Having integrity equals honoring our commitments, period. Integrity is what it takes for a person to be whole and complete. That happens when we honor our word to ourselves and to others. We can honor our word in one of two ways: first, by keeping our word, and on time as promised; or second, as soon as we know that we won’t keep our word, we inform all parties involved and clean up any mess that we’ve caused in their lives. When we do this, we are honoring our word despite having not kept it, and we have maintained our integrity and built trust.
You can actually create trust rapidly if you fail to keep your word but you honor it. This is always surprising to people. If you’re straight with people – “I told you that I’d have this information to you a week from now, but I know now that I’m not going to be able to and I apologize, but I will get it to you in ten days. Let’s talk about what I can do to clean up the mess I have caused for you with the delay.” If I then get the information to them in ten days, our relationship will be strengthened; but if I simply don’t keep my original word, trust will certainly be lost.
An organization honors its word internally, between members of the organization and externally, between the organization, its partners and clients. This includes what is said by or on behalf of the organization to its members as well as outsiders.
Individual and corporate integrity is paramount and deceptively simple; people have to honor their word. When we do, trust materializes almost instantly. Give some thought to where you are out of integrity. Do you have any broken commitments you need to clean up? Doing so will increase your integrity and build trust.