Zen is you – Be.

Interesting question on Integrity

Posted in values by dave225 on February 22, 2011

Someone sent this question to me today: “Why do people think that Integrity, particularly in Leadership, is a hard thing to find today?”

My answer:

Integrity is trueness to your own values and trueness to your cause. But sometimes in order to accomplish anything in an environment where goals and values are competing, you have to compromise. So it’s the degree to which you are willing to compromise that your integrity is measured. And depending on the environment in which you are working (e.g. politics, industry-vs-regulation-vs-ethics) the choice may in fact be between integrity and progress. (Progress or rapid realization of goals, e.g. making a bunch of money.)

So it all comes back to leadership. If your choices are between integrity and progress, the system is broken and needs leadership to align the goals.

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… but I’m interested in other people’s answers – beyond the idea that “people are jerks and money drives behavior.” That’s too easy. Assuming that most individuals are decent, why is there a perception that they are not? Or why are people decent as individuals, but jerks as a collective?