Integrity. For some people, this concept is loosely defined. It’s a slogan, a catch phrase and more useful in theory than in practice. For others integrity is a value that is continually cultivated, with their decisions and direction fundamentally informed by it.
For those of us who value integrity in this way, it’s a big word indeed.
But what does integrity mean in business? In a world where our motivations are constantly being scrutinized and challenged, what does it mean to practice integrity in your work? Is it possible to truly have integrity and still be successful? Is it possible to practice integrity in your decision-making and still be competitive in the big bad world of business?
We asked 7 women who run their own businesses- creativepreneurs calling their own shots – what integrity means to them. Their answers surprised and inspired us and reinforced why we love them so.
Melinda Barlow, Writer, Editor & Content Strategist
“To me integrity means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It means doing the right thing by people rather than the easiest thing and it means being trustworthy – respecting when someone confides in you and understanding and honoring the boundaries we all need to maintain our own space and identity.”
Allyssa Barnes, WordPress Developer
“Integrity is doing the right thing based on your values. It’s treating others with respect and being authentic.”
Kate Bartolotta, Writer, Self Care Maven & Cheerleader
“To me, integrity is doing the right thing – even when it’s the hard thing.”
Melissa Camilleri, Founder and CEO, Compliment ®
“Integrity is meaning what you say, saying what you mean. It means under promising and over delivering. It means checking in with yourself constantly to make sure that your motives behind all of your actions always come from a place that is aligned with the greater good.
Sometimes it means saying yes to things that scare you. Sometimes it means saying no to things that look shiny, but ultimately aren’t in your best interest.
It means that people always come first and that you treat everyone the way you wish to be treated. EVERYONE means everyone … every last person working in your supply chain, every person you interact with, because PEOPLE COME FIRST.
Integrity requires leadership and boundaries. It requires humility to be able to say when you’re wrong and a desire to fix mistakes. It’s not perfection, it’s just doing the right thing.”
Shaleah Danwyel, Small Business Consultant for Creatives
“Integrity is an intangible guide that shapes my choices when no one else can see me. It challenges me to consistently take the path of love over fear. It’s an agreement I’ve made with myself, reflected in how I treat the world and its presence helps me sleep very well at night.”
Karina Louise, Portrait Photographer
“To me, integrity is doing what you say you’re going to do, and if something changes, updating as soon as possible.
This is something I’ve had to work on. It feels so good to make people happy in the moment and sometimes this temptation comes in and I promise just a bit more than I can handle. The big down side with that behavior is that it may make my client or colleague happy in the moment, but when I’m not able to deliver as expected it can be very disappointing. With running my own business, I get to set the deadlines and expectations, so there is no need to promise more than I can handle. Under promising and over delivering is integrity in action.
My favorite people to collaborate with all tend to follow this. It covers everything from being on time for meetings, to responding promptly to messages, to honoring deadlines. It’s a seemingly simple thing, but practicing integrity in these things definitely takes work to accomplish consistently.”
Amy Northard, CPA for Creatives
“To me, integrity is knowing when to tell a potential client we aren’t a good fit and recommending an alternative. Integrity is also standing up for what I know is right and not caving in to the wishes of a client, who may want me to do something that is unethical.”
This word is a big word. What does integrity mean to you?