Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Integrity – Looking oneself in the mirror

by Matthew Carmen on September 13, 2010

This past week I took a vacation, to Hawaii.  I tried to focus on the much-needed relaxation, keeping my mind free of business and the stresses of life; and for the most part, I did.  One work-related thought lingered on, however: integrity in one’s work.   I began to notice integrity – in its various forms –  all over the islands, and kept thinking about how core it is in business, specifically in the consulting and financial worlds where I practice.  Integrity is the one thing that every person should have.  It doesn’t matter what job, economic status, social standing, or any other measure people use to “judge” each other, integrity should be the main benchmark as to one’s character.

The only place I did not see complete integrity was at the USC-University of Hawaii football game.  One of our players (I am a proud USC alum) slammed the opposing quarterback with a truly illegal hit – not exactly playing with integrity, right?  The UH quarterback was knocked out of the game, and when I left the islands on Tuesday, he had still not returned to practice.  The USC player has to look into the mirror and examine his actions, his integrity in question.

The people in the service industry, hotels, restaurants, museums and other places, seemed to do their jobs with integrity.  They were all very helpful, pleasant and seemed truly to enjoy their jobs.  This could be that they were happy to have any job in today’s economy, but I don’t think it was that simple.  It could possibly be tied to the cultural differences in the islands versus the mainland, but again, I don’t think so.  I just think that the people I dealt with actually enjoyed their lives as they were.  What a great place to be in.

Everything I witnessed got me to thinking about integrity in business.  Let me state clearly that I believe the great majority of people – probably more than 98% – hold integrity high on their list, and incorporate into their work accordingly.  What is unfortunate is that the small minority of people that lack integrity are the ones who make all the news.  I go into dealings with people – meetings, XXX, XXX, etc. – with the assumption that those people are honest, forthright and willing to stand to their word.  I hope that people inside and outside of the business world look at me this way in return.  When I make a claim to someone – say a client – I back it up, and if questioned, I’m ready to address it right away.

Integrity and Relationships

Doing business is establishing and growing relationships, and these relationships cannot be strong if not forged with integrity.   For example, my company seeks long-term relationships with all of our clients, essentially becoming a trusted advisor to their organization and solving datacenter, connectivity and IT financial challenges.  Clearly, if our firm is viewed as lacking in integrity, these relationships could not flourish, and the company could not and would not be in business.  At the end of the day, a person has only his or her word, and must operate with integrity to ensure trust.  If they choose to conduct themselves otherwise, there is no need to trust or deal with them.  There are too many people and companies that do things the right way to work with those who do not.

Conclusion

I learned two things on vacation.

  1. It is really important to actually take vacations and clear your mind of professional stress, etc.  Upon your return, you may come up with some new ideas that will revolutionize your business and dealing with clients, co-workers, and management.
  2. I do know that if you don’t have integrity and the internal fortitude to use it, you might as well give it up.  You will never move up in your chosen field or establish close and trusted relationships with people, professionally or personally.  Lastly, look at yourself in the mirror, if you aren’t happy with the person you are looking at, figure out why that is and work on transforming that view into one you like.