Do what you say, say what you mean. Do what’s right, especially when no one is looking. Simple concept, difficult execution. All too often when a situation presents itself where you must choose between personal gain and compromising your beliefs, the wrong choice is made. This subtle and persistent erosion of integrity decays and degrades yourself. Making small choices in a consistent manner will affect the bigger decisions to come. You must set the framework when the choices are small and simple.
Where Integrity is Prized
Law enforcement highly prizes integrity within its ranks. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has an acronym CHP PRIDE. The “I” stands for integrity and is a very highly held organizational value. Do what’s right, even when no one is looking is especially important within law enforcement. Trust take a long time to earn, especially for law enforcement agencies, it can also be lost as fast as the police misconduct video takes to roll on the evening news.
“Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.”
According to the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility:
“Since lawyers are a vital part of the legal system, they should be persons of integrity, of professional skill, and of dedication to the improvement of the system. Thus a lawyer should aid in establishing, as well as enforcing, standards of conduct adequate to protect the public by ensuring that those who practice law are qualified to do so.”
These are just a few examples. Obviously you can apply these tenets to your personal and professional life. In fact I strongly recommend you do. Having a moral code is great but if you bend and break your own rules it’s worse than not having one at all. You would, on a daily basis, be lying to yourself.
What Integrity Looks Like
“Socrates’ unorthodox political viewpoints and willingness to expose the ignorance of others created many enemies. This led to his arrest and trial. This trial was sensationalized in the dialogues of Plato. Plato paints a picture of a philosopher perfectly detached from the fear of death and committed to the truth. Shortly before his death, Socrates said:
“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.”
When Socrates was found guilty of ‘corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of ‘impiety,’ he calmly accepted the verdict and rather than try and escape the death penalty – he accepted the hemlock poison. If Socrates had repudiated his beliefs, he could have been free; he could also have tried to escape, but as a philosopher, he felt it more important to stick to his beliefs.”
The Missing Piece
“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”– Warren Buffet
Words of Advice
- Avoid those who are untrustworthy
- Don’t do business with them
- Don’t associate with them
- Don’t put them in a position above you
- Cut them out at all costs
- Others judge you based on who you are around
- Always choose the harder right rather than the easy wrong
If there is a question about your actions, ask yourself, “If what I did was brought into the light for all to see, would I be proud or ashamed?”
Stay True to Yourself!