Integrity: An Essential Ingredient

Above-the-Line Leadership

Integrity means different things to different people. Listen as Dina Dwyer Owns shares how they define it at The Dwyer Group and challenges leaders to exhibit it in the day-to-day operations of their company. Dina was CEO of The Dwyer Group for fifteen years before becoming Co-Chairwoman. Now she spends her time promoting the The Dwyer Group’s company culture and code of values, seeking out acquisition opportunities for complimentary service brands, and speaking on local, national, and international stages on behalf of the company. She is the author of Live R.I.C.H. and Values, Inc.. 

Because there are so many different aspects to the word "integrity," Dina said it’s important as leaders to define exactly what they mean by the word in their company, and then help their team members understand. At The Dwyer Group for example, integrity means making agreements that you are willing, able, and intend to keep.   

How would your company define integrity?
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Dina shared a personal example of when she and some other leaders at her company changed a 12-month agreement they had made about 8 months into the project. In other words, they didn’t lead the “Top Gun” selection process with integrity. Dina had to acknowledge her oversight, apologize, and return to the original agreement.  

Share a time when you realized what you were doing at work or in your personal life didn’t match up with what integrity called for. What were the circumstances? How did you respond?
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Dina said part of integrity is operating in a responsible manner “above the line.” Rather than blame or make accusations or excuses, above-the-line leaders take responsibility for their mistakes and apologize.    

Are there times you feel tempted to point the finger of blame at people in your company instead of taking responsibility? If so, why do you think you target them? If not, what keeps you from accusing them?
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Dina talked about how often people don’t like to take responsibility when they’ve done something wrong. She suggested we stop pointing our fingers to blame people and instead look around to see if any system has broken down.  

Share a time when something went wrong at work, and it was nobody’s “fault.” What were the circumstances? How did everyone involved navigate or manage the frustration?
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Dina said this kind of accountability within an organization needs to start with the leaders. If employees within a company see the leader taking responsibility for mistakes or system breakdowns, they are much more likely to take responsibility as well.   

Are you in the habit of taking responsibility for mishaps, or are you quick to point blame on others?
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What are some ways you can bring more accountability to your leadership? Consider talking to another leader you trust so you can get some ideas.
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Accountability and integrity begin with you. Rather than police your values and point fingers at people who don’t maintain them, try living out your own values and admitting when you fall short. There is power in integrity. 

This post was taken from the 5-part course, Stick to the Basics. To view the entire course, click here

Content for this post and the entire Stick to the Basics course was based on Dina Dwyer Owens' book Values, Inc.: How Incorporating Values Into Business and Life Can Change the World.  Find about more about Values: Inc. or buy a copy here