Integrity is one of the pillars of ReNEWBusiness and probably my dearest value. I find that our understanding of this word is somehow limited and stops at the surface of it rather than going deeper to its essence.
If you look up the word integrity on a dictionary this is what you find: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
From where this quality stems? How can we be honest, moral and do the right thing? When we look a bit further into the essence of the word integrity we uncover a deeper meaning: the state of being whole and undivided. This is not a secondary meaning rather the essence, the sense of wholeness, that allows to bring forward honesty and ethical principles.
How modern organisations can deal with integrity while managing constant paradoxes like: doing more with less, competing to be the best while seeking collaboration, conforming to standard practices while trying to innovate? Our habitual way to react to those paradoxes is steering the situation to one or the other side so that one side wins. We adopt a either/or approach that leads to competing for the “scarce” resources for the benefit of one and ignoring the needs of the whole.
There is a so called third alternative that it is not the combination of both nor the result of compromise. It requires comprehension of what is going on around us. The apparent paradoxes we are asked to deal with in the organisation are holding a tension, a conflict we tend to suppress. When we flip our perspective from wanting to get more facts and being more logical, in an attempt to solve the conflict, to a 360 degrees view of the situation in action we realise that actually, without contraries there cannot be any progress. Opposites do not negate each other, they co-create reality. Parker Palmer said that: “when we think them apart we destroy the wholeness that they can bring to our lives”. We destroy integrity by choosing the either/or mindset, by thinking to take apart the tension between the paradoxes of life instead of using it to create an harmonic sound; like when we stretch the string of a violin to have the right tension that produces an harmonious melody.
Human-centered organisations are very different from how we’ve been doing business since Henry Ford created the assembly line. Efficiency was the watchword of the industrial age, integrity is the word of the future. It means being able to integrate the interior with the exterior, the masculine and the feminine, intuition and logic thinking, light and shadow…those polarities we constantly try to pull apart hoping to succeed in business as in life. When leaders (we are all leaders) ignore tension they build up fragmentation, imbalances, inequalities. Integrity is what generates trust among employees, customers, shareholders and the greater world. It’s also what makes true collaboration and continuous innovation possible.
Our role as leaders is to build organisations that have in place structures that hold those paradoxes, that bring together the two poles. Can we have the courage to ask how “both” can be met rather than which one I want to win?
The question is then how do we build such structures? In my opinion it takes us to divorce manipulation and start engineering a systems where the connections are maintained: connection with self, connection with others, connection with the environment, connection with those ideas that hold a paradox. The challenge is expanding and manoeuvring towards the intersection in face of those obstacles and choose to entertain different point of views.
Integrity is the ability to pull everything together and is a key value for the success of business. Integrity is not something that you either have or don't, we can build it. What can you do today to create a system, an organisation, an experience that takes paradoxes, opposites, polarities into account?
This is the first blog post of a series in which I will explain the three pillars of ReNEWBusiness: Integrity, Inclusion, Innovation. You can read my blog post on how they are “my” recipe to innovate business on the HuffPost
The RNEWB Integral Leadership Framework (aka the 3 I model) is developed for leaders who want to inspire transformation and build teams/organisations everyone wants to work for.
It is a program which guides participants through a structured approach, a step-by-step program for:
- knowing, expressing and integrating who you truly are in everything you do,
- creating inspiring, purpose-driven business cultures,
- improving overall energy and well-being.
Get in contact with me to learn how to bring this approach to you and your organisation if you want to:
1) Strengthen authentic personality, purpose & emotional intelligence
2) Develop leadership abilities for creating human-centered inspiring organisations
3) Learn how to re-new your organisation for higher accountability, responsibility, collaboration & engagement.
So many programs available on the market are classroom-taught, rationally based methods. What typically happens is participants are taken out of their day-to-day workplaces and sent to a class to be inspired, work on case studies and receive personal feedback. Too often I have seen and experienced myself as leader who attended various of these courses that one goes back to the workplace and finds that the office is still stuck in old routines. What would work better? A customised method which is created around you and your environment.
We can’t simply think our way out of a habit. As adults we need to have a good method and practice it over and over again if we want to create a new habit or skill. In practice, this means I create a laboratory around you. We get to experiment in the laboratory and construct experiences through which we can learn new habits and make more conscious decisions.
In the words of David Whyte: “ work is a theater, the place where life unfolds to our tragic or comic satisfaction”. ReNEWBusiness’ mission is making business a human experience. You choose what experience you want to have and create.