U.S. Business: Honesty Versus Integrity

What exactly is the difference between honesty and integrity?

I believe honesty is an action describing an individual that desires a reputation of trustworthiness so that they are reliable in carrying out their end of a deal, whether or not the deal was spoken or written. Whereas on the other side of the aisle, integrity is something that is earned over a long period of time by engaging in many situations when one individual trusts another with the agreement between the two of them for however long the deal was agreed upon. Now the clear difference is that an individual with integrity will go above and beyond to make sure they get the agreed upon outcome with genuine desire and respect for their self-worth and character. You can be honest without having integrity, but this does not mean that you will always have a beneficial reputation just because you were honest in half of the deals you have completed.

Integrity requires an individual to be truly a trustworthy person in every and all situations. Integrity is won especially when you engage in choosing the morally correct approach to a problem even if it is in their best financial interest to cut corners. Trust is everything in business relationships for honesty and integrity can both be brought together in beautiful synchrony in an almost symbiotic business relationship. As E-Martin of enotes.com states: "integrity is an active adherence to principles, to values and [...] to promises". Whether you decide to be honest or have integrity is up to the individual, but I believe companies that survive can sacrifice either honesty or integrity. However, companies that intend to thrive cannot survive without both honesty and integrity acting simultaneously and predictably over time.

Brian Tracy of Entrepreneur.com writes: "Great Leaders Never Compromise Their Honesty And Integrity By Cheating" which I agree with. I write this in light of the recent Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. Honesty and Integrity are essential to a company for long-term growth. As author Robert Greene says in his book "The 48 Laws of Power": "So Much Depends On Reputation--Guard It With Your Life". If you have a social media company with no honesty and integrity, no one will want to share their private and truly personal information on these sites because we are now realizing it is leaving us vulnerable. Chamath Palihapitiya, an Ex-Facebook Executive even stated in an interview on CNBC that Social Media Is 'Ripping Apart' Society. In today’s world, we are seeing the effects of CEO’s who operate on seemingly just fear and greed. However, I argue this is a very animalistic and short sided strategy for gaining wealth and power.

Stay honest and take pride in your integrity. Business is a marathon, not a sprint, so it is wise to protect your reputation at all costs, even if it means losing out on some profit in the short run in exchange for long-term preservation.


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