Integrity Equals Profit

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By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

Have you ever observed another person “sell out” to make a buck?  Have you ever “sold out?”  While I don’t recommend being judgmental, it’s hard not to notice when it appears that a co-worker, a manager, a leader, anyone for that matter seems to toss aside his or her core values to close a sale, make a deal, or form a strategic partnership.  The ruthlessness of business and life can be difficult to observe and/or experience.  The expression “nice guys finish last” was created for a reason.  But alas!  There is good news!

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Tony Simons, a Cornell University professor and author of The Integrity Dividend:  Leading by the Power of Your Word, offers a fresh perspective.  Simons conducted a study that examined the behavior of more than 6,800 hotel employees at 76 different properties.  All the hotel properties were part of the same hotel chain.  Here is what Simons found:  small differences in employee perceptions of whether their managers live by their word translated into large differences in that hotel’s profitability.  Stated another way, the more employees thought their manger had integrity, the more profitable that hotel property.  The differences in perception of integrity were measurable and significant.  One quarter of a point on a 10 point scale equated to approximately $250,000 per year, or 2.2% of revenue at one hotel.  Simons named this effect “The Integrity Dividend.”

Integrity pays!  Effective leaders already know that.  What is your organization’s “Integrity Dividend?”  Are you maximizing it?

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