Living with Integrity

If you are on MySpace or Facebook there is a good chance you have friends from work, close friends and even family connecting with you online. Amongst your friend’s status updates, photos of nephews and colleague’s birthday snaps, you might also see a work interest link or Youtube video.

This new interplay of information and communication demands a new focus on personal integrity. We read about it in workplace guidelines, but do we ever stop to think about the critical role of personal and professional integrity in an increasingly flattened and open world?

Before you plan to interact and connect with the ‘smartcrowd’, step back and assess your own personal and professional level of integrity (for instance, honesty, respect, values…)

Integrity seems to go hand in hand with a good virtual communication plan, but too often the focus is just on the technology. (Previously posted on IBM’s Innovation Jam 2008.)

Some more food for thought in this video by Gary Vaynerchuk

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg2MukcqbdE]

Here’s a response from the delightful Sacha Chua

Living with integrity makes things easier. You don’t have to worry about who sees what, what you said to whom, or who tagged you in which photos. Your reputation is also more resilient: even if someone attacks you without basis, your previous record shows your consistent trustworthiness. I think that as we share more and more of our lives, people who live with integrity will find it easier to gain trust and reputation, and people will be more discriminating about who they work with.

What does that mean for business and social networking? It could give an advantage to people who share information. If you had to choose between someone … you didn’t know anything about and someone you knew something about–mostly good things, maybe a few personal foibles–who would you feel more comfortable working with?”

An Industry Analyst also asked

I wonder if we are in fact going back to the way things were when we lived in hunter-gatherer tribes, and everyone knew, really knew, everyone else. There was no choice about integrity – it defined your role in the tribe, and could mean life or death, literally.

Then, our community was defined by geography. Today, our communities may not have physical limitations, but in all other respects, we will become as open to scrutiny as we used to be. The hard part is that we have a two-thousand year civilisation, which has in some way, contributed to an aberration … to this transparent integrity. How do we avoid ditching the baby with the bathwater?

What do you think? Is the characteristic of personal integrity becoming more critical for individuals to nurture, as social media permeates our working and personal lives?