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0.1 What is Integrity?
In the individual, integrity is the balance found in following long term guidelines that make rational sense, while being fully aware and responsive to the situations that arise in living life -- a balance in action and reaction between principles and situation. Both principles and situation can direct our actions. Our excitment in life is to find the path that maximizes the best for ourselves and all other living and systemic things.
More poignantly, to be fully involved in life means that you encounter "ethical dilemmas" -- two incompatible actions or decisions competing for your advocacy. How do you decide? Most importantly, how do you retain your position of integrity?
On one hand, the balance between principles and life situation seems pretty simple to have. We do it all the time, making decisions, adopting positions, taking action. We buy our favourite toothpaste brand without much thought. We rent an apartment based on budget, location, aesthetic considerations, et cetera. We create paintings, musical scores, and sculptural exhibitions with skill and intuition. We know how to do these common actions without requiring greater reflection, without debate as to ethical merits or big picture ramifications.
On the other hand, many times there are 'bigger picture' issues that influence day to day decisions. Let's say that you also hold a principle guiding you to live as 'green' as possible. Could you live as effectively if you purchased environmentally friendly toothpaste? Would a solar-heated apartment be as cost-effective? Does your art have a message? Also holding a big picture 'green' principle could lead to incompatibilities in smaller decisions, guide your life in more environmentally impactful ways.
A 'green' principle is just one example of these big picture ideals that many of us pursue individually. In business, these also play a role, and often that role is partially legislated.
Many organizations are impacted by legistlated big picture requirements that sometimes come into conflict with the business bottom-line: shareholder value and profitability. More and more often businesses consider having a 'sustainability' approach, a balance between the normal corporate values and those legislated for the good of all.
Integrity is much like sustainability, a broader, more encompassing balancing of traditional values and goals with big picture thinking or principles.
This book helps the reader, both the individual and the corporate leader, to recognize and act on having integrity in life and in business, in decision making and in action. The goals set out here include striving to lead a balanced life while acting on and achieving personal and professional goals. In other words, you can have your cake and eat it too.
0.2 Terminology and concepts
0.21 Principles and rules and exceptions
0.23 Always looking for the sweet spot
0.24 Classic uses of the term "integrity"
0.3 How to use this book
June 2003 July 2003 July 2004