“Integrity is very important in GE and the fastest way to get fired in GE is ‘NOT sharing knowledge/information’.”
I have seen mission, vision and value statements of many companies. Occasionally, I have seen a word which seemed alien to me in that – integrity. I was wondering on the concept of Integrity and how it relates to business value system in the cut throat competitive world? I asked this question to Dr Ianna Contardo my professor of global business strategy and Associate Dean of the SP Jain Center of Management GMBA in Dubai. I had a brief nevertheless holistic discussion on the same. Her answers to few of my questions reinforced my approach on Business to the Buddha.
In her opinion integrity is – unifying abstract projections of the wholeness of the identity of the being. It relates to how we behave and act in the world, align to the commonsensical approach that we are a ‘continuation of humanity’.
This definition of integrity seemed very humane to me and therefore less business oriented. My apprehensions also echoed from the questions few people have earlier asked me, how social and commercial aspects can go hand in hand e.g. business to the Buddha. So I asked, can you please elaborate on ‘continuation of humanity’. She said – we are parts of the whole, that turns our life meaningful and transforms our existence into a multifaceted thinking, diverse interdisciplinary environments with its reach on bountiful examples of doing good through business. The statement reverberated (especially – we are parts of the whole) again to Buddha’s lessons to me. Moreover, it connected to the business very effectively.
Then how to associate competition with integrity, how to respond to competition? There is no turning back on the values for a business and if integrity is one it also applies to fulfill expectations of all the stakeholders (including the competitors). Integrity plays a balancing role in creation and the future of business would be balance between business and humanity. CSR, social enterprises and NGOs are the initial first few steps towards the same.
Poetically, she referred to a song and summed up – In a way, integrity represents the tipping point, the fulfillment of this prophecy whereby once you think of yourself as an accomplished ruler you will end up in the misery of solitude. On the other hand, if you walk your talk and you are that integral part of the whole, you do get to fit. Strategically, enhancing the experience of the Buddhist approach to existence is common to that of using your know-how in business. If you do engage with the rights and wrongs, learning will take place.
What lesson I take out of this discussion was – integrity is not just a word in the dictionary of business it is actually getting into the business value system. As we are progressing in time the concept is becoming prominent and businesses are also evolving as humanistic institutions.