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December 09, 2007

"Tip of the Week" - Do You Have Integrity?

If you peruse marketing blogs you will often see statements such as, 'all things being equal, people buy from those they know like and trust.'  It is true but what exactly creates trust?  I've thought long and hard about what inspires others to 'trust' another in a vendor/vendee relationship.  And the answer is both simple and complex.  It comes down to the vendor's integrity.  But 'integrity' is also another word which is loosely bandied about in advertising and self-promotion and its meaning has become diluted. 

What is integrity?  (And my apologies in advance to whoever wrote this exact turn of phrase because I copied it into my post ages ago and lost the link.  If it's you...please tell me and I will glady give credit!)

The root of the word "integrity" is "integer." If you remember your math, an integer is a whole number. So integrity has to do with wholeness. It means your whole life is unified; it means what you say and what you do are in congruence. It also implies completeness. Are you completely honest in your dealings with clients? With vendors? With other professionals in the community?

Your integrity and your dealings with others creates the trust in the 'know, like, trust' equation.  This integrity becomes the basis for your reputation. Integrity is not something you have at home and put on the shelf when it comes to your business dealings.  It needs to be a part of all relationships in your life including your clients, employees, colleagues and all those you come in contact with regardless of their integrity or lack thereof.

It's easy to try and pass the buck when we work with others, to the lay the blame for relationships gone sour at another's feet.  But when you are a solo it is your name on the stationary, your reputation, your wholeness, your honesty in dealings that is being 'purchased' by the client.  When we behave incongruously we are not just hurting our clients, we are hurting ourselves.

So, now answer yourself honestly? Do you have both professional and personal integrity?


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» The January Carnival of Trust from Hardingco Blog
Susan Cartier Libel points out that when you are a sole practitioner, integrity takes on new importance. I wish the author and pondered the subject a bit longer. There is more to be said on this subject, so I hope she pursues this issue further. [Read More]



A very thought-provoking and truthful post. I think it is very important to maintain integrity in the profession of law especially.

Lawyers have gained a less than flattering reputation over the years as "ambulance chasers" and greedy blood suckers who manipulate the system to win at any cost. They are probably the subject of more jokes than blonds (no offense to blonds).

I think it is imperative that lawyers keep integrity foremost in their minds and strive to bring back the nobility and respect to this truly noble and respectable profession.

Charles H. Green, Trusted Advisor Associates

Susan, congratulations on getting picked up in the Carnival of Trust, hosted this month by Ford Harding. http://www.hardingco.com/blog/2008/01/07/the-january-carnival-of-trust/

The link between trust and integrity is strong; I don't think they're identical, but clearly they cover some of the same territory.

Your quote sounds like something I would have said, but don't think I ever did in the precise way you quoted. Your readers may find an interesting dialogue on the subject at http://trustedadvisor.com/blog/235/The-Cancer-of-Short-term-Thinking

Again, congratulations on your post's selection; a well-deserved choice.

Nikole Gipps

Susan, I emailed you a possible source for the quote.

I agree with your sentiment here - I work for myself as well, and therefore that buck stops with me. Those are my initials in the company name, and I need to know that I have done everything in my power to provide my clients with a quality product.

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