Espresso 32 Walk the Talk

Walk the Talk

Unfortunately, in this day and age, compromising one’s values to get ahead is not uncommon. People are often tempted to fudge here and there or to misrepresent, omit information, or avoid key questions, and just “hope for the best.” But you know, eventually those compromises do catch up with you, as is evidenced by the many scandals, downfalls, or business failures seen in society today, due to corrupt management. Embarrassment, exposure and even ruin often hit people like a speeding train, because they lacked a single vital characteristic that true success requires: integrity.
What worked in the past, what works today and what will work tomorrow is truth, honesty, goodness, reliability and integrity.
Are you a person of integrity?

Times May Change – Values Don’t
Often people justify improper behavior by complaining that society’s values have changed. The fact is, basic values have not changed. People still know the difference between good and bad. It just takes courage to live your life according to those values in the face of whatever challenges arise.
You can make a difference if you question yourself before you do something. Ask, “Is this right?”
Regardless of background, nationality, religion or other differences, people of integrity universally recognize many values, such as honesty, fairness and respect.

Building Personal Integrity
When you have integrity, you know yourself and your values, and can communicate them to others. You act on your values and live according to your convictions. You take responsibility for your decisions.
You can start building your personal integrity by:
¥ Writing a personal mission statement.
¥ Promising carefully and always honoring your promises. Under-promising and over-delivering is better than the reverse.
¥ Being totally honest and avoiding exaggeration.
¥ Thinking before you speak, then speaking carefully and intentionally.
¥ Following positive role models; find a mentor.

(Note: The following excerpts are taken from the Home Spokesperson Seminar; HSP 2008_03.)

What Exactly Is Integrity?
integrity: the possession of firm principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards; soundness of moral character; honesty

ethics: code of morality: a system of moral principles governing the appropriate conduct for an individual or group. (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)

Here is another definition of integrity, by a professor of philosophy that highlights its importance:

“Like courage, integrity is also a virtue. It, too, is a habit of character, something that exists over a long period of time. People don’t have integrity sporadically, showing lots of integrity on Thursdays. Indeed, the whole idea of integrity is that it lasts. Integrity is opposed to the “here today, gone tomorrow” attitude. It is that strength of character that allows us to be true to ourselves, and in particular true to our most basic commitments.” (By Lawrence M. Hinman, Department of Philosophy, University of San Diego.)

Honesty, integrity, and ethics are crucial if we’re going to build a positive public perception of the Family.

The Importance of Ethics
Jesus: Integrity is vital if you want to be a professional for Me, and your personal integrity is vital to the future of the Family, because you are the Family. When people see you, they see the Family. You, the one standing before them, are the Family to them. So ask yourself what sort of Family they see when they see you, and whether that sample is the best possible representation of Me.
Integrity is being faithful to keep your promises and fulfill your obligations and commitments. It means that when you say you will do something, you do it, without fail. Integrity means that your word is your bond, and that others can count on you. Integrity does not make excuses as to why it couldn’t; instead, it finds a way that it can, come what may, hell or high water.
Integrity is doing the right thing, no matter what it costs you. Integrity does not depend on the situation or the circumstances; it does what it should, what is right and what is My will, no matter what the situation or the circumstances. Your ethical standards aren’t flexible or changeable; they’re fixed, just as your eyes are fixed on Me.
Integrity is being honest, not lying or deceiving or knowingly misleading others. Integrity is sincere, truthful, trustworthy, and reliable.
Draw all men to Me by lifting Me up through your sample of love and integrity, for integrity is just one more aspect of love put into action with faithfulness and commitment.

Candor is Essential
Here’s a word that you’ve been hearing a lot of lately-transparency. Simply stated, it means an organization [or individual] should be open and honest about everything it does. When something-an object, a philosophy, an organization, an individual-is transparent, it means you can see through it without deflection or distortion of any kind.
Credibility demands transparency, candor and honesty, based on sound values, policies and actions. Unless an organization acts credibly, it will not be trusted.

“Candor” is defined as: the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)

