Rarity: Integrity, Admission and Acceptance of Consequences

A rarity in today’s world: integrity, admission of a mistake and acceptance of consequences.

In a refreshing example of seemingly long, lost values, the Joe Gibbs Racing Team admitted that they had failed to get approval for a minor change on their cars, accepted the resultant disqualification of their cars in the Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono Raceway, and “made changes to our processes to assure that it does not happen again.” What was even more refreshing is that the Gibbs Team made this announcement publicly of their own volition.

It pains me to consider what the Gibbs team did a rarity, but there are far too many examples of people in highly public roles who lack the integrity to admit their mistake, who are unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions much less take action to prevent future mistakes. And while a few may admit their mistakes privately, they are unwilling to do so publicly.

You have the power to help us return to the days of integrity, admission and acceptance of consequences. First, in how you live. The vast majority of people I know fit into this category. They’re honest people who readily admit their mistakes, accept the consequences and take action to assure that they don’t make the same mistake twice.

Second, expect the same from your community leaders. Exercise your right to vote and place your votes for people who demonstrate integrity in all they do. That integrity is evident in their willingness to admit that they don’t have all the answers, in the open statement of their beliefs and a willingness to stand for what they believe while respecting the rights of others to their beliefs. 

When they fail to exemplify integrity, when they fail to admit their mistakes, when they rail against the “unfair” consequences of their actions, let them know that their actions are costing them your vote. The more frequently they hear from constituents that they are losing votes, the greater the likelihood that they change. Reward them with your vote when they demonstrate that they have gotten the message and changed. Honor your word, but shifting your vote to another candidate when they don’t.

This isn’t a quick fix to our current political situation, but it is one that will produce a return to integrity, admission and acceptance in the long run.

Finally, apply the same approach in your dealings with others. Choose to work with only those who have demonstrated integrity in their practices, who readily admit their mistakes, accept the consequences without complaint or rancor, and, on their own, take action to avoid future mistakes. This is as essential in personal relationships as in business dealings. By associating only with those who demonstrate the integrity described above, we can assure a more highly integrous society. Something from which we will all benefit.

For you

If you long for the days when people consistently demonstrated integrity, readily admitted their mistakes, accepted the consequences of their actions and effected changes to avoid future mistakes, you must live the message.

People who behave in the ways the Gibbs Racing Team did gain the respect and admiration of others. That respect leads to greater support for their efforts and a tremendous desire to see them succeed in whatever they choose to do. We want to help people who want to do the right thing regardless of what the cost might be to them personally. In reality, the cost is much, much less than that paid by people who attempt to hide their mistakes and avoid the consequences of those mistakes.

You determine the value that integrity, admission and acceptance have by the way you respond to those who demonstrate these values versus those who don’t.

For our kids

Follow the Gibbs Racing Team’s lead, lead a life of integrity. Your kids will mimic your behavior. They’ll also learn early in life whom they can trust and whom they can’t. They’ll embrace the former and avoid the latter…as they should. In the process, they’ll gain a reputation of integrity and enjoy all the benefits that reputation affords.

Let others know that you love them by sharing this blog post. They’ll appreciate that you care.

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts in a comment.

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2 Responses

  1. bill prenatt

    Dale, Once again you have come up with the timely topic of Integrity!

    In my very first real management job, I witnessed first-hand what you described. I was the food service manager at a small women’s college in Pennsylvania In the early 60’s. We were having a special party with special food products for the students, but it snowed the day of the party. Being new in my role, I cut back on the food production. This proved to be a serious mistake! About half the way through the meal feeding 500 students, we ran out of the special foods prepared and had to change the menu to the ordinary cafeteria menu. So 250 students were really disappointed. Near the end of the meal. I stood up in front of everyone, apologized and took full responsibility for the mistake. The next morning you would have thought that I gave everyone a big present instead of letting them down. That day I learned the importance of integrity. I have tried to carry it forward in all that I do in my life and in my career!

    • dfurtwengler

      Bill, love your story. And it’s typical of what happens when a person owns their mistake. We’re human. We all make mistakes. Thats’ why others are so forgiving when we admit our mistakes. The admission lets them know that we care about them and feel badly that we let them down. As a reward, we garner a tremendous amount of trust from them. Thanks for sharing this story.

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