Stop Using “Integrity” as a Corporate Buzzword

 During my last semester as an MBA student I worked on a presentation about whistle-blowers in the work place. A whistle-blower in this sense is someone who calls out a person, or a corporation who is doing something unethical or illegal. Our group reported on Enron. I don’t think I have to get into the corruption that was going on with that company but if you don’t know, they basically did a TON of shady things that screwed over a ton of people. The company itself didn’t start out as a corrupt corporation. Nor was it one individual who changed the path of the company to become the monster that it was. Instead, several little things got brushed under the rug. Then, those little things turned into bigger things. Eventually, the entire company from the top to the bottom was filled with people doing things they thought were okay but were completely unethical at best. Their motto was “Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence.”
Okay, sure we can all agree they didn’t have a lot of integrity, but what’s your point Blair?

Great question, I’m glad you asked.

My point is, too many companies are obsessed with finding strong mission or vision statements – things that sound great to customers and the general public – when in reality they should be focusing that obsession on making sure their cultures reflect the ideals that they want to communicate to others.This past week, Keith and I were putting together information on the wineries we visited. One of the first wineries had several brands underneath it. While I was compiling pictures, I had a picture from one of the wineries on a page with the wrong brand. Keith noticed it immediately and asked me to fix it. My thought was “who would know or care?” I half-jokingly said that to Keith and his response stopped me in my tracks “Even if it would make us more money, and no one would ever find out, we would never do that. We would know and that’s reason enough to change it.”
Good point. I hadn’t even realized what I was implying. This was a little thing, maybe no one would know or care, but those little things can get bigger, and those bigger things can breed a culture of dishonesty.

I tell you all this not to say that our company is unethical, or corrupt… to be frank, it was an honest mistake on my part, but in that moment Keith set a standard for our company culture. One that I’m really proud to be a part of. Integrity will probably never be in our mission or vision statement, but it will most definitely be a part of our culture. We will not be taking shortcuts, nor will we be misleading. We will show our integrity by what we do, not what we say we do.

As we continue to showcase the wineries we visited on social media be sure to let us know your thoughts. We want to connect the wineries we visited to you the consumer!

…and I can promise the pictures and videos you see will be accurate representations of the people and vineyards we saw.

Until next time!

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