[Part 2 of What is Integrity?]

The effects of out-of-integrity behavior are significantly more damaging than most people believe… or at least, willing to admit.

People tend to view integrity as a virtue that is ‘nice to have’, but not as something that is directly related to performance.

They fail to link the difficulties in their lives or in their organizations to out-of-integrity behavior.

Studies have shown by Gregg Gordon, CEO of Social Science Research Network (SSRN) that focusing on integrity have huge implications for increasing productivity: 100% to 500%. Apparently, people are happier as well. Maybe there is something to being fully-aligned in who we are… while doing work. There is no dissonance between what we do and who we are. Our output is a function of our internal-alignment.

Integrity is a necessary condition for maximum performance…

That is, if something is in integrity – is whole, complete, unbroken – it has maximum workability. But because it takes more than workability (a product of integrity) alone to realize maximum performance, integrity is not a sufficient condition for maximum performance in an organization.

The costs of dealing with a person or entity that is out-of-integrity are astounding. Imagine a car, for example, when it is out-of-integrity: it becomes unreliable and unpredictable, and it creates those same characteristics in our lives. We become unreliable and unpredictable as the out-of-integrity car has created a lack of integrity in our life, with all sorts of fallout and repercussions that reduce workability.

The same thing is true of our associations with persons, groups or organizations that are out-of-integrity. These effects generally go unrecognized, but they are significant.

For leaders of businesses, the integrity of your business system is absolutely essential. Leaders must create businesses that are systems of integrity, to promote and encourage personal integrity.

What defines your culture is the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

Integrity for business-systems is a matter of the components that make up the object or system and the relationship between those components. Three critical aspects are their design, the implementation of the design and the use to which the object or system is put. If an object or system is to have maximum opportunity for performance, it must have integrity in each of these aspects. The design must be capable of fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed – sticking to our car example – transportation. While the integrity of a car is static, the designed-purpose of the car is for adults of driving age. The car is not built for a 10-year-old. This distinction – between the integrity of design, the integrity of implementation and the integrity of use, is where leaders must align who they are to the business they have built, the teams they are supporting, and the intended functions of the teams on value-creation.


When there is internal consistency of the environment (culture) built by the leaders, and the leaders live with integrity and communicate in alignment, workers are happier, deal with less dissonance, and can be fully ‘present’ in the work they do.

Bottom Line

Honoring one’s word is truly an amazing phenomenon. As with the Law of Gravity, the end result is guaranteed. There is simply zero fear in being fully ‘whole’ as a human. This is my desire for myself, and for you my friends.

All the best,