08/27/2012 07:58 pm ET Updated Oct 27, 2012

8 Simple Things You Can Say to Prove Your Integrity

Integrity shouldn't be an option. Unfortunately, it appears to be that way.

Over the last several years, I have heard many stories of individuals who have done wrong by colleagues, peers and/or their clients/customers.

  • Clients who have failed to pay fees for services rendered.
  • Partners who have declined to follow through on their "partner" obligations.
  • Professionals who have been duped by fellow professionals.
  • Hiring Managers who fail to follow through or make false claims regarding job seekers or recruiters.
  • Supposed colleagues and potential clients who take advantage of your knowledge and skills -- your wisdom -- providing you with no return.

I had an interesting experience a few years ago. I was working with several clients, helping them with hiring practices and implementing a social media strategy, making marketing more affordable during a difficult time. I had joined a couple Chambers of Commerce and worked hard to develop and maintain client relations. One individual approached me following a networking event interested in creating a partnership with me as she had many clients who had been asking her to create a social media strategy for them. Her own business was creating very simple websites, as well as hosting them, and purchasing domains. But she had little experience with this new media called social.

She requested a conference call to talk strategy and billing. I gladly suggested a date and time and it seemed like we might be able to work together. Our conversation went very well and became quite protracted as she asked multiple questions and seemed to really struggle with some of the concepts and the reasons for my suggestions. She asked me to repeat everything. I, at first, thought she might be a bit dense and then realized that she was taking in-depth notes and really working hard to understand every aspect of I provide to my clients. We arranged to speak again the next day when she would give me some contact details of her current clients for whom I would help develop an online marketing strategy.

I didn't hear from her the next day or the day after that. On the third day, I left her a voicemail asking where we stood. She called me back within an hour and told me that her clients had decided that my fee was too high and that they weren't quite ready to move forward with a social media plan. She was very dodgy in her explanation and gave only one or two-word answers to my questions.

It seemed fishy because it was.

Several months went by and she seemed to go overboard being nice, she sang my praises, she openly recommended me. Again, fishy.

I soon learned that she and her business partner decided to do the work themselves. Thank goodness I had shared ALL of what I do and in such detail, so she now had a social offering to her business. (insert sarcastic tone)


Well, not really fine. I hate liars.

I think I would have been ok with it had she been upfront with me; tell the truth.


**Too many fail to recognize the poser of integrity in retention of business, partnerships, and employees.

Seems to be something missing among many so-called "professionals" these days.

Guilt proves the weak and those who lack.

1. I'm sorry.
2. I was wrong.
3. I failed.
4. You were right.
5. We're not hiring you.
6. We'll do the work ourselves.
7. Here's what's going on...
8. Thanks for teaching me.

Each suggestion a short sentence, but oh-so powerful!

"Integrity is a choice. It is consistently choosing the purity of truth over popularity." - Byrd Baggett