in place so that everything starts to move forward and you start creating amazing results.

Video reference number: 022012