Living in integrity means alignment of thoughts, words, and actions. Doing what you say you’re going to do, not doing what you say you’re not going to do – it can be as simple as that. You’re in harmony if you take the action that matches your intent, or if you communicate the thing that matches your feelings. It’s like your car being in alignment – it rides down the road smoothly instead of pulling to the right, or shaking when you drive over a certain speed. I like the car analogy – if I’m listing or shaking, I need to look at where I might not be in integrity. I may not have said something I need to say or taken an action I agreed to complete by a certain time.
At an organizational level, alignment occurs when the board supports the admin and staff in carrying out the mission. Donations flow in, acknowledgments and thanks are immediately given. Staff feels free to communicate concerns to admin, and meetings are open, transparent forums. Is there any one organization that operates in this perfect, tra-la-la way all the time? Of course not. But the best ones are honest, authentic environments where board, admin and staff take a look at gaps, deficiencies, and “dropped balls.” And then these things are quickly addressed so that the humming-along can resume.
Organizations that are out of alignment and out of integrity have dysfunctional boards, inadequate admin leadership, disgruntled, complaining staff. Contributions may be off, audiences down. Instead of searching openly for the cause and solution, an out-of-alignment organization will divert itself looking for who (and sometimes what) to blame. Maybe the ED will micromanage and criticize instead of leading. Maybe the board will let itself be run by such an ED, not realizing that important resources are being squandered away. What’s the answer? An honest look at where the leaks are, and addressing them openly and truthfully.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
– Mahatma Ghandi