Integrity or Incongruencies?

Humanity Is Hungry For Integrity
Humanity Is Hungry For Integrity

Integrity or Incongruencies, by my friend, Bob Stewart:

I was recently listening to a message from one of my former college Bible professors who became a full-time pastor after retiring from teaching.  He was talking about a time when he was a professor, and he told a story from one of his experiences of being on the executive committee that evaluated potential faculty members for hire.

In this story, the available position was for a Greek language professor in the Biblical Studies department, and they had narrowed it down to three candidates.  However, he knew there was one candidate that stood head and shoulders above all of the other candidates, so they decided to extend one final interview before making the offer.

Being as this was a small college, the environment was very much like a family.  And to that end, if you took a faculty position there, your whole family made the commitment to be there.  So during the final interview, my former professor invited this excellent candidate and his wife to a meal to get to know the family better.

During that meal, though, something strange happened.  The candidate became angry at his wife over something very insignificant, and he belittled her.  The professor went on to note that she responded like it had been something that was fairly normal.  By the end of that meal, the candidate was no longer a candidate.  Why?


The candidate had a great résumé and presented himself well in the interview process, but a single moment in public was all it took to pull back the curtain, revealing the incongruencies of this man’s character.  Likewise, what would people see if the curtains of our lives were pulled back?

Integrity is a tough word to define, but a commonly accepted definition is to consistently hold to a standard of moral or ethical values.  Now we aren’t perfect, and there will be times when we mess up.  But the bottom line is this – it is all about trust.  If you routinely send mixed signals about your level of integrity, people will not have confidence in you to be trustworthy.  That’s not just in the business world, but in life.

Does your description have a “but” in it?

The takeaway from this is simple: does your description have a “but” in it?  When people at work, home, social circles, church, etc. describe you, do they add a disclaimer?  “He’s really good at what he does, BUT…” or “She is really sweet, BUT…”  This is a challenge to me as well as to you – try to live your life without a disclaimer!  Give people no reason to add the “but.”

Ok, back to my words. Thank you, Bob. Thought-provoking insight.

What you do speaks so loudly, i can’t hear what you say.

We all have blind spots. Our goal is to become aware and slay as many of them as possible.

The interviewer may have had an opportunity to gift the “annoyed” husband and interviewee with a powerful observation – in private, of course.

To assume someone can’t change might be an error. It might not. This is why we have to decide and move on with our work (and our life).

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.