In leadership training we talk about building better teams, how to lead through change, building better relationships and more.
But how often do you talk about how a leader needs to have values? Do you have a leadership development program related to integrity? If you don’t, it’s time to start thinking about developing leadership training based on integrity.
Ben W. Heinman Jr.’s book called High Performance with High Integrity provides you with the answers to why leaders must be committed to integrity. Heinman, the former General Counsel of GE, gives one succinct example where GE was convicted of fraud and falsifying documents. He states that the hardest part of these lawsuits was letting go the senior officers who headed these business units. He said they didn’t have “personal knowledge of the bad acts. But they had failed, in a most dramatic way, to create a performance-with-integrity culture. Far too many in their organization were indifferent to intolerable acts for far too long.”
These senior officials didn’t commit fraud or falsify documents, yet they still lost their jobs. Their lack to lead with high integrity cost their company millions of dollars.
So where does this example and information leave us as leaders?
If you think since you don’t work for GE or a Fortune 500 company you don’t have to worry about integrity, think again. All companies should be focused on high integrity integrated with high performance especially in this economy. The stress and pressure that this economy has put on the workplace leads to people cutting corners and breaking rules to meet ends meat.
You’ve already seen the damage from the GE example that a lack of integrity can do to the company. We’ve all seen the headlines featuring companies who lacked integrity and got not only slapped but destroyed in lawsuits. Developing leadership training on integrity can help prevent these disastrous events.
A company focused on integrity not only prevent fines or mishaps it creates a better environment for the workplace and for the community. Companies that embody values such as fairness and honesty and align the company’s values with personal values of the employees create a non-selfish environment where people can work together. This results in better employees attitudes which in turn promotes productivity.
Outside of the workplace companies that rely on integrity avoid dealing with overseas companies that employ child labor and help the community by serving like Eli Lilly did on their Global Day of Service. This will help the community at large.
Most of all, integrity will help us as leaders get on the path to restore the trust lost in business over the past year.
I encourage you to think about your company and what you stand for. Go pick up a copy of High Performance with High Integrity because it will help you develop a plan and a call to action on creating a workplace infused with integrity. The big companies are not the only ones who fall short on integrity, it should be the focus of every organization and company.
As Heinman says, “It is whether you win or lose and it is how you play the game.” It is no longer just about winning.
Guest post from Kim, Not Your Ordinary Intern