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The stickiness of integrity

Fifty years is a long time to work. I’m only eight years in but I’ve noticed that there is a trend to the decisions I make and those around me are making. People gravitate toward integrity.


Fifty years is a long time to work. I’m only eight years in but I’ve noticed that there is a trend to the decisions I make and those around me are making. People gravitate toward integrity.

I’ve been fortunate to have some fantastic managers, colleagues and clients over the last 8 years. They have challenged, empowered and stretched me towards the best version of myself and the work I’m creating. I’ve also had some which haven’t been so great.

When I think of those in the first category and the reason they stood out, it was because they had integrity. Not just in the big things, but in the small things as well. This integrity builds trust, and this in return creates a relationship for honest conversations and brilliant work.

Every action contributes towards integrity.

The action may be seemingly insignificant, seen or unseen, but it counts. These actions are formative in our character and this greatly affects us and those around us. When I think of those with integrity, I want something of what they have and create. The clarity, single-mindedness, wholeness, consistency… the safety.

These attributes aren’t just good for the individuals, they are good for business too. Who doesn’t like; Suppliers that do what they say they will? Staff that say & do the same thing? Bosses that you don’t have to second guess?

Integrity causes stickiness for businesses and clients, bosses and employees and a LOT more.

The problem is that integrity is hard.

We’re not wired in a way that always causes us to do the right thing. Often, I choose the opposite to the thing I really want to choose. Let me give you an example…

I’m not the biggest fan of social media. But I get that it’s a powerful tool to share what we’re up to with the Form community. Because of that, we, as a business are committed to posting regular videos on it. When I say we, what I really mean is I. However, because I’m not the biggest fan of standing in front of camera it’s something I shied away from actually doing.

I wanted to do the video posts. I knew there would be value for clients, for Form and for my confidence. However, I still didn’t do it. There was a disconnect in what I said I would do and what I actually did. My actions lacked integrity.

This may seem small but how does it reflect? I’ve said I’ll do something and I haven’t done it. Does this build trust? Nope. Does it give others confidence in my ability? Nope. Does it make me feel good? Nope.

Last week I finally cracked on with it. It felt good. And other people’s perceptions? HUGELY positive. Multiple messages that were really, really encouraging and also some helpful feedback which will only make it easier and hopefully, more valuable, in the future.

This built stickiness inside & outside of the organisation.

What changed?

  • The pain of the disconnect between what I said and did became too big. You can ‘feel’ it when you’re lacking integrity in your actions and it doesn’t feel great. The way to sort this? Change your action
  • I prioritised it rather than trying to ‘find’ time to do it. There is always something to be done therefore there would always be a reason why it was never a good time. I had to stop trying to find time and make time
  • Accountability. Instead of this existing in a document somewhere, I asked someone to ask me the difficult question… ‘Have you done it this week?’ every week

I’m convinced that the effects of small actions that we carry out when no-one is looking ripple into so many areas of life and affect everything from how we manage our staff to profitability.

What do your actions say about you?

Take a moment to think about who you’re becoming by the actions you’re taking and if it aligns with who you want to be.

It may only be me but sometimes you come across someone who oozes integrity. Their actions mirror what they say and this shapes their character in a profound way. I (and probably you) want to work for and with these people. It may be now, it may be in ten years’ time. But these are the folk that you keep on your radar for all the right reasons.

I want to be one of these people and I’m pretty sure you do too.