A quick google search will give you a Wikipedia page that starts with the following definition: "Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions."
I haven't seen enough of this in the project environment and I'm starting to wonder why. Is it a symptom of groupthink? Are we just a product of an environment that doesn't naturally lend itself to having integrity? Part of me thinks that the root cause is money (or the pursuit of profit) but this can't be true because integrity, if lived up to in every sense, will save money on projects and be more profitable to businesses and individuals, so how can the opposite be true?
Perhaps it's ethics - a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behaviour". Perhaps we have our ethics all wrong and so when we need ethics to guide our moral compass we can never find true north. If the boundary of right and wrong has vanished through years of wear and tear then it is no wonder we struggle with this dilemma. Ethics is an interesting concept though, as it is something that is seldomly defined. Group ethics is something even more complex as it is a constantly moving target - you may be right according to your own ethics until the group says you're wrong. Are you really wrong though?
Let's get back to integrity though and dissect it. "Integrity is the practice of being honest..." Can you hand on heart say that you're honest? Do you tell the truth or do you make things up? Humans have a weird sense of knowing when someone is telling the truth or not, and even if a liar happens to be particularly good at conveying a false message, the truth eventually always comes out.
I love the part in the description of "uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values"! I read this as someone who never sells out to others with lesser morals and principles, and someone who does this because of their strong sense of doing what is right! Although, in order to adhere to strong moral and ethical principles, you do have to know what is right! Most people know what is right and what is wrong, but if you're in doubt I guess there's a basic principle of treating others with dignity and respect and ensuring that your actions aren't intentionally and maliciously harming others whether that be physically or mentally or emotionally.
I'm going to intentionally keep this blog post short as this is a topic that I think is far better understood and appreciated when we as individuals start to muse about it. So ask yourself, do you have integrity? I mean, do you really have integrity?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below...