What price integrity?

A quote, generally accepted as attributable to Albert Einstein, goes like this:

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”.

Now, before you go thinking I’m about to get political, after all, certain politicians have been playing fast and loose with the truth and with integrity (and have been getting away with it), that’s not the bee in my bonnet today. And, as much as I’d enjoy pushing the lot of them into a lime pit, this isn’t about them, it’s about us and it’s about the importance of integrity in all we do.

Our wonderful PA, Maria, recently put us forward for a workplace culture award. We didn’t know she’d done this until the organisation behind the award contacted us for some qualifying evidence, and to get some sense of our corporate mindset when it comes to supporting our employees.

We spent no small amount of time naively painting a picture of the stuff that’s tricky to prove, things like values, principals etc. but also detailing the practical stuff like what we actually have in place to support people and make them feel genuinely appreciated.

It turns out though that the award was contracted out to an agency who were running it as a pure marketing campaign with very little substance to it. It was a pure numbers game. Nothing really to do with recognising companies who actually put their people first, rather than just claiming to. The more votes you get, the better your chance of winning this competition. A competition, so say, designed to shine a light on businesses who have an employee-centric culture and a creative way to demonstrate that.

This is where the integrity issue comes in. We could have mobilised our marketing machine to garner as many votes as we could through a high-profile campaign. But who, aside from anyone working for us at the time of the competition, is really in a position to comment on our workplace culture?

Here I am, telling you it’s great, but how do you know it is? You don’t work for us. That’s why we decided we value honesty and integrity (and while we’re at it – authenticity) over such an award. We can, at the very best, provide twenty four votes. Any votes over that figure are fake and the problem here is that our USP is authenticity. How can anyone trust us when we say we are the real deal if we are prepared to cheat just to scoop an award?

Albert Einstein died long before I was born so I only have the word of the internet that this quote is one of his, but whomever it should be attributed to, it’s well said and it’s something that anchors us to a more traditional mindset where integrity, honesty and authenticity is concerned.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”. It’s kind of a big deal to us to be trusted with the important matters.


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