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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Integrity’s Impact: Your Practical Guide to Integrity’s Power, Benefits, and Use

David A. ZimmerPrint

Integrity has been defined as “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code” (www.answer.com). Synonyms include honesty, truthfulness, honor, veracity, reliability and uprightness.
To me, integrity comes from within and is noticed by those from without. Integrity to me is doing the right thing even when no one is watching and would never find out if you behaved improperly.

It seems that integrity is in short supply these days with all the scandals we read about or hear in the news. Enron. MCI Worldcom. Sundry legislators with their hands improperly in various cookie jars.

When I came across a book whose title included the word “integrity,” I was intrigued. Add tothat of knowing the author personally makes for an interesting read. Mark Willson, the author, consults to various sized organizations helping them solve complex business problems. In those situations, there are many opportunities to compromise inappropriately, so integrity is very important to serve not just the client, but the client’s business and society in general.
According to Willson (pg. 27-28):

“You can’t help but be a person of outstanding integrity if you:

  • Have sound rules to live by (integrity)
  • Consistently and conscientiously use those rules to help you make the right decisions (focus)
  • Bring positive credit to yourself and those around you (honor)
  • Help others to see the right path (leadership)”
He points out that integrity is a frequently misunderstood and, unfortunately, can depend on a person’s culture, concept of truth, and right and wrong. That alludes to my personal concern that we have lost our foundation for right and wrong, therefore, we are like a ship without a rudder – we wander all over the ocean trying to move forward (material for another nugget of editorial thought).

Willson constructed the book in a very interesting manner. He used four methods to deliver his point:
  1. the actual text,
  2. off the wall titles that make sense after you read the text,
  3. short guidelines “pull-outs”, and
  4. personal stories.
For me, the methods that seemed to work best is the actual text and the guidelines pull-outs. The stories help keep the text light in certain spots (you have to read his face-to-face episode with a tiger and his almost death march in Alaska).

I use several criteria in determining if a book is a good read or not. They are:

  1. content – does the content deliver good points
  2. highlights – I read with a highlighter in hand and highlight points that jump out at
  3. length of book – solid content in a few number of pages – I don’t have much time
    to read either, so short is good
When I finish a book, I judge my overall reaction and flip through it for the “highlighted” factor – lots of highlights, it must be a good book.
In this book, many of the pull-outs are highlighted. Short, to the point, salient and memorable. Being highlighted, they are easily referenced.

By the end of the book, Willson has helped you understand the meaning of integrity – true to oneself and the well-being of those around you. Rolled into that, he developed a problem-solving, actionable methodology to help you evolve from where you are in life to where you want to be. This same methodology can be used in business situations to overcome a variety of problems and reach quality solutions.

Overall, I would rate this book as an excellent read. Lots of good insights into life grounded in practical experience, considered points that will expand your thinking, and a tangible method of reaching your goals.

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