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Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. In my last post, I used Ryan Lochte and his position relative to Michael Phelps as it relates to market position in business. No sooner did I publish that post and we learned the details behind Lochte’s claim he was robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics. Turns out he embellished, exaggerated or, as Al Roker so emotionally argued with Billy Bush during a live Today episode, proclaiming, “he lied”! Until then, Lochte had everything: fame and fortune. Now, he finds himself losing large endorsements, a tarnished image, possible discipline from the International Olympic Committee and an extradite request from Brazil so they can charge him for falsifying a police report. In a matter of moments, his life (and three others associated with him) changed. Warren Buffet said it best: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” Surely Lochte wishes he would have done the right thing. Back to Al Roker. He has received some criticism over his outburst, but I have to ask why? Isn’t there a message here? Al’s passion surely speaks for the masses who do not like lying. That should be a clear lesson to all. For me, integrity is something I hold near and dear. I may not be popular at times, but I stick to the script without lying or being disrespectful to others and when I’m wrong, I own it. Period. Integrity is one of the few things ONLY YOU can give away. No one takes it - you have to give it. In a world full of extreme pressures, concentrating on the here and now and being politically correct, there are lessons to be relearned here:

  1. People do not like liars or exaggerators.

  2. This type of behavior is like an epidemic – it encourages others to behave the same way.

  3. Respect is earned and easily taken away.

  4. Integrity is everything. Without it, you have nothing.

Think about this in your personal and professional lives. What image do you, your organization, your family and friends have and is it acceptable? Is integrity part of your everyday activities? Final thought: If you are a business leader, it might be a good time to talk about this and encourage your team. It could be the difference in your organization’s future and yours.

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