Have you ever thought about the Importance of Integrity?
You can and should express your concern for integrity by contributing to your organization’s policies, training programs and communications about the need for honesty and a sense of personal responsibility. Doing so will enlighten and reassure your employees and customers. But what you do – and what they witness – moment by moment – will make the most difference.
In The Integrity Advantage, authors Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford describe how Greg Smith, a corporate insurance agent in Texas, once confronted one of those moments. As he filled out a new policy for a client he’d just signed, the client asked him to change the effective date on the policy. The client wanted the policy to cover a claim that had occurred a few days earlier. By this small act of dishonesty, Smith could save his new client hundreds of dollars – a lot to the client, but really not much to the huge insurance company that backs the policy.
Smith had long prepared himself for this moment, and simply said, “Well then, when is the next time you want me to lie to you?”
Smith was content that he’d stood up for his principles, but what about the client? The client didn’t receive coverage for the prior claim, but he didn’t walk away from Smith, either. He stayed with him and went on to spend nearly $1million with Smith over the next several years on several more policies. Why not dump someone who wouldn’t do even a ‘small’ favor? Because the client had proof of Smith’s integrity and knew he could trust Smith. Even at the cost of an embarrassing lesson, that knowledge is worth a lot.
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