In a previous Management for Geeks post, I talked about a hypothetical relationship with John. This discussion actually surfaced the fact that I have a problem getting things done. I tell myself that I must do things, I know that these things are good but all I do is have good excuses.
How many times have you heard or told yourself:
“I must try pair-programming”
”I need to write more unit tests”
”I have to get my team to be agile”
Secret Ingredients = Integrity
The Secret Ingredients to getting these done, to managing yourself and then others is: “Integrity”
I first heard about Personal Integrity on a Radio show. The broadcasters where trying to pull a practical joke on a US Navy Officer. The broadcaster pretended to be an angry father who called an officer and complained that the officer told his son, who went for an interview, that he was useless and wouldn’t find a job anywhere. But the joke didn’t work, the officer kept on saying: "I would never say something like that". It ended with the broadcaster saying: This guy has an amazing integrity, he didn’t let us budge him.
This is when I thought to myself, I would like to have that.
So what is Integrity?
Although there are a few definitions, I like completeness. When something has technical integrity, it is complete, all the pieces work and fit together well.
When talking about Integrity in people I tend to see it as the completeness of our words:
Saying –> Intending -> Doing
We have 100% integrity when we say what we are going to do, we mean it and intend to do it and we actually do it.
This sounds simple but we tend to break our integrity all the time.
We can say something and not mean it. I used to say “I must stop smoking” but I never intended to do anything.
We might say something and intend to do it, but not do it.
e.g. I really want to stop smoking and I intend to do it, but just don’t do anything.
We can choose not say anything.
e.g. I won’t tell anyone that I want to stop smoking
Lets see where Johns integrity was broken. John said that we will meet on Wednesday at 10:00, but he never showed up.
So his integrity is broken, he didn’t do what he said that he would do.
He might have just said it without meaning it, if he knew that he had to go to the hospital the next day.
He might have said it and meant it, but didn’t do it because something really came up, but them he should have phoned and changed the date: "Sorry that I won’t make it at 10:00, is 12:00 a good time".
Changing your intentions and saying so, is a valid way to stay in integrity, as long as you intend to do it.
Imagine if John would have phoned to delay the meeting, I would have known ahead of time, I would not have to wait, I could do some work in the mean time, I could tell him when (and if) we could meet again.
Stop hearing excuses
The trick of staying in Integrity is to:
1. Say and commit to actions that are in your control
2. As soon as you realize that you cannot do the actions, if something out of your control happens – recommit – tell the other parties about the new intentions
When you are in integrity there are no excuses, either you kept up to your word, or you changed your word and kept up to your word. In any case if you are in integrity, you kept up to your word and don’t need excuses.
Once I started being in Integrity, my excuses suddenly evaporated. I found that I used to spend a lot of my time making up excuses instead of actually working.
I also found out that the more people that I say what I intend to do, the harder it is for me to break my integrity.
3. Committing to others is very powerful.
23 Comments to “Management for Geeks – Secret Ingredients”
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