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Is Personal Integrity a Lost Cause?

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Is Personal Integrity a Lost Cause?

We don’t say much these days about personal integrity. Is it an antiquated idea, a lost cause? We saw politicians in the last election stretching the truth, bashing other candidates, using social media  to spread rumors and other actions that seemed to point to a lack of personal integrity. Most of us simply ignored it and didn’t speak up.  We see retailers marking up the price on items so they can mark them down and get people to buy. We have hidden costs in many things we need  to purchase and false promises about the quality of goods we buy. We know people who tells us lies when the truth would serve them better. What’s all this about?

Think about this little list of “rules” in terms of personal integrity:

If you open a door, close it.
If you drop something, pick it up.
If your borrow something, return it.
If you make a promise, keep it.

This is a list of  things my ex-husband used to tell our boys on a regular basis. I don’t know what its origin is because I’ve never seen it in writing. We all got tired of hearing it, but it has a great deal of depth to it and, added up, it amounts to personal integrity.  In this article I want to bring personal integrity to the place where the rubber meets the road.

A few years ago I was buying a new house  and the mortgage  was all set. I had the word to go forward that we would close escrow on a certain date.  I  went about my business scheduling locksmiths, movers, a handyman, cable, telephone, gas and an internet connection at the new location. And I scheduled a painter, carpet/tile installers, counter-top installer and a cleaning crew to get the condo ready to go on the market.

But instead of getting approval, I learned before closing that the company who made a commitment to the mortgage broker—a  long time customer—said they would not approve it. They decided that they did not like the appraisal. They violated their commitment. In my opinion and that of the mortgage broker, they acted outside of integrity and failed to honor the verbal commitment they had made. We did get finally get the mortgage, but it was not an easy transition. A business and businessmen and women definitely need integrity

I also observed my son in the process of hiring an employee. She said she would call him back. She did not. She scheduled time with him for orientation and she didn’t show up and she didn’t call. She had all the skills he was looking for and he knew she could do a good job but she didn’t follow through with her commitments. He has started looking for someone else. It seemed like a breach of integrity.

In searching for carpet, I had one vendor who asked what my budget was, and without measuring the space, gave me an estimate  that used  the entire budget for the upgrading. His bid was twice that of the vendor who got the job. I was able to install a higher grade if carpet and a lower cost that that vendor quoted.  Lack of integrity?

I like the phrases, Walk your talk; Put your money where your mouth is, etc. Easier said than done.

In that move I had people who made promises they didn’t keep, appointments they missed, and equipment that did not meet the expectations. The cable company was two weeks late in getting their job done.  Promises made but not kept.

Granted, things happen and circumstances change. Most people can deal with that if they are kept informed. But to breach a promise deliberately, to inflate an estimate or not to follow through on commitments are generally acts out of integrity. They not only hurt your business but they impair you at a soul level.

Without personla integrity self-improvement comes to a standstill.

And so:

If you open a door, close it.
If you drop something, pick it up.
If your borrow something, return it.
If you make a promise, keep it.

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