Integrity is unrecoverable
Lost money can be re-earned. Lost time can be clawed back. Lost love reignited. Lost integrity is unrecoverable.
I posted this phrase on Twitter and Facebook recently. I took some “feedback” for it. Some argued that time lost was lost. Truly, it is. But if I needed x hours to get something done and I lost or wasted some time, I can make it up, or “claw it back”, by stealing time from something else less important (like sleep, when push comes to shove). The point is, while lost, it is recoverable.
Others argued that integrity can be regained. I’m sure like any rule, there are exceptions. I’m sure there are companies who have destroyed their integrity that earn it back, and individuals as well. But this is very much the exception.
When companies experience a true breach of integrity, a core part of the recovery strategy is to find the scapegoat. In this case, we are pushing the breach of integrity onto someone else: “see, it wasn’t us, it was him, and we fixed it.” News Corp is an example of a company going through this right now. When it comes to companies, it’s just not that simple, because companies aren’t a person, they are a whole bunch of things.
For individuals it is more troublesome. Once someone decides that you have no integrity, any effort to restore it can be viewed from the lens of deception and insincere gestures. Even if you do all of the right things to restore integrity, it can all be looked at with skepticism.
In the end, I believe integrity is one of the most important characteristics for a leader, or even for a human being.
What are your thoughts on integrity? How important is it to maintain?