As with safety, to run an operation that has integrity, is not only the respectable way, it’s also always less costly than otherwise. Some might argue that it could hurt the top-line, and we would claim the opposite, always.
It is easy to understand how integrity in procurement will lead to better results. We think that integrity in sales will to, and if any orders are lost to integrity, it is for the better. Who want to do business with organizations that are dirty? We certainly don’t. Not to even mention the cost of getting caught doing it…
The change in mindset over the last ten years has been dramatic, and for the better. Companies seek partners that are known for their integrity over partners that have the best solutions/products. And the educated bright and clever next generation of leaders, look for the same when they scan the market for the next job.
What we think about integrity in practice is quite simple; it is about doing the right thing when nobody is looking, and get caught if not.
We will work with our clients to establish a solid preventive part, based on a common understanding and culture, resulting ultimately with integrity as a companywide value.
Unfortunately, all commonly accepted research work tell us that humans in general will behave against their own moral conviction in certain situations, but only if the chances of getting caught is minimal.
Therefore, simultaneously, and interlinked with the preventive part, the corrective part need to be established. The chances of getting caught need to be high, and perceived to be even higher, and regardless of who you are in the organization.
Starbucks noble and overall well-intended #Race Together campaign turned into a disaster, mainly because of an authenticity deficit. Starbucks wanted to start a genuine discussion about race, and maybe sell more coffee. But people felt lied to, and that the coffee part was the only interest Starbucks had.
The outcome was less coffee, and little discussion about race, but plenty on the integrity of Starbucks.
This is maybe the biggest trap for companies working to improve integrity. It has to be genuine, and perceived as genuine. Then, on the other hand, integrity becomes much more than respect internally and externally, it becomes a value, and creates pride. It can take a company from good to great.