Monday Mornings with Madison


We all know that integrity is important, but what exactly does integrity mean?

Integrity Means…

Doing what’s right – all the time.

Doing what’s right – even when it doesn’t feel good.

Doing what’s right – even when you think that no one will ever find out.

Doing what’s right – even when you can justify why this time is different.

Integrity and trust go hand in hand. In order for other people to trust you, they have to feel that you have integrity. And, that means they can rely on you to do the right thing regardless of the circumstances.

Temptation Is Inevitable

Most people who are brought up in healthy surroundings know the difference between right and wrong. Yet inevitably, situations arise when we are tempted to do something that we know is not 100% right either because it would be so much easier to do things that way or the short-term benefits are so appealing.

We try to justify it by telling ourselves that this one time it’s no big deal and we offer ourselves lots of excuses—we’re not hurting anybody, it’s a “gray” area, it’s just a small matter or the end justifies the means. When you find yourself going down this road, a red flag should go off in your head. You’re on the brink of compromising your integrity.

The Cost of Compromise

Integrity is one of those things —you either have it or you don’t. Ask yourself, would you:

  • Invest your money with a broker who tells you he has integrity 80% of the time?
  • Choose a best friend who has integrity 80% of the time?
  • Sign a partnership agreement with someone who tells you they have integrity 80% of the time?
  • Feel comfortable if someone introduced you to a potential client saying, “This person has integrity most of the time”?

Of course, not! You want to deal with people who are trustworthy and so does everyone else. You want other people to see you as someone who has integrity and is trustworthy. And, you want to be able to look yourself in the mirror.

You Pay the Biggest Price

Ultimately, integrity is not about others. It’s about your ability to live with yourself and your belief in yourself. It’s up to you to test yourself on everything you do by asking the question, Is this the right thing to do? It’s important to recognize that when you fail to act with integrity, you undermine yourself in a lasting and fundamental way.

Your faith in yourself is tied to your belief in your own character and integrity. Every time you fail to live up to your own values, you weaken your belief in yourself. Belief in yourself is not just a state of mind, it’s the accumulative result of your own actions and your true judgment of those actions. When you don’t like what you see, you punish yourself with failure and frustration.

The opposite is also true. Every time you do the right thing — particularly when the choice is a difficult one — you strengthen your belief in yourself. And, you flex your integrity muscles, so that it becomes easier to do the right thing when the next temptation presents itself. It’s repeatedly making the right choice that builds your sense of self worth. And, that is the true foundation of success.


Ask yourself the following questions:

Do I find myself at times doing something that I know is not 100% right or honest because I feel the ends justify the means? Why am I doing this? Is there a better way?

Would I be comfortable explaining what I did and why I did it to someone I respect?

If I knew that the actions I am contemplating would end up on front page of the New York Times, would I still do it the same way?

If I deal with the truth – all the time – what kind of person will I become?


One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. Franklin Covey


How would the person that you want to be tomorrow, make your decisions today?


Call your top 5 customers and ask them the following question, “Who is the most successful person you can take out to lunch?” Once they tell you, ask them to invite that person to join the two of you for lunch.

© 2008 – 2012, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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