Mandela in 1993 - Image via WikipediaBy Andrew J Batty
There is an old saying that states: "If you have integrity nothing else matters; If you don't have integrity nothing else matters".
This may seem to simplify matters but I believe that it is 100% true.
One man who epitomised integrity in what he believed was Nelson Mandela. As you may know, he was imprisoned in 1962 as a political prisoner because he stood up for his beliefs. What I find even more impressive is that in 1985, he refused a release from prison if he renounced his beliefs. After 23 years in prison, he still stood strong on what he believed was right. Now that is integrity.
In 1990, after 27 years in prison, Mandela was finally released but the story didn't end there. In 1993, he was jointly awarded the Nobel peace prize, and in 1994 he became the President of South Africa. Now that is a strong comeback.
I am not sure about you, but after 23 years of imprisonment for standing up for what I believed was right, I am sure the temptation would have been there to tell them what they wanted to hear, and walk out of prison to freedom.
Not every person will have to face prison for doing what they believe is right but it is still important to stand firm and keep your integrity. The reality is that we will all have our times when temptation will sneak up on us and try and convince us to forget our integrity even for a short while. One small slip can taint us for a life a lifetime and ruin the integrity that has been earned over a lifetime.
A number of years ago I worked for a small company that was owned by person that I had a good relationship with but he elected to sell the business to a large organisation. The transition went smoothly but unfortunately the large company was soon in financial trouble and receivers stepped in to run the business. When this occurred, the original owner decided he would buy his small section of the larger company back at a greatly reduced rate as it had now been run down and was struggling.
As the sale was in progress, the receiver, decided to fly me interstate to oversee the stocktake for all the goods that would be a part of the sale. This seemed a good task to undertake as I would be conducting this audit with my old boss who previously owned the company and we got on well. How wrong I was...
During the stocktake process, the purchaser, my old boss, began to encourage me to undercount the stock so he would pay a lot less for the business. He also let me know during the process that it would be a good career move for me as he would soon be my boss again. There was a proposition that was be hard to refuse.
Just to get things into perspective, I was getting married in two weeks, I had just taken out my first commitment on a lease for a property to live in after our marriage, and faced the prospect of being unemployed if I made the 'wrong' choice.
Looking back now it seems like a tough decision but at the time to be honest it wasn't hard at all. I knew what was the right thing to do ... and I did it. I counted the stock correctly, and as soon as the deal was completed, I found myself no longer required in the new organisation and my services were terminated. Most importantly, I maintained my integrity.
The gentleman from the receivers who had stepped in to oversee the sale of the business was aware of the situation and as I was leaving for the final time, he handed me his business card and said that when I went for another position, he was more than happy to act as a referee for me. That was nice but it certainly didn't put money in my bank to pay the bills.
After I came home from our honeymoon as an unemployed job seeker, I started applying for positions. In the first fortnight of sending out resumes, I received a call from an employer where I had sent an application but thought I would struggle to make the short list. He invited me in for an interview which seemed to go well.
As I departed, he informed me that I would hear from him within the next 10 days whether I had been successful. As I walked in the front door at home after the interview, the phone rang. It was the person who had conducted the interview, offering me the position and wanted me to start immediately.
The position had 50 percent higher salary than my previous position, and was 30 minutes travelling time closer to home. More money and more time to sleep-in ... what a win!
When I became established in the new position and had created a good rapport with the boss, I asked him about the recruitment process and the rapidity at which I was offered the role.
He related to me the phone conversation he had with me referee from the receiver and how he related the story of my honesty and integrity during the stocktake, and informed him that "he was crazy if he didn't employ me" and that "he would never find a better employee". I made sure I wrote to him and passed on my sincere thanks. My integrity had lost me one job, but ensured I got the new one.
In doing what was right, I didn't face years in prison like Nelson Mandella but there certainly was a short term price to pay. Does doing the right thing always turn out great for those who make the sacrifice? Absolutely Not! Sometimes it can have painful consequences for a long time. I have learnt that sometimes the price is high, but having integrity and peace of mind will help you to move to next level with a clean slate and ignite the fire to move forward.
For further insights in this area, I would recommend reading my book 'Born for This' and please feel free to leave me any comments. I read them all.
Live with Passion
Making a Difference: Andrew is author of Born for This and currently oversees his company, Competitive Greatness Training, which focuses on coaching, mentoring, motivating, and training people to tap into their true potential. Previously, he was a senior executive in a large organization.
After fifteen years in that role, he was not satisfied that he was not using all of his God-given talents and abilities. In operating his own business, Andrew is now doing what he was born to do, and is passionate about showing others the journey to do the same. On a daily basis, he now coaches and mentors people to live the life they were born for.
Clients include business owners, business professionals, university and school students starting on their life journey, the unemployed who feel that there is no way forward, and people who have gone through the correctional services system and want a new start. Andrew has also coached others at all levels of life to do the same. He has a wife and three children, and lives in Melbourne, Australia.
For further resources, or if you would like to make contact with Andrew, please go to http://www.andrewbatty.com
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