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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

Would Warren Buffet Hire You?

I really love being consulted by the media on topics within my field. Several years ago when I first started appearing on TV I was intimidated and a little scared. But now I enjoy the challenge of discussing breaking stories and sometimes controversial issues. Barry Carpenter from The CW33 is particularly great to work with because he and his camera crew are professional and fun. And, more importantly, he shows integrity in his work. Watch his recent TV segment where he talks to me about gossip.

Recently I was asked to appear in a national TV series on a cable network. The catch was - I would have to compromise my principles as a person and a psychologist. The opportunity was spectacular but my integrity wouldn't let me do it. I respectfully declined. Living with integrity helps me Live in the Smart Zone.

Here's a great point by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway:

"I look for 3 things in hiring people. The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence, and the third is a high energy level. But if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you."

I believe that integrity is sticking to your own code of conduct. It's being honest and ethical. Just for fun, check out his recent Gallup poll that ranks the amount of honesty in different professions. Hint: nurses, pharmacists, doctors and teachers at the most trusted professions.

Consider the following rationalizations for not using integrity:

  • No one will know. Who is going to know you stuck an extra ream of office paper in your briefcase?

  • It's not hurting anyone. I bet professional baseball players who take steroids feel it isn't hurting anyone.

  • Everyone does it. I remember my mom saying, "If Lisa jumped off a bridge would you?" One of my clients recently told me of her first professional experience in her career when her coworkers explained how to "pad" her expense report to make up for low entry level salary.

Use these Smart Moves to increase your integrity:

  • Be loyal to others when they're not present. People will trust you when they have confidence that you can be trusted when they're not present, and that may not happen until they experience you behind the backs of others. Don't gossip or speak for other people. Instead, encourage communication between two people instead of triangulating yourself into the communication of others.

  • Demonstrate respect for those you work with. One-sided respect in relationships is temporary and delicate, yet over time it builds into respect that is reciprocal.

  • Follow through on your commitments. Walk your talk. People can smell insincerity when a commitment is not followed through.

  • Be Congruent. Make sure your behavior and intent are the same. If you are a manager, then don't say, "My company values family time" and then demand long working hours and weekends for you and your employees to get the job done.

  • Be the same in public and in private. Some people are better at acting than others. It's better to be transparent than to be fake. When people can count on you being the same in private as you are in public, they'll trust you to be who you say you are. They'll also trust that what you say today will be consistent with what you say tomorrow.

By living with integrity you will have fewer regrets, enjoy respect from others and people will want to know and work with you. You are also less likely to be sued, fired or dumped! And you are more likely to Live in the Smart Zone!

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