People judge themselves by their intent and others by their actions. The only one who knows your intent is you, but everyone sees your actions. What would your day look like if your intent and your actions were aligned? What would your reputation be?
This is your integrity. What you do when no one is looking defines you. How long will you continue to do the right thing if others are taking shortcuts and getting more recognition? This is the leadership challenge. The right result should come from doing the right things. Sometimes we can get the right result, even if we don’t do the right things.
Look at Enron – they got results. They were doing the wrong things. They failed spectacularly and took a number of institutions with them. Does anyone remember the accounting giant, Arthur Andersen? A number of individuals in these two institutions had no integrity and everyone suffered because of it.
All leaders must understand what it takes to get the right results. Recognize the actions that get you to the finish line. Your people will then do more of the right things. More of the right things will get you better and better results.
Don’t fall into the trap of only recognizing the right results. Recognize doing the right things and celebrate getting the right results. You will not force people to compromise with their integrity. Whether you are a team member or the leader or the boss, integrity is the only reputation to have.