Candor embodies the important qualities of integrity: openness, sincerity in speech or expression, honesty, and straightforwardness. Qualities such as openness and honesty, keeping our word, being clear and factual, meaning what we say and not just saying things for effect are all a part of our integrity, and are qualities that we need to hone. We should strive to adhere to these principles in our actions and interactions with others.
For example, if you are presenting your work, and in your photo album you have a very old recommendation letter for volunteer work that you did at an orphanage five years earlier, would it be ethical to refer to that as part of your current work? No, it wouldn’t.
Although this might not seem to be totally dishonest, ultimately it would be perceived as dishonest, and these sorts of half-truths can undermine your credibility and the credibility of your work over time. For this reason, it’s important that your presentation tools are up-to-date, and represent your current work.
Accuracy and honesty in your presentation is an important part of integrity. Your presentation of the work of your Home should be accurate and factual. In fact, it is wise to err on the side of being meticulously factual and accurate, rather than to oversell your work and thus exaggerate, and run the risk of being perceived as misleading or dishonest.
Honesty is about integrity, and integrity is about doing what is right, and adhering to our principles regardless of the circumstances that come our way to test our integrity. Resorting to half-truths or shading the truth to give people a better impression of ourselves or the Home we represent cannot be classed as integrity.
It’s also a matter of faith and trust, trusting that the Lord is in control of situations, and if we obey His Word by being honest and true representatives, He will work in the hearts and move the situations to our favor, if that’s His will.
If we take it upon ourselves to try to give Him a little “help,” in the form of shading the truth, that means we’re taking matters into our own hands, and not giving people the chance to make the right choice based on the truth. This can become a habit and a crutch, to where eventually your initial presentation can become based on something you’ve gotten used to saying, which isn’t 100% factual.
So it’s important to take a good look at our presentation periodically and ensure that it’s:
a. factual
b. up-to-date
c. reflective of the work and ministries your Home is currently involved in
d. makes clear your affiliation with the Family International (unless regional guidelines disallow this due to the sensitive nature of the country where you live).

Be Known for your Integrity
Jesus: You should be known for your integrity, honesty, and fairness. You should be known for love and truth. You should be known for doing the right thing, for making choices according to your conviction, even to your own hurt. You should be known to be like Me, the Man Who was known for going about everywhere doing good.
But how can lying, covering up, being deceptive and actually leading people astray through half-truths, omissions, and lies be looked at as “going everywhere doing good”? You’ll be very sorry, but the damage will be impossible to undo. Once you’ve hurt people’s faith in you by lying and deceiving them, even if not by what you say but by what you don’t say, it’s impossible to regain it. They’ll always, forever after, be thinking in the back of their minds, “Hmm … I wonder if they are telling me the truth” (Be True to the Revolution! ML #3364:140-141). (End of excerpts taken from the Home Spokesperson Seminar; HSP 2008 03 – Integrity and Professionalism in Communications.)

Integrity doesn’t come into the picture only with major work and Home decisions. It relates to you as an individual, too.

Because He Said He Would
By Ron White
It was a family get-together, and in my absence my family began to speculate if I was going to show up. Some said, “Probably.” Others didn’t think so. Then my aunt chimed in, “He’ll be here.” Everyone turned and looked at my aunt because of her matter-of-fact tone. My grandmother said, “How do you know that?”
My aunt replied, “Because he said he would.–Not only that, he will be on time!”
That was that, and the conversation shifted to other matters and preparing the food. The lunch was set to begin at 1:00 and at 12:57 there was no sign of me; yet, the look on my aunt’s face was as relaxed as it could be.
Then at 12:58 I walked through the door. As soon as I set foot in the house, my aunt threw up her arms as if to signal the game winning field goal and said, “What did I tell you?!” My aunt has never been above gloating and savors every opportunity.
That reaction from my aunt caused me to think; it forced me to pause and realize how valuable it is in life and business for others to trust what you say and feel comfortable depending upon you.
It is priceless when others are 100% confident that you will follow through on your word.
How do you garner that kind of trust? How do you become a person who others will know you will be there or do what you say that you will? Simple… you do what you say you will do. It may seem elementary, yet if you do this day in and day out, people will begin to notice. You don’t have to advertise that you are a person who keeps your word. Others will just figure it out.
It is so rare and so uncommon that you will stand out like a red marble in a bowl of white marbles.
There is a truth that says, “He who is faithful in little will also be faithful with much.” There is no task, chore or promise that is too small to be faithful with. It could be keeping a secret, a promise or following through on a statement. It could be simply arriving on time or delivering your product when you said you would.
When you are faithful in a lot of little things, those little things end up meaning a lot over time. It has been said that a good name is more desirable than riches.
If you are not reliable and trustworthy, when your friends have referrals they could give you, do you think that they will do so? If you don’t follow through on the simple matters of life, why would anyone trust referring business to you?
Hopefully one day someone will say about you, “Because he said he would!”

Action Points
1. When you say you will be there at 1:00, be there at 1:00.
2. When you promise to deliver your product on time, deliver your product on time.
3. If you say you will call, call.
4. Pay your bills on time; cut back on your expenses if you can’t do this.
5. Become trustworthy. It is very simple: It is about the little things.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith is an independent Missionary, that has spent 7 years of his life in Africa, trying to spread Jesus' message of love in any way possible. He has been involved with non profit companies distributing educational material, youth counseling, IT education and humanitarian aid work in medical camps. He believes in Jesus in the simple way that the Bible speaks about, without going so far as to "belong" to a denomination, but just wants to do his best with likeminded people to make the world a better place.