In a recent Time Magazine, a small item at the bottom of a page caught my attention. Amongst a group of interesting statistics and tidbits was this information:
“28% - Percentage of Americans who say they would act immorally – including lying or backstabbing – to keep their jobs.”
No one understands the fear and anxiety of losing a job better than I do. I lost mine on January 9, 2009 as part of an acquisition by a larger company. I know what a powerful temptation it is to keep a job at any cost, especially now.
But let’s look at this piece of data in another way. I came from a company where leaders were measured by what they produced, and by how they produced it. We had a set of eight core values at that firm. They included labels such as Respect, Courage, Vision, Change, Results, Inspiration and Knowledge. The eighth one was Integrity. In our Leadership training, we taught that all of them were equals, yet if there was one that was chief among equals, it was Integrity.
The thought was without Integrity, there is no trust. And without trust as a leader, what do you really have? You have nothing.
If nearly one-third of Americans are willing to sacrifice Integrity to keep a job, then in my world, that is one-third less potential leaders in the pipeline for the future.
My leaders, the ones I choose to follow, cannot sacrifice values for expediency. Not even in today’s economic mess.
Because when you think about it, is it a large leap in logic to conclude that sacrificing values is what helped get us in this mess in the first place?