Do you really have integrity?

Andrew Neitlich

Integrity is on my mind today.

One of my clients is in a dispute with his investor. As a result, his investor has disputed an Amex card charge for work that I did for them, claiming not to know me. And the client is not responding, even though he seemed happy with the work (which happens to be live on his website as I write this). So now I have to go to the trouble of working with American Express to make my case for the charge.

Another client has received full payment from me and is not releasing the code for a project he did. Actually, it was his offshore team that is not releasing the code, but I hold him responsible. He is trying to track them down, but my suspicions are raised.

Integrity means wholeness. In morality/ethics, it means having a point of view about what is right, doing what is right, and — at the highest level — taking a stand to correct what is not right.

Being late shows a lack of integrity. Not keeping your word shows a lack of integrity. Providing faulty work just to get a job done with shows a lack of integrity.

We all break our word sometimes, often more to our own selves than to others.

All around the world, we see examples of lack of integrity in the news: lack of regard for life, people inciting riots over false rumors, failure to examine the facts in order to push one’s own agenda, corruption and bribery, and pushing the limits of the law.

But lack of integrity is lack of integrity, although the scale or consequences have a wide variation. When asked, most people think they have integrity, and don’t want to face the truth that they may not. Accusing someone of lacking integrity is a serious thing to do.

The first step is to look within, before judging others. Where do I lack integrity?

A mentor of mine once said that the way to succeed in business is to bring integrity to an industry that lacks integrity. There seems to be an opportunity to do that in web design and development.

The IT world is unfortunately full of examples of lack of integrity.