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Sean told people what they wanted to hear. Sure he could provide the report by the end of the week. No problem to deliver the project by the end of the month. But very often he did not meet his promised deadlines.
He had good reasons; emergencies, shifting priorities, balancing demands from other clients. But much to his dismay, his reputation began to suffer because his clients did not trust him. He was committed to providing value for them and the business. It was only when the mirror was held up to him in his executive coaching program that he really understood the impact that wanting to be liked by others was having on his reputation.
Rather than trying to please people by telling them what they wanted to hear, he revised his approach to promising deadlines for ‘by when’ things would happen. He gave his new promises after considering his workload and consulting with his team. Initially, it did not go well with his clients when he said he could not meet the deadline that they requested. But it was not long before they began to see that he now honoured his word. If he gave them a deadline, there were no more excuses. He either kept his agreements or was in communication ahead of time if a deadline was threatened.
Once Sean cleaned up his own backyard, he was now in a position to ask his team to do the same. In meetings, emails, or corridor chats he coached them to provide a ‘by when’ for a specific action to be completed. For him, an important aspect of his integrity is doing what he said he will do ‘by when’ he said he would do it. It is the foundation stone of his leadership.
Client satisfaction results for Sean’s group have since skyrocketed and they became a global model of innovation for the business. He attributes his focus on integrity as the genesis of his reinvigorated leadership and his reputation as someone who makes things happen.
Adi Ignatius in the HBR article, The Thing About Integrity proposes that integrity is not just good for your personal reputation but adds up to being a key factor for successful businesses. “The leaders who prioritize integrity themselves tend to run organizations that discourage winning at any cost and, in the process, cultivate higher employee engagement and more-profitable growth.”
Are you focused on integrity?
Best regards, Brian
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