18 Nov #043 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Righteousness—Need for Authenticity
ESSENCE: Faithfully “doing right” with integrity needs a WHY, and the WHY of faithfully “doing right” needs to have integrity in the form of “authenticity” (with authenticity having four components: identity, sincerity, consistency and transparency). In other words, the organization’s WHY must be more than a pretty sign on the wall–it’s WHY must be at the heart of its culture.
We have been exploring the first of the two Integrity Priorities embedded in Integriosity®—righteousness. Our last post explained that purpose–the organization’s WHY–is a key element of faithfully “doing right”. For faithfully “doing right” to exemplify Integrity, the organizational purpose, priorities and values that define its WHY must reflect the “wholeness” character of integrity. Faithfully “doing right” with integrity needs a WHY, and the WHY of faithfully “doing right” needs to have integrity in the form of “authenticity”. In other words, the organization’s WHY must be more than a pretty sign on the wall.
Faithfully “Doing Right” in an Organization Requires an Authentic WHY
Authenticity can be thought of as having four components:
- Identity: The organization is clear about its WHY–its purpose, priorities and its values. That means they are written down for people to see. “And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.'” (Habakkuk 2:2 ESV)
- Sincerity: The WHY of the organization that is written down is actually the WHY to which its leaders are committed. An organization that has an eloquent mission statement declaring its WHY as “to glorify God” lacks sincerity (which means it lacks Integrity) if it is actually operated on the basis of Profit as Purpose.
- Consistency: The organization operates consistently in accordance with its WHY. Purpose, priorities and values are not just for when they are convenient–they are most important exactly when they are most inconvenient. This is easier when things are going well and much more difficult when times are tough. Seth Godin has astutely noted: “When we make a ‘just this once’ exception, we’ve already made a decision about what’s truly important. . . . What makes it a principle is that we do it now, even though (especially though) it’s hard.”
- Transparency: The organization is clear and open about its WHY–what it wants to achieve and for what it stands. The organization’s WHY should be understood by its owners, employees, customers, vendors and community. They should understand it not only because they can read it, but also because they can see it. It’s WHY is not just declared in a sign on the wall–it is reflected in the heart of the organization.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
The importance and significance of Authenticity in an organization’s WHY can’t be overstated. Again, the Righteousness Priority of Integrity needs a WHY, and a WHY can only support faithfully “doing right” if it has Integrity.
- In their book, Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to Heal the World, Bruno Roche and Jay Jakub tell about an employee survey done at the Mars Corporation: “Employees who believe their management walks the talk of the values they espouse can (in our company culture, where this trait is highly valued) be considered to be experiencing through enhanced well-being an equivalent of a 30 percent pay increase.” (Of course, appearing to “walk the talk” for the purpose of being able to pay less or avoid employee attrition is inauthentic and lacks integrity.)
- Gallup’s 2016 report on “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” listed as its #1 “functional change” that millennials “want to work for organizations with a mission and purpose”. Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, noted “For millennials, work must have meaning. . . . The emphasis for this generation has switched from paycheck to purpose — and so must your culture.” We can be pretty confident that they don’t just want a sign on the wall.
- Perhaps the best call to Authenticity comes in the words of Jesus: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
SPOILER ALERT: In the second step of the Integriosity journey–RE-IMAGINE–we will talk about re-imagining three elements of Purpose: Vision, People and Profit.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): In 2018, I had the privilege of attending a T-factor event (T-factor stand for “Transforming Workplace Cultures”) organized by Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the largest independent Coke bottler in the United States. T-factor invites business leaders from around the world to hear how Coca-Cola Consolidated integrates faith and business in order to encourage them to do the same. Coca-Cola Consolidated is led by CEO Frank Harrison, and he brought in Mark Whitacre (whistleblower and informant in the famous ADM price-fixing case) to lead T-factor. (I had the honor of meeting Frank in 2011 and Mark in 2014 when each spoke to the founding Chapter of the New Canaan Society (NCS), and in early 2018 I reconnected with Frank when he spoke to the National Leadership Team of the New Canaan Society at Coca-Cola Consolidated’s headquarters in Charlotte, NC). The Purpose statement of Coca-Cola Consolidated, a public company, is “At Coca-Cola Consolidated, we believe our purpose is to serve others, to pursue excellence, and to grow profitably. Above all, we strive to honor God in everything we do.” At his meeting with NCS leaders in 2018 and at the T-factor event, Harrison emphasized “Our purpose is our culture and our culture is our purpose.” That beautifully encapsulates Authenticity in an organization’s WHY. For Coca-Cola Consolidated, the purpose statement was displayed in huge letters on the conference room wall (the featured image for this blog) as well as numerous other places throughout the building, but the presentations at T-factor demonstrated that the purpose statement is far from just signs on the walls.