If I were to ask you what the one most important thing is that your parents gave to you, what would it be? I’m guessing that the answers would vary from money to education, or maybe your first car. It could even be your family’s business that your parents poured their blood, sweat, and tears into and then passed on to you. Everything we have and hold dear in our lives came from sacrifices we have made or that someone else has made before us. I could name a few of these gifts as very important to me personally, but the real gift that I was given was something that my father modeled for me during the most impressionable years of my life. That one thing is integrity. To my knowledge, he never defrauded another human being in the 64 years he lived. The idea of taking advantage of someone, monetarily or otherwise, was foreign to me growing up, and still is. You see, this principle is the foundation on which a person should build their life. If the foundation is in any way weak or questionable, the footer starts giving way and cracks start appearing in the structure of our lives. If the foundation is flawed, everything else will show signs of compromise. If not shored up, it will affect everything in the structure from the basement floor to the roof. That is what I would thank my father for if he were still alive. Harry Weaver was a man of his word. Period. If he borrowed money, he paid it back on time or ahead of time. If he said something, he meant exactly what he said. He was not a wealthy man, but his credit at any bank was golden. I took for granted that this was the norm and that everyone did business the way he did. Man, was I wrong. I found out that about 10% of the people that I would deal with had no issue with being late to pay their bills, and about 10% of those same people felt no remorse for not paying at all for the product they received. The sobering fact is that out of that same 10% of businesses who were habitually late or did not pay at all, 100% of those are no longer operating. The foundation was flawed and the house was eventually destroyed.
Integrity in the workplace is much more than simply paying your bills on time. It is about giving our best whether someone is watching or not. When we take a job with the agreement that we will get a certain amount for each hour we work, that is based on our best efforts and not 50 to 75% of what we are capable of. Most people do not believe that their best efforts are noticed and appreciated, so they lower their standards and nothing is done about it. Yes, nothing happens—and that includes pay increases that they might have received had they worked at their full capacity. The only person who knows what percentage of effort you give to your work is you. Even though that may be the case, no one in their heart of hearts feels good about not having given their best.
Both the employer and the employee must be held to the same standards. Our very reputations are based on this principle of integrity. Our reputation might be the most important thing we possess, and for the most part it is usually accurate. The belief that all of our little secrets will be hidden forever is false. We are only as sick as our secrets, and we are only as safe as our secrets. The end results of our integrity are based upon the law of sewing and reaping. Our actions bear certain results, good or bad. The fact that our consequences are not always immediate leads fools to believe that they can get away with a lack of integrity. So, if our dirty little secrets are something no one knows except for us, how could they possibly affect us long-term? If you believe in an all-knowing and all-seeing God, or even if you do not believe in Him, it is God who exposes our little secrets.
We all have opportunities that arise at random points in our lives. However, with every opportunity presented, you can bet that there will always be someone who will have information about us that can either kill that opportunity or make it a reality. To err is human, but to right the wrong is to have integrity. Some of the best opportunities in my life have come because someone vouched for my character and integrity. It is something that you cannot buy—it is something that must be earned. It is not permanent and can be lost with one mindless act. Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, said this in Proverbs 22:1, “A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold.”
Lodestar Guidance Founder