Integrity is a bonza word

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Today’s blog is from Lacey & Co’s. Head of Strategy Janelle Ryan.

Integrity.

It’s a ripper word, we all seem to boast about having it, we love it when our PR departments splash it across annual reports and websites and when politicians use it as a campaign catch-phrase, but at what point do we start demanding from ourselves, our leadership and our workplaces, that it goes from a catchy buzzword to an actual lived value? Better still, how do we show it?

It’s Tuesday, it’s February and today’s return of Parliament for 2020 has already seen the resignation of Senator Bridget McKenzie from her Agriculture portfolio, and per Coalition rules, from her position as Deputy Leader of the National Party, following the ‘sports-rorts’ allegations; along with a series of denials and dancing-around from both Morrison and McCormack – who somehow like ‘Teflon twins’, have evaded any questioning about how this could have taken place on their watches, with them publicly announcing they had had no idea this misuse of huge amounts of public money was happening. 

Throw in the mix, the short-lived return of Barnaby Joyce, who despite releasing a video of himself saying he is ‘sick of the government being in his life’, while weirdly sky-gazing over Christmas, has unsuccessfully attempted to contest Michael McCormack for the leadership of The Nationals.

Add to this, the resignation of Richard Di Natale because having a family and being a political leader in Australia are not conducive to one another, the appalling handling of the Australian bushfires by Morrison, Lambie’s Medevac repeal secret deals; the Government’s constant denial and refusal to recognise Aboriginal sovereignty; and the general coups, backstabbing/front stabbing and blood bathing that is Australian politics – it would be fair to say that integrity is something that sounds bonza come election time, but that fades away into the ether once leadership is successfully won – both by the party voted in and by us as voters in our expectations of these leaders.

It begs the question – if this is taking place at the highest level of leadership, can we change our behaviours on a localised leadership level in our workplaces, to start working towards systemic change?

Integrity is one of Lacey & Co.’s core values. We, like many others, put it on our website and in our marketing materials; however we believe there is a clear difference between publicly decreeing our love of the word and how we live its value; and that lies in how we as individuals conduct ourselves every day with our stakeholders and each other, under the Lacey & Co brand and in many ways, beyond the brand in our personal lives. 

According to the dictionary, integrity is “the firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” As a legal firm, we respect, have a philosophical belief in and uphold a set of ethics and adhere to a legal professional code. However, we believe it goes beyond this and to put it more simply, doing the right thing, doing good and admitting when we have made mistakes and recognising we can do better, sits at the very root of everything we do, even the stuff that’s not seen or acknowledged by others, or convenient for us. 

How do we do this? Pretty naturally actually, and the good news is, integrity is behavioural, so you can too:

  1. We value, respect and follow L&C policies – We collectively had input into their creation, we all know where they are housed, we ensure any newbies are aware of them and understand them and we care about using them as a guide to be the best we can be;

  2. We have a cross-disciplinary team who share ideas – We value each person for their individual offering, and we work collaboratively because we know this delivers the best outcomes for our clients and that all bases are covered; 

  3. We lead by example – We often comment publicly about social issues, however, we are always conscious that we must ‘walk the talk’. Virtue signalling through social media is so rife and has put the integrity of many brands and organisations in question, we want to be sure that at all times we offer an educated, honest and truthful voice on the topics we cover, while accepting differing views on these topics, but remain comfortable in our stance because it runs through our veins;

  4. We respect each other’s differences of opinion even if we disagree – As a cross-disciplinary team, we sometimes see things very differently, but we use this as fuel for a better outcome for the people we work with and we listen to each other to get these results;

  5. We admit when we’ve got it wrong – To each other, to our clients, to ourselves. Because there’s more shame in trying to hide mistakes than in making mistakes; and as a society, we need to get better at how we manage this.

So, while Barnaby stares at the sky for guidance and our Government continues navel-gazing, let’s all make it a priority to bring integrity back to leadership by exhibiting behaviours in our workplaces that take the word from the pages of annual reports and bring it to life through actions.