Building Integrity

On many dimensions the world is evolving and we keep up. On some dimensions we do not keep up. We refuse to admit this because it suggests that we need to change and we do not want to change. So we have espoused values and we do not live up to them. Rather than face our hypocrisy, we rationalize and deny and our hypocrisy grows. We lose self-esteem and we become more critical of others.

William Torbert once wrote a wonderful sentence. “We build integrity through the constant monitoring of our lack of integrity.”

Now, try an experiment. Repeat the sentence; “I am a hypocrite.” Now repeat it again and take it more seriously. Now think about the evidence to support the sentence. The chances are that these thoughts will fill you with shame. Shame is an awful emotion. It is powerful and often drives us to some kind of action. If we can honestly monitor our hypocrisy, the shame will stimulate the desire to change. To act on that desire, to actually close an integrity gap, is a transformational act. It causes us to love ourselves.

Whenever we choose to accept and face our hypocrisy, we open the road to self-change. The message here is that we are all hypocrites and that is good not bad. Our hypocrisy, should we choose to face it, is a potential source of transformational power.



What does it mean to monitor our own hypocrisy?

When have I done this?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?


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