Many times we come across situations where we are puzzled over what is right and what is wrong? We tend to ask others what they think about this and attempt to seek consensus over the choice. In the process very often we become anxious and stressed. Asking others for what you should believe in, is fundamentally where we all lose perspective in life! Why do we keep changing our stance on what is integrity? Why is it that as a society we are trying to find what should be a common integrity standard for everyone? Why not create a larger framework which will enable individuals to figure it out for themselves? Discovering them is the correct way because deep down within every one of us is a voice that seeks to be listened to – it has the answers to this question.
In a recent roundtable that I had the pleasure of attending, I heard a senior Tata executive share his advice for emerging enterprises and the entrepreneurs who are building them – ‘ferociously defend integrity’. It seems to have come from his superiors, the leaders, the founders and his long association of having lived them. He kept sharing examples of how the Tata Empire has been built solely on trust. He also shared many examples of enterprises that had grown along with the Tata companies. They had done so simply because they aligned themselves with the overall value system. While many dropped along the way, the few who remained as vendors have built strong enterprises themselves. All this has become possible according to him because of a single factor – trust! But how does one build trust? It is by being true to one’s words. By keeping promises one makes! By walking the words that one speaks! By living the life that one proposes! This builds integrity. But this leads us to own up the responsibility of finding what our value system is and developing the conviction to live by them. This makes us live a life of integrity and trust gets built over time.
There will be some who may not think that your values make sense to them. You may have to lose some opportunities along the way. But sticking to one’s values and maintaining integrity keeps one peaceful, happy and also at one’s best at work. This will build trust. If we at any point in time bend to fit ourselves to others value systems for the sake of opportunity – that will be the end of living fully and trust is the first thing that leaves the picture.
Think deeply on this! It has some important lessons, not just for us individually, but for our entrepreneurial ventures as well.