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Integrity

Webster's Third International Dictionary defines the word as: An uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other values; utter sincerity, honesty, and candor; avoidance of deception, ex...

Webster's Third International Dictionary defines the word as:
An uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other values; utter sincerity, honesty, and candor; avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality, or shallowness of any kind.
The quality or state of being complete and undivided: material, spiritual or aesthetic wholeness; organic unity

Integrity is especially important for business, not just as an abstract ethical principle, but as a practical concern. In this age of Internet fraud and Enrons, all businesses are under intense scrutiny. One well-publicized incident of dishonesty will drive customers into the arms of competitors and, in some cases, destroy your business.

Here are a few principles that can help you maintain integrity in both your business and life.
Integrity begins at home: “You cannot expect your spouse to be supportive if you lie and cheat. What you do in your personal life will eventually have ramifications in your personal and vice versa. Your spouse and children have numerous opportunities in which to observe your behavior. It is not enough to say that you are honest or merely attend religious services each week. You have to be a role model for your spouse, your children, and all others. If you are, your spouse will probably support you through good times and bad, during thin years and plump years. (Thomas J. Stanley, PhD., The Millionaire Mind; Bantam Books, London, 2001, pg. 70-71)
Never talk badly about anybody … even more so when they are not present.
Carefully consider where and with whom you work. Avoid environments where the people are not passionate about the work they are doing. Try to work in environments that are respectful and supportive. If you are seeking work in an office environment, look at the cubicle decorations. Sparse cubicle decorations often indicate that people are not intending to stay long.
Do not be afraid to walk away from jobs where you have to compromise your ethics and principles, and do not be afraid to tell the proper authorities if there are illegal dealings. Remember that a company that is treating its customers unethically is planting bad seeds and will eventually have financial problems.
Become intuitive. Be open to, but also discerning of, possible new vendors, partners, and customers. Trust your instincts and perform background checks.
Learn to listen to the currents of success. Know when it is time to follow the current and when to change your direction or take some time off. The road to success is not a straight path, but a meandering one with many side paths and detours.
Bio: Janet K. Ilacqua is a freelance writer based in Tracy, California. She specializes in academic writing and ghostwriting of books and manuals for individuals and small businesses.

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